Taiwan LED Industry Advocate Lifting LED Lighting Tariffs at WTO Talks

Taiwan Lighting Fixture Export Association (TLFEA) has been promoting the inclusion of LED lighting products at World Trade Organization (WTO) Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations, a China Times report cited the association chairman Steven Lin saying at a recent meeting.

The lighting association sent a delegation to the fifth WTO EGA negotiation, which took place in Geneva from March 16-20, to promote the inclusion of LED lighting in the agreement.

The move is considered a solution to overcome the slow Taiwan and China’s slow trade talk progress, and a shortcut to eliminating tariffs for Taiwanese LED products exported to China.

Taiwan’s LED lighting products exported to China are subject to 5-20% tariffs, with a majority of product subject to 20% tariffs, reported China Times. Previously, Taiwan’s LED industry proposed including LED lighting products in Cross-Strait Agreement on Trade and Goods negotiations, but talks have come to a standstill. If the proposal of including LED lighting in EGA is approved by WTO member states, Taiwan  LED lighting products could be exempted from Chinese tariffs.

In 2014, Taiwan exported a total of US $1.54 billion worth of LED lighting products, according to statistics compiled by the country’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Taiwan was not the only Asian country to submit a proposal of including LED lighting products at EGA negotiations this year. The Korean government also presented similar proposals for LED lighting and metal silicon material required for LED manufacturing, reported ETnews.

The EGA currently consists of 17 negotiating members including China, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, EU, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, U.S. and Turkey. ETA has adopted an Information Technology Agreement model. In other words, once parties of the agreement’s environmental product global trade volume reaches 90%, it will become applicable to all 160 WTO members.

EGA talks were inconclusive last month, but member states including U.S. and several green enterprises hope to seal the agreement within this year. TLFEA hopes LED lighting will be included as a tariff-free item in the EGA by mid-2016.

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