Cantwell Calls for Elimination of Tariffs on Clean Energy and Environmental Goods and Services
Friday in Seattle, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) delivered a keynote address at the Washington Council on International Trade's annual conference. As part of her ongoing efforts to address solutions for global warming and accelerate the United States', as well as China's and India's, rapid transition to a clean energy future, Cantwell called for the elimination of tariffs worldwide on clean energy and environmental goods and services.
U.S. exports of renewable energy and environmental goods and services face much higher tariffs than foreign imports into the U.S. For example, China's average applied tariff on renewable energy goods is eight percent, and can be as high as 35 percent on items like solar water heaters. India's average applied tariff on renewable energy goods is 15 percent. And India's tariffs are as high as 25 percent on wind power generating sets and hydraulic turbines. Brazil's average applied tariff on renewable energy goods is 11 percent. And Brazil's tariffs are as high as 23 percent, for example, on solar water heaters and solar cells. The U.S. average applied tariff on renewable energy goods is about 1.75 percent.
Talks to lower these tariffs have stalled at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) organization. In the 1990s, the WTO Information Technology Agreement eliminated import duties on a wide range of information technology (IT) products and resulted in growth in IT exports. Senator Cantwell believes the same can be achieved in the clean energy and environmental sector.
During her speech, Cantwell made the following remarks:
"I believe the next President should also look beyond just additional bilateral trade agreements and focus on sectoral trade agreements in areas of the economy where the U.S. is, or can be, most competitive.
"I believe the clean energy technology sector is particularly promising area and represents a key strategy to make America more competitive and could be a huge new source of export opportunities for Washington state.
"Investing and pushing policies that accelerates America's transition away from the fossil fuel era and into a clean energy system based on domestically produced and environmentally friendly 21st century technologies will create jobs, grow our economy, and make us more energy self-sufficient
"It's not good for our businesses when China's average tariff on renewable energy imports, like solar hot water heaters, can be as high as 35 percent.
"That is not the level playing field we need to develop a robust clean energy export regime.
"Unfortunately, talks with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization (APEC) on this issue have stalled.
"But I will fight for commitments from world leaders on firm deadlines to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers to clean energy and environmental goods and services. It's the right thing do for our economy and our environment."
As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Cantwell has long fought to open markets and forge new trade agreements, for tax reforms and incentives for American businesses, and to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Americans.