EWEA backs 'green goods' free trade

A move by the EU Foreign Affairs Council to end restrictions which have hampered the ability to trade wind turbine components freely will help reduce the cost of wind energy, says the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The EU this week signalled its support for a new international free trade agreement designed to speed-up the roll-out of clean energy technologies.

“The Council supports the liberalisation of trade in environmental goods and services, given the important contribution this can make to the international environmental protection agenda and to action on climate change, as well as growth and jobs,” says the Council statement.

Earlier this year 14 World Trade Organisation members, including the EU, the US, China and Japan, agreed in Davos to commit to the “global free trade in environmental goods”.

EWEA says ending restrictions on the movement of key components used in wind turbines will help reduce the cost of wind energy by eliminating duties, which would create a more favourable investment climate.

The association welcomed a decision by EU foreign affairs ministers to back the so-called green goods initiative.

“Going forward, policymakers must work to ensure this initiative extends to all of the world’s major trading partners and not just a select few,” says Justin Wilkes, deputy CEO of EWEA.

“The next step is to broaden the negotiation to barriers other than tariffs which impede the globalisation of the wind energy supply chain – such as local content requirements,” he adds.

The aim of the initiative is to eliminate tariffs on a broad list of green goods. The discussions will not start from scratch, but build upon the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation’s list of 54 green goods.

Green goods are seen as a vital component in sustainable development, covering areas as diverse as tackling air pollution, managing waste, or generating renewable energy.

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