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WTO debate could ease trade barriers, says BIR

Global – Ongoing discussions at World Trade Organization (WTO) level could bring welcome change to the ‘inefficient mix’ of tariffs and non-tariff barriers currently affecting trade both in secondary raw materials and in machinery and equipment used by the recycling industries around the world, according to BIR.

Many WTO members currently impose such barriers. However, 13 countries plus the EU – together making up 86% of global trade in environmental goods – have been taking part in discussions towards a possible Environmental Services and Goods Agreement. ‘If achieved,’ the world recycling organisation explains, ‘this could lead to a reduction or elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on machinery and equipment that is necessary for optimising the sorting and processing of waste into quality-controlled secondary raw materials. Furthermore, such an agreement would help improve industrial competitiveness through improved access to secondary raw material (scrap).’

According to BIR’s environmental & technical director Ross Bartley, the world recycling organisation is calling on its affiliated national associations and companies ‘to promote to each of their WTO negotiators that secondary raw materials, as well as machinery and equipment used by the recycling industries, are added to the WTO list of environmental goods’.

Along with the EU, the 13 countries involved in the discussions are Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the USA.

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