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APEC; Indonesia: Future Green Goods Trade Pact Considered

(Sept. 7, 2012) The 21-member nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have been working on an agreement to reduce tariffs for environmental goods since November 2011, when the Honolulu Declaration was adopted. That Declaration, among other provisions, calls for the development of a list of goods that directly and positively contribute to green, sustainable development and proposes the goal of tariffs on these items being reduced to 5% or less by 2015. The list of goods was to be developed this year. (Key APEC Milestones, APEC website (last visited Sept. 5, 2012); Honolulu Declaration: Toward a Seamless Regional Economy, APEC website (Nov. 12-13, 2011); Annex C: – Trade and Investment in Environmental Goods and Services [of the Honolulu Declaration], APEC website (Nov. 13, 2011).)

Recently Indonesia has expressed some reservations about the future pact. Speaking on September 4, 2012, the Director General of International Trade Cooperation of Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, Iman Pambagyo, stated of the plan to list green goods, “[i]t’s pretty much a sensitive issue.The definition of environmental goods is still sketchy, and … the [planned] policy may have a huge impact on our industry.” (Rendi A. Witular & Linda Yulisman, RI Wary of Green Pact Plan, THE JAKARTA POST (Sept. 5, 2012).) He expressed concern that domestic industry in Indonesia could not yet reach environmental standards, noting that “[w]e don’t want to merely become the market [for imported environmental goods]. We should become a leading player as well.” (Id.)

Negotiations over which products would come under the future limit on tariffs are ongoing, with an agreement to be considered and perhaps approved when the APEC heads of state meet on September 8 and 9. Seventy-five items are on the list being discussed. (Id.)