Canada to Join WTO Talks Toward Global Free Trade in Environmental Goods

Canada is a leader in the global sustainable technologies market, which is expected to reach $3 trillion in value by 2020

January 24, 2014 - Davos, Switzerland - Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, today announced that Canada will join 13 World Trade Organization members, including China, the European Union, Japan and the United States, in negotiations toward a new WTO plurilateral agreement on environmental goods. Minister Fast is in Davos to lay the groundwork for these negotiations.

The recently announced Global Markets Action Plan identifies the sustainable technologies sector as a priority for Canada. This market was valued at $1 trillion in 2012 and is expected to reach $3 trillion by 2020. The conclusion of an ambitious agreement on environmental goods liberalization would enhance access to a broad range of environmental products, such as solar panels, wind turbine towers, hydraulic turbines, air-handling equipment, water treatment technologies and waste management or recycling equipment.

More open trade will increase the availability and lower the cost of environmental goods for consumers and users and will provide incentives for Canadian businesses to develop new products to protect the environment. As a result, an ambitious agreement will significantly facilitate the achievement of the green growth and sustainable development objectives of WTO economies by creating a win-win situation for trade and the environment. Furthermore, joining these negotiations is consistent with the Harper government’s leadership on the world stage in support of freer and more open trade as part of the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.

Quick Facts

  • In 2011, Canada’s sustainable technologies industry employed 52,600 people in over 700 technology companies (primarily small and medium-sized enterprises) in all regions of the country. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian businesses derived almost $2.2 billion from sales of environmental goods in 2010.
  • As part of a broader effort to streamline Canada’s tariff regime, Canada has already unilaterally reduced tariffs in recent years on numerous environmental goods.
  • Since March 2013, Canada has fully implemented the reduction of tariffs on the list of 54 environmental goods endorsed by APEC leaders. This has reduced costs to Canadian users of environmental goods and promoted access to the best available technology.

Quote

“Canada has a world-class sustainable technologies industry, and our government is committed to advancing the interests of businesses within this cutting-edge sector in order to maintain our competitive advantage. That’s why we identified it as a priority sector under the Global Markets Action Plan, our landmark and focused plan to create jobs and opportunities for Canadian workers and families through trade. Maintaining Canada’s leadership position in this field is a win-win for the economy and the environment: new market opportunities will mean more high-value jobs for Canadians across the country, and new technologies will help us reach our ambitious environmental goals.” - Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade

Associated Links

Contacts

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade
613-992-7332

Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
613-995-1874
media@international.gc.ca
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