Big Green Gaps: Our inability to tackle the messy issues at the interface of trade, development and the green economy
This address to UNCTAD's 49th Trade and Development Board explores what Rio + 20 failed to do: move us toward international consensus on what is appropriate state behaviour in the pursuit of a green economy.
We have a panoply of unilateral measures employed to capture both environmental and industrial policy-type benefits—from renewable energy subsidies to aviation levies—but little consensus on their propriety. Some are clearly WTO-illegal, some are not, and others occupy a legal grey area. But more important than legality is the question: can they actually be effective both environmentally (in disseminating more green technology) and economically (in fostering mature new entrants and innovators in the green tech space)? And how do we balance any global environmental benefits against the impacts on trading partners? Such questions cannot be answered in the WTO, and are caustic to the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism. But we have no other suitable venues for discussion.
You might also be interested in
The Proposed Multilateral Framework on Investment Facilitation
This paper examines the proposed multilateral framework on investment facilitation and how it relates to existing trade and investment agreements.
Trade Agreements and the World Trade Organization: Lessons for the Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises Joint Statement Initiative
This paper examines the provisions that relate to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in regional trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements.
Making the Trading System Work for the SDGs: 10 questions for the next WTO Director-General
Trade, if well managed, can be a powerful tool for development. But it must not stand in the way of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Joint Statement on Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises: History and latest developments in the Informal Working Group
This brief outlines the history and developments of MSME-related discussions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) context, looking specifically at MSME-related issues at the WTO as well as in other forums and contexts.