UK Govt calls for all global tariffs on green goods to be scrapped

by Search Gate staff. Published Tue 01 Dec 2009 22:21, Last updated: 2009-12-01
Import taxes on green goods should be scrapped, says UK

Tariffs should be scrapped for 'green goods' like solar powered stoves, water saving showers and wind turbine parts, UK Government Minister Gareth Thomas has argued.

Speaking at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, the Minister for Trade and Development said the move would encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly low-carbon products.

At present, applied tariffs on these products can be as high as 27 percent.

According to the Government, low carbon production is the most cost effective way to produce energy and could help to reduce poverty in some of the world’s poorest countries, as well as allowing people to work, trade and live in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Minister for Trade and Development Gareth Thomas today said: “Low carbon technology has huge untapped potential in many developing countries and could offer massive environmental and financial benefits.

"For too long, the opportunities for green growth in developing countries have been held back by restrictive import taxes.

“If we really want to promote green technologies then we all have to do our bit to get trade flowing freely. As we approach the Copenhagen summit, rich and poor countries alike need to take urgent steps to reduce or remove the tariffs that green imports are subjected to.”

The move is not without precedent. In 1997, after the Uruguay Round on trade, tariffs on IT goods were abolished in order to get the sector moving. As a result of this, by 2005, members of the agreement made up 97 per cent of the world trade in IT products.

A similar strategy on green goods would make a crucial difference to the distribution of products like wind turbine parts and solar powered cookers.

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