Handbook on Trade and the Environment
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Handbook on Trade and the Environment

Edited by Kevin P. Gallagher

In this comprehensive reference work, Kevin Gallagher has compiled a fresh and broad-ranging collection of expert voices commenting on the interdisciplinary field of trade and the environment. For over two decades policymakers and scholars have been struggling to understand the relationship between international trade in a globalizing world and its effects on the natural environment. The authors in this Handbook provide the tools to do just that.
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Chapter 26: Trade and Environment Institutions

J. Samuel Barkin


J. Samuel Barkin Introduction This chapter looks at those multilateral institutions that oversee international rules regulating the relationship between trade and environmental issues. Some of these organizations, particularly the World Trade Organization (WTO), have already been discussed elsewhere in this volume. The purpose of this chapter is not to review these discussions, or to look in detail at the workings of any particular institution. Rather it is to provide a typology of institutional approaches to mediating the relationship between international trade and the environment. The term ‘multilateral institution’ here refers to those institutions (referred to in this chapter as international organizations, or IOs) that are created by states, and the primary membership of which is states. They are multilateral if they are broad-based (as opposed to bilateral, if they have only two members). The classic example of a multilateral institution is the United Nations (UN), and most of the IOs discussed in this chapter are part of the UN system, broadly defined. The institutions discussed in this chapter are those that mediate in some way between international trade rules and rules governing the management of the natural environment, whether these latter rules are international or domestic. These rules come into conflict when trade rules interfere with the ability of states to manage the environment as they see fit, whether individually or collectively, or when environmental rules discriminate against the trade of particular countries. Different IOs deal with this interference and discrimination differently. There are four general...

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