Trade matters. It has the potential to advance sustainable, low-carbon development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement climate commitments present fundamental challenges to trade policy; so too do growing protectionism and the fraying of multilateralism.
IISD has been working on international trade for over two decades. Our work mirrors the scientific, economic, fiscal, legal and environmental aspects of trade. IISD focuses on reforms to the World Trade Organization and other trade agreements (including the North American Free Trade Agreement); options for new industrial policies functioning within a rules-based system; and whether trade can accelerate renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. IISD examines trade-related issues ranging from global food security and other commitments set out in the SDGs, to innovative financing for sustainable infrastructure, carbon-border adjustment measures and the role of big data.
IISD works with developing countries and others on international investment treaties. It also addresses trade issues through its flagship Investment Treaty News, Global Subsidies Initiative and the SDG Knowledge Hub.
Assessing the Impacts of Investment Treaties: Overview of the evidence
Investment treaties grant powerful legal rights to foreign investors. Foreign investors’ ability to frame plausible multimillion-dollar claims against a wide range of host government actions—and the fact that these claims are adjudicated through a system of private arbitration—has made investment treaties controversial. This scoping study seeks to provide an overview and assessment of existing evidence of investment treaties’ impacts.Read More
Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2017
Investment Treaty News (ITN) is IISD’s flagship quarterly journal on international investment law and policy.Read More
Renegotiating NAFTA: Pros and cons for Canada and Mexico
As NAFTA renegotiations continue, it is useful to examine what might happen if NAFTA tariff preferences disappear. This paper uses an economic trade model to simulate the impacts of a 20 per cent tariff increase in North American industries such as energy, steel, cement and automobiles.Read More
NAFTA Renegotiations Must Protect 20 Years of Progress on Labour and Environmental Protections in Trade Agreements and Address New Risks
Sandra Polaski, an expert on labour and social policy issues at national and global levels gives us her take on the NAFTA negotiations in relation to labour, environment and trade agreements.Read More
Response to the United States Trade Representative’s Stated Objectives on NAFTA Negotiations: An environmental perspective
On July 17, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published its Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation. Taking a sustainable development perspective, this response examines the USTR objectives and how they directly or indirectly relate to sustainable growth through international trade and investment.Read More
Behind the Scenes of the G20: a Substantive Process Leads to a Significant Statement
After months of working behind the scenes to help develop recommendations for G20 leaders, I can tell you that it is a substantive process that led to a significant statement.Read More
Can Trade Help Deliver the Paris Agreement? Lessons learned from the G20
This year’s G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, saw long and heated discussion on the urgency of delivering the Paris Agreement.Read More
Standards and Biodiversity
The Standards and Biodiversity Report analyzes the criteria and market coverage of 15 major agricultural voluntary sustainability standards against key biodiversity parameters.Read More
Investment Treaty News Quarterly (ITN), Volume 8, Issue 2, June 2017
Investment Treaty News is IISD’s flagship quarterly journal on international investment law and policy.Read More
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.Read More