The Inter-agency Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) selected as an indicator, the
Total amount of approved funding for developing countries to promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies. However, at the time of writing there were no data or metadata available for this indicator. Therefore, an alternate indicator, the
average applied tariffs imposed on environmental goods is presented. For more information see UNCTAD (2016b).
Trade liberalization on environmental goods has been discussed in a multilateral and regional setting. In 2001, World Trade Organization (WTO) members agreed at the Doha Ministerial Conference that they would negotiate on the reduction or elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriersA non-tariff barrier is a form of restrictive trade where barriers to trade are set up and take a form other than a tariff. Non-tariff barriers include quotas, levies, embargoes, sanctions and other restrictions.
more on environmental goods and servicesEurostat define environmental products as goods and services that are produced for the purpose of preventing, reducing and eliminating pollution and any other degradation of the environment and preserving and maintaining the stock of natural resources and hence safeguarding against depletion.
more. Despite the increasing awareness of the WTO members of the potential win-win-win situation for trade, trade liberalization of environmental goods (at the multilateral level) has stumbled over problems identifying which products were environmental goods contributing to environmental protection and climate change mitigation. In 2012, a ground-breaking move on trade of environmental goods was made outside WTO. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries came up with a list of 54 environmental goods whose tariffs were to be reduced or eliminated among them. The Leaders’ Declaration, adopted at the 24th annual gathering of APEC leaders, stated that the APEC members
will reduce applied tariff rates to 5 per cent or less by the end of 2015 for the 54 products listed as APEC’s environmental goods, which would
directly and positively contribute to green growth and sustainable development objectives17.27.
To illustrate the current market access conditions for environmental goods, 44 products were selected from the APEC list17.28 on the basis that they can be mapped to the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, or Harmonized System (HS) at the two-digit level17.29. Note that the 44 products studied here do not take into account so-called
ex outsExclusion of certain products out of the products covered under the HS six-digit level of classification according to their national tariff lines. of different APEC members that are specified in the APEC list17.30. Figures 17.13 and 17.14 provide weighted average tariffs applied to the imports (figure 17.13) and exports (figure 17.14) of the 44 environmental goods in markets for different income groups.
In 2014, the average tariffs on the imports of environmental goods were below 4 per cent across all income groups. Between 2002 and 2014, the average tariffs on imports of environmental goods in low-income countries declined by almost two thirds. The average applied tariff for the products in the HS-85 group, for instance, was 15 per cent in 2002; in 2014 it was 2 per cent. The picture is different for the middle-income countries, whose 2014 weighted average tariff on products under HS-84 was almost four times higher than the level in 2002. As discussed above, this change was not a result of tariff increase but arose from the change in the shift of imported environmental goods from lower-tariff to higher-tariff ones. Environmental tariffs in 2014 in high-income countries were around 1 per cent or less.