World Trade Organization

Countries should step-up enforcement of existing trade agreements related to clean energy.

While new trade agreements for clean energy are needed, enforcing existing free trade agreements within the WTO framework is critical to combating rampant green mercantilism. For the United States this means increasing funds for the U.S. Trade Representative to expand capabilities to focus on unfair clean tech trade practices. For other free-trade based countries this means making it a national policy to bring cases to the WTO whenever free trade violations are made and even if the clean energy industry doesn’t initiate the case. In the short term, countries should combat green mercantilism with tariffs on mercantilists’ products.

The WTO should create a Clean Technology Agreement modeled on the ITA to combat green mercantilism.

Trade negotiators should create a global free trade zone for clean energy products and services, modeled on the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Clean Technology Agreement (CTA) would reverse this trend and provide two immediate benefits. First, the CTA would expand global clean technology trade. By eliminating tariffs, prices would decline and global demand would increase, leading to greater revenues that could be reinvested in more RD&D to develop even better clean energy technologies. Second, it could also reduce growing clean energy trade tensions and provide an avenue for negotiating a tariff-free global clean energy market.

The WTO should prosecute a proactive trade policy that fights foreign mercantilist actions, including currency manipulation, closed markets, high tariffs, and forced offsets for market access.

When a country like China is committed to winning in key innovation-based industry and is willing and able to engage in a wide array of mercantilist practices, some of which violate various global trading agreements, no matter how good the innovation policies of places are, they will not lead to innovation activity. Only if the federal government takes aggressive and sustained action to combat innovation mercantilism will sub-national places stand a fighting chance. Helping places win the race for global innovation advantage will require action directed abroad to dramatically reduce unfair and protectionist foreign trade practices.

Lower-tier APEC economies should participate in discussion forums for continuous assessing and monitoring of the cutting-edge innovative regulatory tools that leader economies have explored.

Lower-tier economies should participate in discussion forums for continuous assessing and monitoring of the cutting-edge innovative regulatory tools and best practices that leader economies have explored in the hope of surmounting the challenges. They include: Reforming the ICT sector in an economy-specific framework of change management; Establishing a separate telecom/ICT regulator (among 21 APEC economies investigated, China, Hong Kong, Russia, and Vietnam have no separate entity for ICT regulation and policy); Extending telecom/ICT policy beyond the traditional core areas to include broadcasting content, Internet content, cybersecurity, and green IT policies for climate change; Setting clear dispute resolution mechanisms in a regulatory framework; and Aggressively reforming the spectrum allocation process more toward market-based allocation.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) should annually publish all new trade barriers (including non-tariff barriers), whether they are allowed by its rules or not.

Currently, the World Trade Organization publishes lists of countries’ trade barriers that are not allowed by the WTO’s rules. The WTO should expand this practice to publish lists of all new trade barriers, including non-tariff barriers, introduced by WTO member countries whether those barriers are allowed (or are not covered) by its rules or not.