As the adverse effects of climate change are seen across the globe, APEC economies considered how APEC might mitigate their negative impact. The Market Access Group (MAG) met to consider what constitutes an environmental good and service and possible ways to increase their trade.
Plans are in initial stages and the group has been in discussion with experts from the field. However, there is wide consensus that plans be established as a matter of urgency.
Considerations include the possibility of a voluntary database of environmental goods and services, as a means of information sharing and as a first step in a process. The proposed database is described as a "user friendly, easily accessible way to obtain information on environmental goods and services, which has often been difficult to access."
"We see both information sharing and the ability to engage more broadly on substantive issues surrounding environmental goods and services as two key benefits of this project," says a delegate of the United States.
It would also facilitate actions to be taken as a result of Leaders' statements.
Another environmentally-friendly practice would be the effective use of remanufactured products:
"For example," explains MAG Chair, Walter Goode, "you could take a bulldozer that was used for some time and which was in need of updating. You could renovate that bulldozer to the extent that it would function like new, except that it would be much cheaper." It would also result in less non-biodegradable waste.
Concern was also expressed with regard to the rising cost of food, globally, and attentions are focussed on addressing non-tariff barriers to trade in food, Sustainable food production, eco-labelling and escalating prices have been identified as discussion areas for the group's next meeting in August.
MAG is also involved in work relating to regional economic integration. Presently exploring Rules of Origin (ROO), MAG is considering ways to render them less convoluted.