WTO’s Lamy sees trade pact boosting green goods

* Doha deal to give environmental goods special treatment

* Countries will benefit by opening to environmental goods

By John Acher

COPENHAGEN, May 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Talks on freeing up commerce
in environmental goods and services, which will have special
treatment in a new global trade pact, are making progress, the
head of the World Trade Organisation said on Thursday.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said countries were
jostling for position in the sector, whose importance meant the
talks went beyond increasing market access as in other areas.

“There has to be a premium for environmental goods and
services, a bit like agriculture,” Lamy told a news conference
before meeting Danish parliamentarians.

Lamy said it was a complex process to agree the list of
environmental goods that would enjoy special access, but it was
moving ahead.

“If I have a competitive advantage in bicycles, I will make
sure that bicycles are on the list,” he said. “If I have a
competitive advantage in washing machines (that consume less
water than others), I will make sure they are on the list.”

The negotiations on environmental goods and services are
part of the eight-year-old Doha round to free up world trade.

Lamy forecast energy-related and environment-related goods
and services would probably be to Doha what financial services
were to the Uruguay round that liberated trade in them.

“Countries have a strong interest in improving the
efficiency of their economies by opening their markets to
environmental goods or related services,” Lamy said.

Expanding free trade in general is a cheap and effective way
for governments to get their economies out of crisis, he said.

Lamy said he did not know if the debt crisis in Europe would
dent world trade. He noted that the WTO’s forecast from March
was for the volume of world trade to rebound by nearly 10
percent this year after a 12 percent drop in 2009. [ID:nWEB7657]

“It (the debt crisis) reinforces the attraction of a Doha
deal as a very powerful tool to exit the crisis, a low-cost,
powerful macroeconomic decision,” Lamy said, referring to the
package of trade liberalisation on the table in the Doha round.

Trade liberalisation compared very favourably with budgetary
stimulus in terms of the costs and benefits, he said.
“Rationally, if you look at what people need to do … to
exit the crisis, this huge package of trade opening is there
available at low cost, very low cost for the taxpayers,” he
said.
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(Editing by Jonathan Lynn)

WTO’s Lamy sees trade pact boosting green goods