VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Asia-Pacific nations have made a breakthrough in promoting trade in ‘green’ technology, and the United States is pressing ahead with efforts to carve out a regional free-trade zone, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
Speaking before a summit of leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis said the group had agreed to slash import duties on technologies that can promote economic growth without endangering the environment.
“This is really a significant achievement, in that it shows how APEC can lead,” Marantis told Reuters…
“It allows us to accomplish the twin goals of liberalising trade and green growth.”
Ministers agreed on a list of 54 green technologies that will be subject to import duties of 5 percent or less from 2015, following through on a commitment made by leaders at the last APEC summit in Honolulu a year ago.
In the field of technology, the time to wait until 2015 is significant — check out here where you can get an idea of all of the crash course changes that we face. This could really be too little too late even if this has some sort of impact.
According to summit documents seen by Reuters, the list includes equipment used in generating power from renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind and biomass; treating waste water; recycling and environmental monitoring.
With rapid urbanization occurring and people in places with developed economies even like South Korea rapidly moving to Seoul, these technologies could really be useful (especially treating waste water) like… Right now.
APEC accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population, 54 percent of economic output and 44 percent of trade. Exports within the group are forecast by consultancy firm PwC to nearly treble over the next decade to $14.6 trillion while exports to non-APEC countries will double to $5.6 trillion, making the Pacific Rim the focus of global growth in the years to come.
…Marantis said the group was “working together to create a high-standard, 21st-century trade agreement that addresses a lot of problems that exporters are facing in a way that will grow jobs and create new opportunities for exporters.”
… And a bunch of mumbo jumbo coming out to say that much of the conference actually focused on more and more trade; you can go to the original article to read about that. The environmental issues seem to almost have even been addressed as an afterthought (?) but this article chose to make them a priority — as if there is real progress in this field… A progress of which I am skeptical.
There are no deadlines for finalising the TPP deal, but Marantis said negotiators were seeking to complete the bulk of their work next year.
“Substance will drive timing – that’s what’s really important,” Marantis said. “If you look at how much progress we’ve been able to make in such a short amount of time we’re working to wrap up as much as possible over the course of 2013.”
The TPP ties in with President Barack Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years of his election in 2008, and has been described as the biggest free trade pact since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, is not a party to the process while APEC summit host Russia – which has only just joined the World Trade Organisation – says it is not ready to look at joining the TPP.
An interesting article, I guess, in demonstrating a general sense of futility and only the vaguest interest that the Asian countries (and their Western counterparts at the conference) seem to have.
BTW… I think my friend Nikita Sorokin may have been right there in Vladivostok working this conference. Hi, Nikita.