IISD has been working on international trade for over two decades, analyzing the issue from multiple perspectives: scientific, economic, fiscal, legal, social, and environmental.
At the intergovernmental level, IISD has a long history of working on reforms to the World Trade Organization’s rules and members’ ability to engage in those processes. IISD has also built an extensive body of work on regional and plurilateral trade agreements, as well as the interlinkages between multilateral environmental agreements and the trading system.
At the sectoral level, we have explored options for new industrial policies functioning within a rules-based system; innovative financing for sustainable infrastructure; border-carbon adjustment measures; and whether trade can accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, improve food security, and eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies and fossil fuel subsidies. Our work also unpacks the relationship between voluntary sustainability standards and trade, as well as the role of trade in contributing to the circular economy.
IISD's work in this area is backed by robust research and policy analysis, along with regular engagement with the varied stakeholder communities involved in and affected by trade and trade policy. A core part of this engagement involves our work to promote transparency and support informed trade conversations.
We feature in-depth commentary and analysis in Investment Treaty News, the Global Subsidies Initiative, the SDG Knowledge Hub, and the Trade and Sustainability Review. We hold webinars on issues at the heart of the trade and sustainability nexus, as part of our partnership with the University of Geneva's Faculty of Law.
Our work on trade issues is made possible through the generous support of our funders. These include:
- UK aid from the UK government, including its Trade and Investment Advocacy Fund (TAF2+);
- the Pew Charitable Trusts;
- the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ);
- the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida);
- the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Swedish MFA);
- the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ MFAT);
- the Government of Finland.
Trade and Sustainability Hub
Bringing together communities and stakeholders from around the world to discuss how trade policy can contribute to sustainable development.
Trade and Sustainability Review
A quarterly magazine with a focus on the most active policy issues being discussed at the intersection of trade and sustainable development.
Global Subsidies Initiative
A program designed to put the spotlight on subsidies and the corrosive effects they can have on environmental quality, economic development, and governance.
IISD at the WTO Public Forum 2022
IISD will be taking part in various sessions at the WTO’s Public Forum, an annual event that brings together the international trade community to discuss new and emerging trends, including how trade and trade policy can enable a sustainable, inclusive recovery.
IISD at Geneva Trade Week 2022
IISD is participating in the 2022 edition of Geneva Trade Week, which will take place in person and online from September 26-30, 2022.
Greening Aid for Trade: Future priorities and pathways for a just transition to sustainable trade
This event aimed to create strategies to facilitate Aid for Trade and cooperation on environmental issues as a key pillar of sustainable trade to advance a green and inclusive global economy.
The WTO Fisheries Subsidies Agreement: What was agreed and what happens next?
This webinar brought together experts to discuss the rules and prohibitions of the new WTO fisheries subsidies agreement.
Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy
Senior Director, Energy
Senior Manager, Communications & Engagement
Senior Policy Advisor
Policy Analyst, Trade and Agriculture
Lead, Public Procurement and Sustainable Infrastructure Policy and Coordinator of the NBI Global Resource Centre
Policy Advisor, Fisheries Subsidies
Senior Policy Advisor, Tracking Progress
Lead II, Sustainability Standards
Lead, Sustainable Trade and Fisheries Subsidies
Senior Director, Tracking Progress
Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine: Global trade implications after 7 months of war
Olesia Kryvetska discusses rising commodity and energy prices, the food security crisis and supply chain disruptions as the main implications since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
World Bank’s Mari Pangestu: Time to walk the walk on mainstreaming gender in decision making
Jennifer Freedman interviews Mari Pangestu, managing director of development policy of the World Bank, to discuss gender mainstreaming in policy decisions.
The Role of Technology Sanctions in Crippling Russia’s War Machine
Iryna Bogdanova examines the role of technology sanctions and their effectiveness on Russia in the Russia-Ukraine war.
How to Recalibrate Trade Adjustment Assistance to Help Workers Hurt by Trade Liberalization
Andreas Oeschger discusses how the Trade Adjustment Assistance program could be improved to help those worse off from trade and create more sustainable trade liberalization.
The Road to a Treaty on (Marine) Plastic Pollution
Tallash Kantai discusses the adoption of Resolution 5/14 by the United Nations Environment Assembly and explores how to ensure a fair treaty to end plastic pollution.
World Trade Organization Talks on Agricultural Subsidies Should Consider Trade-Offs Among Trade, Food Security, and the Environment
Facundo Calvo, agricultural policy analyst for IISD, discusses the WTO’s approach to agricultural subsidies from a trade, food security, and an environmental perspective.
Can China Contribute to Climate Action in Latin America?
Sisi Tang discusses three climate action initiatives between China and Latin America: a crediting mechanism for clean energy, debt-for-climate swaps, and a greener free trade agreement.
Investment Law & Policy
How can we ensure developing countries attract the sort of investment that promotes sustainable development?
Fossil fuel subsidies make little sense in a world shifting to low-carbon sources of energy to tackle climate change.
Standards and Value Chains
Voluntary sustainability standards contribute to biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, and gender equality.
Governance and Multilateral Agreements
The frameworks that govern economies and our ecosystems touch every aspect of our lives—and have implications for sustainable, inclusive development.
Food and Agriculture
Agriculture is on the front lines of nearly all urgent global challenges, from hunger to climate change to rising inequality.
In a circular economy, products are designed, produced, and used to reduce waste and regenerate natural systems.