(Reuters) - Top trade officials from the Asia-Pacific region said on Tuesday they hoped to agree by September on a list of environmentally friendly products that would be targeted for tariff cuts over the next three years.
“We reaffirm our commitment to promote trade and investment in environmental goods and services (EGS) in order to address environmental challenges,” trade ministers from the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum said in a statement issued at their annual meeting in Kazan, Russia.
President Barack Obama and other APEC leaders agreed last November to cut tariffs on certain environmentally friendly goods to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015, and pledged to decide on the list of products by this year’s leaders’ summit meeting in September in Vladivostok.
The United States has proposed cutting tariffs on solar panels, water and wind turbines, water treatment pumps, waste incinerators, deep discharge batteries and other products to spur trade and reduce the cost of environmentally friendly technologies.
Thirteen other APEC economies have also provided lists of proposed products, but China has not, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said.
Meanwhile, China and the United States recently have been at loggerheads over clean energy trade.
In May, Washington slapped preliminary “anti-dumping” duties ranging from roughly 30 percent to 250 percent on billions of dollars of Chinese-made solar panels to offset what the U.S. Commerce Department said was unfairly low pricing by Chinese producers and exporters.
The United States also set preliminary “countervailing”, or anti-subsidy, duties ranging from about 14 percent to 26 percent on more wind turbine tower imports from China, which totaled about $222 million in 2011.
China has accused the United States of taking “protectionist measures” to protect its clean energy sector.
Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Paul Simao