How the WTO Can Help Address Climate Change
Elgar International Economic Law series
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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