Trade officials aim to complete environmental deal by September

Trade officials aim to complete environmental deal by September
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Top trade officials are aiming to complete a deal by the fall that would eliminate tariffs on a wide swath of environmental goods. 

Leaders from the United States and the European Union, along with five trading partners, said Thursday from Paris that they hope to complete an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) by September ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, China.

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"Trade ministers and senior officials from seven EGA members — Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and the United States — met in Paris to discuss progress in the negotiations and to chart a path toward successful conclusion later this year," the group said in a statement released by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

The deal involves 17 countries, including China, and has gone through 13 negotiating rounds. The countries have accelerated progress lately by working in smaller groups and within different configurations.

"The trade ministers are "committed to intensify their work together and with other EGA partners to successfully conclude the negotiations, and to find common ground on an EGA that will improve environmental protection, promote economic growth and create green jobs through an increase in global trade in environmental goods," they said in the statement from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) meeting.

The trade leaders are encouraging other World Trade Organization members to sign on to the EGA.

"This meeting is another step toward concluding the agreement in 2016," said Jake Colvin, vice president for global trade issues at the National Foreign Trade Council.

“All EGA negotiators must double down on efforts to land an agreement ahead of the G-20 Summit this September in Hangzhou," Colvin said.

"Letting the agreement languish would delay the economic and environmental benefits of a deal."