Green products on agenda in Vladivostok

Updated: 2012-09-07 09:08

By Lan Lan (China Daily)

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The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting this weekend in the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok has put drawing up a list of environmentally friendly goods on its agenda.

Ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies on Thursday agreed to present a 54-item list of goods for tariff reduction to the upcoming APEC informal economic leaders' meeting for approval.

Wang Yusheng, former APEC senior official, said China has attached great importance to the list of green goods, as it is an issue that will benefit environmental protection and energy reduction.

As leaders agreed in Honolulu last year, tariffs on certain green products would be cut to 5 percent or less by 2015. As a result, use of these products is expected to shoot up, helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Promoting green products is also in line with China's efforts to promote a green economy and address climate change. China plans to reduce its energy intensity per unit of GDP by 16 percent by 2015 and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 17 percent over the same period.

Wang said the United States is taking a lead in green industries, and economies such as China have gathered some strength in this area. By following the forum's "spirit of community" and respecting diversity and flexibility, consensus could be reached and all economies can benefit from that, said Wang.

"However, it's unfair and unreasonable to impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on China's environmental products such as solar panels and at the same time require China to give the most favorable tariffs. That's a double standard," Wang said.

Though the list to be agreed upon won't be binding, it will definitely contribute to the region's environmental protection, said Wang.

When asked to identify some of the listed items at a news conference on Thursday, Russian Economy Minister Andrei Belousov clarified that the agreed items were not green goods themselves but rather goods that will be helpful to the improvement of environmental protection, such as measuring and controlling instruments.

Experts said it would be quite difficult for economies to reach a consensus on what should be included in the list as the 21 members of APEC are in different stages of development.

Zeng Xiangang, a professor in the Department of Environment Economics and Management at Renmin University of China, said that so far there is no universal agreement on the definition of an environmentally friendly product.

"Differences are inevitable. It's hard to tell whether the whole process of consumption, production and transportation of a product is consistently green, even including its packaging," said Zeng.

"Some said the APEC summit has become an empty talk club, that's a misunderstanding," said Wang, adding that the organization has made remarkable achievement in promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation since it was founded in 1989.

Xinhua contributed to this story.