G8 to agree tariff steps to drive CO2 cuts: report

4/07/2008 - 14:23

TOKYO (Reuters) - G8 leaders will agree to take their own initiatives to reduce or abolish import tariffs on industrial goods that aid efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and thus help fight global warming, Japan's Asahi newspaper said on Friday.

Climate change is high on the agenda for the G8's July 7-9 summit in Hokkaido, northern Japan. But views differ on how much the world's emissions should be cut in the mid or long term as well as the responsibility of developed nations for such reductions.

A G8 agreement will not identify individual goods to which low or zero tariffs would be applied, but is aimed at helping to drive the World Trade Organizations' Doha round, the Asahi said without quoting sources.

Among G8 members, the European Union imposes 22 percent tariffs on small cars to protect domestic industry and Russia imposes a 10 percent tax on solar panel imports, the Asahi said.

The Doha round, launched in November 2001, has missed deadline after deadline partly because of a rift on cutting tariffs on industrial goods such as cars, shoes, fuel and timber.

WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has called for a select group of ministers to meet on July 21 to push the Doha round toward conclusions, diplomats said.

G8 leaders will also confirm cooperation on research and development to help find breakthroughs in emission-reduction innovative technologies in such areas as fuel cell vehicles, solar power and carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS), the Asahi said.

Japan will separately announce a rise in its spending on R&D to encourage innovation in the fields of the environment and energy of about 20 percent to $10 billion a year, the Asahi said.

That compares with a pledge by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in January to set such investment at $30 billion over the next five years to help meet his proposed target for global emissions cuts of 50 percent by 2050.

(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Mike Watson)

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