Th.Ruddy's Report

Report from Meeting on 30th June on Trade and Climate

Unlike the EADI insider conference in Geneva, the meeting with DG Trade in Brussels had a more polarized discussion between business lobbyists and environmental NGOs.

Charly Poppe from Friends of the Earth Europe opened with an attack on DG Trade's "Global Europe" strategy. It was said to restrict policy space so that governments could not act on climate change with instruments such as efficiency standards. Here is his report in PDF.

Ditte Juul-Joergensen from DG Trade went over the climate aspects of trade policy. This document from DG Trade was supposed to be the basis for discussion, but was neither distributed nor mentioned in the Civil Society Meeting on Climate Change. She mentioned that better respect for Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) was essential for the spread of Environmental Goods and Services (EGS). All deplored the consequences for Article 31, "Environmental Goods and Services" (EGS), if the current chances for a successful conclusion of the Doha Round remain so improbable that the resulting fate of the Doha Declaration is jeopardized. EU trade chief Mandelson is striving to launch negotiations. Only a few days after the meeting, an exchange of insults occurred between him and current EU President Sarkozy sparked by the Irish No vote per BBC.

After the presentations on the agenda, Thomas Ruddy took the floor and introduced SERI as a research institute having developed the Global Resource Accounting Model (GRAM) tool for modelling material-based trade flows in addition to monetary flows and having recently co-authored a study for the European Parliament on carbon leakage. He warned that the bill in the US Congress co-sponsored by Lieberman would have imposed border tax adjustments (BTA) against non-US countries that fail to tax carbon.  Later Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) warned that BTAs would trigger retaliation under GATT Article 20.

Th. Ruddy countered DG Trade's assertion about IPRs, asserting that they could be more expensive than trade barriers. Later DG Trade reported that "some larger Member States have floated ideas" and it has an internal study going on to investigate IPRs.

Th. Ruddy asked the following two questions pertaining to other DGs: plans for VAT exclusion for EGS and the planned inclusion of aircraft in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS), as had been mentioned here. As for the latter, he was told that the EU was  represented in Bonn with a side-event. The fact that airlines might take divergent routes poses a problem. Norway and Switzerland are pro. However individuals will not be included in the ETS, nor will cars.

Th.Ruddy asked what would happen to the "results" of the consultation. He was reminded that minutes were to be posted here under "Ad hoc meeting" and distributed within DG Trade to all interested parties.

SERI had a special highlight last month on  International Trade and Environmental Impacts.

Updated: 29th July 2008

Surf back up to SERI member page Thomas Ruddy

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