Call to scrap taxes for ‘green goods’

3 December 2009

3 December 2009 | Jake Kanter

Import taxes on environmentally friendly goods should be dispensed with across all nations in the World Trade Organization to encourage the use of energy saving technology.

Gareth Thomas, UK minister for Trade and Development, said tariffs for products including parts for wind turbines, water saving showers and solar powered cookers should be removed. At present import taxes for such goods can be as high as 27 per cent.

Speaking at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva this week, Thomas said: “Low carbon technology has huge untapped potential in many developing countries and could offer massive environmental and financial benefits. For too long, the opportunities for green growth in developing countries have been held back by restrictive import taxes.

“As we approach the Copenhagen summit, rich and poor countries alike need to take urgent steps to reduce or remove the tariffs that green imports are subjected to.”

Over 30 members of the WTO have failed to set standardised tariff levels for key green products, while only a “small number” have abolished such taxes.

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