ACCTS Chair’s Statement from New Zealand - Round 13, June 2023

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delegations participating in negotiations for the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS) met in Geneva from 30 May to 9 June, with a final virtual meeting on 23 June. 

They recalled ACCTS Trade Ministers’ statements from Geneva (15 June 2022), Paris (6 October 2021), and Davos (24 January 2020) as well as the Joint Leaders’ Statement launching the ACCTS initiative on 25 September 2019 in New York, and those issued by Climate Ministers in Sharm-El-Sheikh, (16 November 2022), Glasgow (12 November 2021) and Spain (10 December 2019) in support of the negotiations.

ACCTS participants continue to call attention to the need for urgent action to address the Climate Crisis and deliver on the global commitment to the Paris Agreement.  They remain steadfast in their desire to harness trade policy to contribute to collective efforts to address climate change. Participants acknowledged the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have identified that current and proposed mitigation actions to address global emissions are insufficient to tackle climate change and keep warming to 1.5 °C, and again emphasised that human activities are the key drivers of climate change.  ACCTS participants have already witnessed the impact of warming though rapidly escalating weather events in their regions. In this context, ACCTS participants remain unified in their determination to show, through the ACCTS, how trade policy can help advance climate change, trade, environmental and sustainable development agendas. In doing so, they continue to recognise the particular vulnerability of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States to the impacts of climate change.

As the thirteenth round of ACCTS negotiations draws to a close, ACCTS participants welcome the significant progress in the ACCTS negotiations this year, and undertake to further accelerate their efforts.

ACCTS participants warmly welcomed conclusion of the principles-based guidelines for voluntary eco-labelling programmes. These guidelines promise to be a useful tool that will help ensure that eco-labels are able to best achieve their environmental purposes and deliver information meaningful to the market, while avoiding the inadvertent creation of barriers to trade.

They made further progress towards finalising the list of environmental goods for tariff elimination. With more than 300 environmental products already identified for liberalisation, this promises to represent an ambitious environmental goods lists that goes beyond existing international efforts. ACCTS participants acknowledged the efforts their trade, customs and environmental authorities are making to ensure that the list is ambitious, implementable and environmentally credible.

ACCTS participants recognised the excellent progress made in the area of environmental services to develop of a novel, environmentally credible and ambitious list of environmental and environmentally-related services.  They committed to deliver meaningful offers that can unlock the potential contribution of this dynamic sector to addressing climate and sustainability challenges through facilitating access and certainty for environmental service suppliers.   

Finally, they acknowledge their shared commitment to establishing disciplines to eliminate harmful fossil fuel subsidies. This is an area where the ACCTS can provide great impact in terms of reduction of global emissions and support for sustainable development outcomes. This also remains the most complex area of negotiations. ACCTS participants remain committed to finding an outcome that is both ambitious and reflects the complexities of reforming fossil fuel subsidies across a set of diverse economies. 

Across these four pillars, participants are convinced the ACCTS will demonstrate in a meaningful way how trade rules can help achieve climate-related sustainable development objectives, and promote green growth. The shared vision is for the ACCTS to become a pathfinder and a template for trade and climate action and sustainable development outcomes. ACCTS participants are aiming to delivering an outcome this year in order to inform discussions at the Thirteenth WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February 2024. They look forward to starting their work to attract additional WTO members to the ACCTS once negotiations conclude.


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