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Tipu Munshi supports liberal trade policies to cut GHG

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 12 October, 2021 12:00 AM
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Tipu Munshi supports liberal trade policies to cut GHG

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Trade liberalization in climate smart and other environmental goods alongside phasing out of fossil-fuel subsidies can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Monday. 

He said this in a message to a report launch event of the United Nations, says a release. 

The report has underscored an urgent need for economies in the Asia-Pacific region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including maintaining their trade competitiveness as carbon taxes at borders become more likely.

The minister supported the report recommendations including private sector initiatives, transition to climate friendly transportation, incorporation of climate issues in RTAs, carbon pricing and carbon border adjustment taxes.

He said the recommendations are very much befitting given the crises the Asia-Pacific regions are facing.

 “As key trade partners consider putting border taxes in place on carbon, there are strong concerns on the effects on the developing countries since many economies in the region are at risk of being pushed out of key markets,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

She added that the roll-out of COVID-19 recovery packages could provide opportunities to invest in low-carbon technologies and sectors; opportunities that should not be missed considering the urgency for action.

The Asia-Pacific region is now the largest emitter of GHGs in absolute terms. However, the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2021 (APTIR) reveals significant room for all economies in the region to make their trade and investment more climate smart, according to press statement of ESCAP on Monday.

Barriers to trade in environmental goods are more prevalent than barriers to trade in carbon-intensive fossil fuels. Wasteful and regressive fossil fuel subsidies also continue to contribute to GHG emissions in the region.

According to the report, their timely abolishment and replacement with more targeted support policies could provide much-needed finance for social and environmental policies in addition to reducing emissions.

“The links between trade, investment and climate change are complex. The key is to ensure that the positive effects of trade and investment are maximized, such as by promoting trade and investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies, while minimizing the adverse effects, like by digitalizing trade and transport systems,” said Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Climate pledges by several countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to be underpinned by policies and measures to drive the transformation towards lower carbon economies, including in the private sector.

Some 16 million new jobs would be created in clean energy, energy efficiency, engineering, manufacturing and construction industries, more than compensating for the estimated loss of five million jobs by downscaling industries. While implementing climate-smart policies comes at a significant cost, particularly for carbon-intensive sectors and economies, the cost of inaction is far greater with some estimates as high as $792 trillion by 2100 if the Paris Agreement targets are not met.

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2021 was jointly launched on Monday  by the ESCAP, UNCTAD and the United Nations Environment Programme at the World Trade Organization Environment Week.