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International trade has enormous potential to foster or frustrate sustainable development.

By allowing for specialization, trade can increase income and contribute to increased well-being. Openness to investment and trade can bring new environmentally friendly technologies and processes. But trade can also allow powerful global demand to deplete countries' natural resources and create increased pollution, and the benefits of trade are not always well distributed among and within nations. In seeking positive outcomes, IISD focuses on both on national-level trade policies and trade rules agreed at the World Trade Organization and in regional agreements. 

  • Paper
    Shining a Light on Fossil Fuel Subsidies at the WTO: How NGOs can contribute to WTO notification and surveillance

    Shining a Light on Fossil Fuel Subsidies at the WTO: How NGOs can contribute to WTO notification and surveillance

    Fossil fuel subsidies undermine efforts to mitigate climate change and damage the trading system. However, multilateral discussion is hampered by inconsistent definitions and incomplete data.

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  • Policy Brief
    Green Shift to Sustainability: Co-Benefits & Impacts of Energy Transformation on Resource Industries, Trade, Growth and Taxes

    Green Shift to Sustainability: Co-Benefits & Impacts of Energy Transformation on Resource Industries, Trade, Growth and Taxes

    IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan along with several representatives from various environmental NGOs, contributed to this G20 Insights policy brief on the benefits and impacts of energy transformation. 

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  • Speech
    IISD Speech: IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan at PAGE Ministerial Conference, Berlin

    IISD Speech: IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan at PAGE Ministerial Conference, Berlin

    IISD President and CEO, Scott Vaughan's speaks at the PAGE Ministerial Conference in Berlin, Germany on March 27, 2017.

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  • Blog
    Taking the Leap to Realign Trade and Sustainable Development: Now is the time

    Taking the Leap to Realign Trade and Sustainable Development: Now is the time

    Senior Fellow Mark Halle explains why now, at this critical juncture, is the time to realign the trade sector and the concerns of the sustainable development agenda.

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  • Blog
    Carbon Without Borders: Can trade policy support ambitious climate action?

    Carbon Without Borders: Can trade policy support ambitious climate action?

    The multilateral trade and climate regimes both face unprecedented uncertainty and strain. How should countries advance the urgent need for climate action without resorting to protectionism?

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  • Blog
    As U.S. and Canadian Climate Policies Diverge, How Do We Ensure Canada’s Competitiveness?

    As U.S. and Canadian Climate Policies Diverge, How Do We Ensure Canada’s Competitiveness?

    With relatively new administrations on both sides of the border, the United States and Canada have staked out opposing views on climate change. That has environmentalists and businesses worried. This has potentially damaging consequences for Canada’s trade competitiveness.

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  • Commentary
    A New Generation of Trade and Industrial Policy

    A New Generation of Trade and Industrial Policy

    IISD President-CEO Scott Vaughan presents ideas for a new generation of trade and industrial policy

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  • Report
    Trade in Transforming Our World: Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    Trade in Transforming Our World: Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    This paper draws on the experience of IISD and ICTSD in trade, sustainable development, and international governance to provide an overview of how and where the trade elements of the 2030 Agenda might best be reviewed. 

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  • Commentary
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Part I: A deal too far

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership, Part I: A deal too far

    The release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement last fall has unleashed a heated debate over its costs and benefits. 

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  • Blog
    A New Year of Subsidy Reform

    A New Year of Subsidy Reform

    2016 begins with two historic global achievements in place to reform subsidies that harm the poor and damage the environment.

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