Asia-Pacific nations pledged to establish a list of so-called green goods that will be subject to a maximum 5 percent tariff and agreed to reduce energy intensity to help overcome economic and environmental challenges in the region.
Leaders vowed to accelerate “the transition toward a global low-carbon economy in a way that enhances energy security and creates new sources of economic growth and employment,” according to a joint statement after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu. The 21-member forum set a target to reduce energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035.
APEC leaders also vowed new measures to open markets and enhance regional trade, laying out plans to exempt low-value exports from customs duties and free up air-cargo services to boost trade. President Barack Obama used his role as summit host to underscore his administration’s pivot toward Asia, a region experiencing rising commercial importance as China’s economic power increases.
Pang Sen, a deputy director-general at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the energy intensity target “aspirational.”
“The outcome document has demonstrated very clearly that our target is an aspirational one,” he told reporters. “It also demonstrates the principle of voluntarism and non-binding.”
To bolster trade, APEC will establish “de minimis values” that will exempt low-value shipments from customs duties and streamline entry documentation requirements, according to the statement. That will be a key contribution to the goal of an APEC-wide 10 percent improvement in supply-chain performance by 2015, the leaders said in the statement.
On green goods, leaders said in an annex to the statement they will also “eliminate, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations, existing local content requirements that distort environmental goods and services trade in the region by the end of 2012, and refrain from adopting new ones, including as part of any future domestic clean energy policy.”