Australia and Japan in Regional and Global Contexts
The need to balance economic growth and sustainable development remains a shared goal within the international community. A method of achieving this balance is by promoting a green economy, whereby states can continue to pursue economic growth whilst reducing the environmental and social footprint originating from their economic activities. International trade law is now confronted with emerging challenges where paradigms of free trade conflict with climate change policies. The World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other multilateral trade agreements play a central role in maintaining a system of open international trade to ensure that states do not unjustifiably discriminate between foreign and locally produced goods and services. This chapter examines the varying challenges arising from the intersection of climate change policy and international trade law. In doing so, it explores how climate change action can operationalize concepts that are inherent in both international trade and environmental law, namely, common but differentiated responsibilities and special and differentiated treatment to illustrate that the two, distinct legal regimes share the same path towards achieving sustainable development.