WTO | 2024 News items – Members advance work on trade and environmental sustainability following MC13 – WTO Latest News

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In the first TESSD meeting after MC13 in April, the TESSD co-convenors, Canada and Costa Rica, welcomed Argentina as the 77th co-sponsor of TESSD. They also commended members on the four outcome documents and updated Work Plan presented at MC13. They encouraged members to further strengthen synergies among the four informal TESSD working groups — covering environmental goods and services, subsidies, circular economy and trade-related climate measures — and aim to reach concrete results by MC14.
Members discussed the way forward and implementation of the updated Work Plan. The Working Group on Environmental Goods and Services will continue its work on renewable energy and add sectors and technologies for climate change adaptation. It will further develop the analytical summary as an outcome document and deepen work on a non-binding list of environmental goods and services.
The Working Group on Subsidies will continue its work on the potential environmental effects and trade impacts of subsidies, as well as on experiences and considerations regarding subsidy design, with a focus on identifying best practices and recommendations on how to enhance transparency and data availability.
The Working Group on Circular Economy–Circularity will keep a holistic view along the lifecycle of products from circular design (upstream) to recycling (downstream), focusing on where trade can have most impact. It will pursue sector‑specific discussions and prioritize work on trade aspects of circular economy such as transparency, standards and regulations, trade facilitation, waste management, capacity building and technical assistance, and technology.
In the Working Group on Trade-related Climate Measures (TrCMs), members will share experiences and discuss how trade can be used to achieve specific climate objectives pertaining to the clean energy transition, climate change adaptation, and decarbonisation of industry and transport, including carbon measurement methodologies and standards.
During the first two meetings of the year, members also engaged in substantive work, benefitting from a number of stakeholder presentations.
The Working Group on Environmental Goods and Services continued its work on renewable energy focusing on marine and geothermal energy in April, and on regulatory cooperation and quality infrastructure in June. In June, members also started discussions on climate change adaptation with a first focus on technologies for water supply and management.
In the Working Group on Subsidies, members engaged in substantive discussions and rich experience sharing on biofuels and sustainable aviation fuels in April, and on green industrial subsidies in June.
At the June meeting, members held for the first time a joint session of the four working groups providing for a cross-cutting discussion on the decarbonization of buildings and construction. This was followed by the Working Group on Circular Economy-Circularity, which looked into how circular economy, as part of policy toolkits, can support decarbonisation, reduction of waste and reuse of materials. The Working Group on Trade-related Climate Measures explored the carbon measurements of construction materials with a focus on cement.
Guided by their 2021 Ministerial Statement, TESSD seeks to complement the work of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment and advance discussions at the intersection of trade and environmental sustainability towards identifying concrete actions that members could take individually or collectively. The initiative, which is open to all WTO members, is currently co-sponsored by 77 members representing all regions and all levels of development.
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