Reconciling Trade and Climate

Reconciling Trade and Climate

How the WTO Can Help Address Climate Change

Elgar International Economic Law series

Tracey Epps and Andrew Green

This timely book addresses the interaction between policies addressing climate change and the rules of the WTO. The authors expertly examine the law and economics behind the application of trade rules in the area of climate, including the implications of WTO rules for domestic climate measures, the unilateral use of trade measures to attempt to force other countries to take climate action, and the role of trade measures in multilateral climate agreements. The book argues that while there is a possibility of conflict between international trade rules and progress on climate change, it need not be the case. Thus the major focus is on the ways in which trade measures can aid in addressing climate change.

Chapter 3: The Existing Trade and Climate Change Frameworks

Tracey Epps and Andrew Green

Subjects: environment, climate change, law - academic, international economic law, trade law


This chapter provides an overview of the range of agreements and the basic institutional arrangements and structure of both the WTO and the international climate change regime. The climate change regime in particular is in a state of flux following the 15th Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen in December 2009. Rather than attempting a comprehensive and up-to-date description of the regime, we focus here on the core principles that date from the initiation of the UNFCCC and what we consider to be some of its enduring characteristics. The overview forms the foundation for the ensuing chapters that examine the linkages between trade and climate change. We focus on those institutional features of each regime that lay the groundwork for their interactions. 3.1 3.1.1 THE WTO Overview of the WTO The WTO, like its predecessor the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established to provide a common institutional framework within which its members can conduct trade relations. The organization provides a forum for negotiations between its members, for dispute settlement, and facilitates implementation, administration and operation of the various covered agreements as annexed to the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO.1 While the predominant thrust of the WTO is to support trade liberalization,2 the Preamble to the Agreement There are approximately 60 agreements, decisions, annexes, and understandings. These cover trade in goods, services, and intellectual property. The full text of the agreements can be found in World Trade Organization, The Legal Texts: The Results of the Uruguay Round...

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