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Davos: Free trade in enviro goods?

A joint statement said the agreement would take effect once members of the WTO participated.

The world’s biggest trading powers unveiled a joint initiative to achieve global free trade in environmental goods. Picture: swiss-image.ch

DAVOS - The world's biggest trading powers unveiled a joint initiative on Thursday to achieve global free trade in environmental goods to help boost the fight against climate change.

A joint statement by the US, the European Union, China and several smaller developed economies said the agreement would take effect once a critical mass of members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) participate.

That gets around the WTO's requirement for consensus on trade agreements. The initiative is part of new WTO chief Roberto Azevedo's drive to break a decade-old deadlock in world trade negotiations by tackling the most promising areas for agreement.

Last month, the WTO reached its first trade reform agreement at talks in Bali, potentially adding $1 trillion to the global economy.

Click here for a special feature on this year's World Economic Forum in Davos.