The role of international trade in fostering a circular economy transition is gaining prominence in international policy debates. The transition from a linear towards a circular economy implies a fundamental rethink of economic activities, transactions, and also – trade policies. The many issues to be addressed cover economic, social, and environmental dimensions.
One of the areas to consider is defining and classifying measures, such as in Harmonized System (HS) codes. While there is limited research available on this area, the international trade community, including within the WTO Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussion (TESSD), increasingly recognises the need to discuss how HS code classification can support the circular economy transition.
To discuss and identify concrete recommendations on how HS code classification can support the Circular Economy transition, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Geneva office organised a workshop titled "Deep Dive into Circular Economy: HS Code System at Heart".
The workshop “Deep Dive into Circular Economy: HS Code System at Heart” brought together relevant international experts, Geneva-based delegates, international organizations, think-tanks, and other knowledge institutions. It will take place in Geneva and Versoix, 19-21 October 2022. The workshop consisted of three parts:
• 19 October 2022 (17:00-19:30 CET) – high-level opening event (public event).
• 20 October 2022 (9:00-17:00 CET) – targeted group discussion among key experts (by invitation only).
• 21 October 2022 (9:00-13:00 CET) – targeted group discussion among key experts (by invitation only).
Day 1 - High-Level Opening - Speakers
Day 2 - Expert Discussion - Presentations
- Ms. Elisabeth Türk, Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, UNECE
- Ms. Yvonne Bartmann, Senior Program Officer, Trade and Development, FES, Geneva
Session 1: The Circular Economy at a glance: greener, cleaner, cooler
- Mr. Jack Barrie - Research Fellow, Chatham House
- Mr. Jan Raes - Circular Economy Expert
Session 2: The HS at a glance: how it functions, what it covers, and what it does not cover. The need to integrate circular economy approaches
- Ms. Gael Grooby - Deputy Director, Tariff and Trade Affairs, World Customs Organization
Session 3: HS codes in action I: addressing plastic pollution
- Ms. Carolyn Deere Birkbeck - Director, Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS)
- Mr. Henrique Costa - Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD
Session 4: The HS codes in action: transforming and reforming for circularity
- Mr. Tetsuo Mizunuma -Technical Attaché, World Customs Organization -
Group work: facilitated by the application of creative tools
- Introduction to creative tools by Ms. Andrea Hvistendahl, Malardalen University (Sweden)
Presentations are available here.
Day 3 - Informal Exchange & Framing the Way Forward
- Mr. Dmitry Mariyasin, Deputy Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE
Group work “Deep Dive into Circular Economy: HS Codes at Heart"
- All experts.