Press Release 159/2014
8 July 2014
Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Lenita Toivakka characterizes the multilateral negotiations to liberalize trade in environmental goods (Environmental Goods Agreement, EGA) beginning today in Geneva as most welcome from the perspective of Finnish industry. The liberalization of trade in environmental goods would promote sustainable development, the green economy as well as measures to combat climate change. Finland has a strong and rapidly developing cleantech sector with considerable export potential. The liberalization of trade in goods such as solar panels and wind turbines, technologies for the purifaction of waste water, hazardous wastes and air, and environmental monitoring equipment would develop the emergence of an open market and would increase investment in the green industry also in Finland.
“Liberalization of trade in environmental goods is an important trade policy objective for Finland,” Minister Toivakka says. “This initiative would help many small and medium-sized enterprises to internationalize, which is a cornerstone of the Team Finland strategy.”
The informal ministerial meeting of the EU, the United States, China and 11 other World Trade Organization (WTO) members held in Davos in January 2014 issued a joint declaration on a multilateral initiative that aims at the liberalization of trade in environmental goods. The initiative is based on the decision of countries belonging to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization (APEC) to cut the customs duties of 54 environmental products and product groups to at most five per cent by the end of the year 2015. Negotiations aiming at the liberalization of trade in environmental goods for their part support the WTO’s work to liberalize trade, and its benefits extend to all WTO members.
Finland is a pioneer country in green energy and environmental goods. In the “Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014” report of Cleantech Group and the WWF, Finland ranked second after Israel, leaving behind countries such as the United States, Sweden, and Denmark. The grounds for the rank mention, among other things, Finland’s high-profile cleantech enterprises as well as the many new environmental patents,” Minister Toivakka continues.
In May 2014 the Finnish Government named cleantech and the bioeconomy as the new spearheads of Finland’s industrial growth. The aim set was an appreciable increase in turnover among enterprises in the sector and the creation of new jobs. Bioeconomy and cleantech are also mentioned as priority sectors of industrial renewal in the Programme of Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s Government, published in June.
Additional information: Miika Tomi, Press Attaché to the Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, mobile tel. +358 50 574 0507; Counsellor Elina Poikonen, Market Access Unit, tel. +358 295 351 992; Commercial Secretary Malena Sell, Trade Policy Unit, tel. +358 29 351 860