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Trade

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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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  • Blog
    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change:  Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Can the international trade system be a catalyst for reforming fossil fuel subsidies (FFSs) to help relieve the burden on the public purse, reduce local and global air pollution, improve energy security and tackle climate change? 

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  • Commentary
    NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and options

    NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and options

    IISD has asked various experts from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to give their perspectives on NAFTA and the pending negotiations. This commentary, written by IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan is the introductary piece in this series.

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  • Commentary
    La renegociación del TLCAN: una oportunidad para el desarrollo sostenible / The Renegotiation of NAFTA: An opportunity for sustainable development

    La renegociación del TLCAN: una oportunidad para el desarrollo sostenible / The Renegotiation of NAFTA: An opportunity for sustainable development

    Isabel Studer, Executive Director for Mexico and Northern Central America, The Nature Conservancy gives us her take (in Spanish and English) on the NAFTA negotiations and their impact on sustainable development.

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  • Commentary
    NAFTA Renegotiations Offer Chance to Fix its Mistakes on Trade and the Environment

    NAFTA Renegotiations Offer Chance to Fix its Mistakes on Trade and the Environment

    Geoff Garver, adjunct professor in interdisicplinary studies on environment and sustainability at McGill University and Concordia University, gives us his view on the need to fix the environmental provisions in NAFTA. 

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

    IISD Speech: 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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