Research Handbook on Climate Change and Trade Law
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Research Handbook on Climate Change and Trade Law

Edited by Panagiotis Delimatsis

The interaction between climate change and trade has grown in prominence in recent years. This Research Handbook contains authoritative original contributions from leading experts working at the interface between trade and climate change. It maps the state of affairs in such diverse areas as: carbon credits and taxes, sustainable standard-setting and trade in ‘green’ goods and services or investment, from both a regional and global perspective. Panagiotis Delimatsis redefines the interrelationship of trade and climate change for future scholarship in this area.
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Chapter 8: Climate change and services trade: what role for the GATS?

Michaël Alder, Aik Hoe Lim and Ruosi Zhang

Abstract

Considerable attention has been devoted to how trade in environmental goods can help in the efforts to mitigate climate change and the role that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) might play in this regard. There has, in contrast, been much less consideration of the impact of services trade and the adequacy of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) as a framework for supporting environmental sustainability. We argue that market opening for trade-in-services does not stand in the way of sound environmental policies. To the contrary, liberalizing trade in services can positively impact the environment, by providing greater access to environmental services, such as waste management services, to name just one. Moreover, liberalization of trade in environmental services may enable and encourage service suppliers and consumers alike to opt for eco-friendly, “green” (and “greener”) services. Hence, trade in services and environmental sustainability should be considered as complementing one another. With an appropriate legal and policy framework, such an approach can create a win-win situation; namely, higher potential for international trade in services on the one hand, and better global environmental policies, on the other hand.

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