Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen was interviewed by the journalists from Xinhua News Agency on December 5 in Geneva. He said that, to break the deadlock of WTO EGA negotiation, China tried to seek solutions to the issues of all the parties’concern, and made great contributions to the negotiation.
WTO held the ministerial conference of EGO on December 3-4 in Geneva. Wang Shouwen led the Chinese delegation and attended the conference. After two-day discussion, the negotiation on EGA gained some progress, but the participants failed to reach consensus on the goods list covered by the agreement.
After the conference, the Trade Commissioner of European Commission Cecilia MALMSTRÖM said to the journalists why EGA had not been ultimately reached was because China submitted a new goods list too late at the ministerial conference.
For this, Wang Shouwen noted, the President of EGA negotiation and the Australian Counselor Andrew Martin had submitted a goods list to the conference actually before the ministerial conference, but the list had not balanced the interests of all the parties. Therefore, the list could not be the basis of the negotiation and the negotiation ran into trouble. Against this background, on the morning of December 4, the EU and the U.S., as the joint President of the ministerial conference, proposed a new goods list. But the parties had great differences, and it was hard to reach consensus.
Wang Shouwen said China made great efforts and proposed a new goods list after two hours to break the ice. This list showed flexibility and tried to solve the most concerned issue of all parties. Though this list was not accepted by all parties, most of the participants expressed their appreciation to China’s efforts.
Wang Shouwen emphasized though the agreement was not reached at the conference, all the participants made commitments to the multilateral trading system and combating environmental challenges. At the same time, all the parties said that they would make efforts next year to reach a high-quality and balanced EGA which will push forward environment, trade and development.
Since the first negotiation in July 2014, WTO EGA negotiation had been conducted for 18 rounds, aiming to realize tax reduction of environmental goods and promoting the free trade and environmental goods. The negotiation was on the basis of APEC environmental goods list which covered 54 low-energy and low-carbon green products. It was conducted among 18 participants including China, U.S., EU, Japan and ROK. The 18 participants would further discuss all the opportunities to realize free trade of environmental goods under the frame work of WTO, and its final fruits would benefit all WTO members through the most-favored nation’s treatment.