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Symposium on “Visualising a Greener Harmonised System”: BIR makes case for eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers

  • 30 January 2023

BIR Deputy Director for Trade & Environment Alev Somer represented the global recycling federation at the World Customs Organization’s “Visualising a Greener Harmonised System” symposium, which took place in Brussels on January 23 and addressed the environmental credentials of technology as well as how to identify the green status of equipment.

Ms Somer was invited to make a presentation on the machinery and equipment used in the recycling process and how they are essential to optimizing the sorting and processing of waste into quality-controlled recycled raw materials, thereby improving resource efficiency and achieving a circular economy. She argued that eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers on both recycled materials and on machinery and equipment used by the recycling industry would improve the market for secondary resources, promote a circular economy and benefit the environment by minimizing waste and reducing dependency on natural raw materials.

BIR had also contributed to earlier editions of this series of symposia on enhancing the Harmonised System to support environmentally sustainable trade, held between October 2022 and January 2023. BIR Director for Trade & Environment Ross Bartley spoke previously on a circular economy for used goods and recycled materials, addressing trade impediments to circular business models and the strategic role of customs and the World Customs Organization (WCO) in the cross-border movement of waste and in the classification of goods.

As a key tool for the identification and classification of goods worldwide, the Harmonised System has a vital role in the implementation of green policies, including global policies under the United Nations Environment Programme. Greening the Harmonised System with a framed method which identifies and distinguishes the goods that are of environmental significance would bring more transparency to commercial operations involving these types of goods, thereby supporting policy measures to reduce the impact of trade on the environment.

BIR will remain engaged with the WCO in the months to come in order to ensure its proposals are tabled in the next review of the Harmonised System by 2027 and in the Environmental Goods Agreement discussions with the World Trade Organization.