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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. 

  • Commentary
    TTIP and Climate Change: Low economic benefits, real climate risks

    TTIP and Climate Change: Low economic benefits, real climate risks

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—a trade and investment agreement under negotiation between the European Union and United States—can increase emissions and restrict the ability of nations to adequately mitigate and adapt to climate change.

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  • Commentary
    Chapter: Trade and Sustainable Development from Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities

    Chapter: Trade and Sustainable Development from Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities

    Sustainable development is one of the most difficult policy challenges of our time. It is also closely linked to the global trading system. In this chapter from IRPP's Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities, IISD President Scott Vaughan describes how environmental concerns have become part of international trade policy over the past two decades, and discusses some of the implications for Canada.

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  • Paper
    Trade and Sustainable Development: Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the Post-2015 Agenda and Financing for Development

    Trade and Sustainable Development: Options for follow-up and review of the trade-related elements of the Post-2015 Agenda and Financing for Development

    Trade is reflected throughout the draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of June 2015 and the May 2015 draft outcome of the third international Financing for Development (FfD) conference. The first aim of this paper is to map where trade-related elements are found in the SDGs and FfD.

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  • Book
    Trade and Green Economy: A handbook (Third Edition)

    Trade and Green Economy: A handbook (Third Edition)

    This joint effort by the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme is aimed mainly at those with some knowledge about trade, environment or development, but who are not experts on the intersection of the three.

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  • Paper
    Quantifying the Mega-regional Trade Agreements: A review of Models

    Quantifying the Mega-regional Trade Agreements: A review of Models

    Major developments in trade policy are currently taking place in the mega-regional trade agreements, in particular in the Trans-Pacific Partnership...

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  • Paper
    The State of Play in Vattenfall v. Germany II: Leaving the German public in the dark

    The State of Play in Vattenfall v. Germany II: Leaving the German public in the dark

    Two years after Vattenfall brought Germany to international arbitration for a second time (Vattenfall II), the German public is still left out in the dark. This briefing note reviews the background to the case on Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power and outlines its current state of play.

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  • Paper
    The Stakes Are High: A review of the financial costs of investment treaty arbitration

    The Stakes Are High: A review of the financial costs of investment treaty arbitration

    The amounts at stake in investment treaty arbitration are very often high. The average claim in investor–state arbitrations based on international...

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  • Paper
    The Myanmar-Japan Bilateral Investment Treaty

    The Myanmar-Japan Bilateral Investment Treaty

    After decades of international isolation, Myanmar is going through a process of political transition toward democracy.As part of the reform process...

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  • Paper
    Myanmar’s Investment Treaties: A review of legal issues in light of recent trends

    Myanmar’s Investment Treaties: A review of legal issues in light of recent trends

    This paper reviews Myanmar’s existing investment treaties and examines the legal and policy implications of key terms contained in them.The purpose...

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  • Speech
    Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for India

    Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for India

    IISD Senior Fellow Harsha V Singh presented this speech at the Implications of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for China and India workshop in...

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