Regulatory Divergence and Convergence in the Age of Megaregionals
Edited by Shin-yi Peng, Han-Wei Liu and Ching-Fu Lin
Chapter 8: Regulation of renewable energy trade in the megaregionals era: Current issues and prospects for rule-making reforms
Energy is an important ingredient of any nation’s socio-economic development. It can be derived from both fossil fuels and renewables. Renewable energy (typically, solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, bioenergy, and ocean power) is gaining popularity across the globe as an environment-friendly substitute for energy derived from climate-harmful fossil fuel. Governments pursue renewable energy policies with a view to promoting green growth and ensuring sustainable energy supplies from virtually non-exhaustive sources. The World Trade Organization’s current rule book does not address renewables as such, although recently its dispute settlement and forum meetings have frequently dealt with this subject. The ongoing talks on the Environmental Goods Agreement focus on tariff removal (reduction), but are unlikely to cover regulatory issues. On the other hand, some regional trade agreements, including megaregionals, such as e.g. the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, contain (or will introduce) specific provisions dedicated to renewable energy issues. With respect to renewable energy, they (i) pursue a common policy; or (ii) create specific trade and investment rules with no common policies; or (iii) simply support intra-governmental cooperation. This chapter aims to examine multilateral and regional trade rules with particular reference to localization measures, government support, infrastructural facilities, technical standards and services, as related to this field. For this purpose, it will discuss the status quo and areas for possible rule-making in the future, and suggest working towards a more renewables-oriented regulatory approach in the international trade regime.
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