The United States has joined the World Trade Organization’s Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade, where members are looking at next year’s 13th Ministerial Conference as an opportunity for the WTO to deliver outcomes to reduce plastics pollution and address environmental concerns, according to participants in the dialogue.
The three work streams cover cross-cutting issues such as international cooperation, capacity building and transparency, issues related to reduction of plastics pollution and a full life-cycle approach to eliminating such pollution, issues regarding promotion of environmentally sustainable trade in plastic alternatives and substitutes, as well as technologies required to address plastics pollution.
Several participants suggested that key components of the MC13 outcomes should include a political statement highlighting commonly identified priorities, as well as a call for action, voluntary pledges of domestic actions and collective efforts in plastics reduction, according to the release.
They also recommended the inclusion of specific trade actions such as the identification of harmful plastic goods targeted by trade measures, a compendium of best practices, and a set of Harmonized System codes for substitutes of harmful plastic goods to recommend to the World Customs Organization.
During the meeting, some participants expressed the need for more in-depth discussions on plastics substitutes, with a focus on phasing out fossil-fuel products, and providing technical assistance to developing members to achieve this. Others highlighted the synergies between the Dialogue and other international initiatives, stressing the importance of avoiding duplication of efforts or negatively impacting other global negotiation processes.
The next meeting of the Dialogue is scheduled for April 27. It will be a joint workshop with the UN Environment Program with the focus on reducing the use of harmful plastic products
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