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 forthcoming Trade and Sustainability Review. We hold regular 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.
Executive Director, IISD Europe; Senior Director, Economic Law & Policy
Senior Director, Energy
Communications and Editorial Manager, Economic Law and Policy
Senior Policy Advisor
Senior Policy Advisor
Senior Policy Advisor
Policy Advisor, Fisheries Subsidies
Writer, Earth Negotiations Bulletin
Lead, Sustainability Standards
Soledad Leal Campos
Lead, Sustainable Trade
Director, Agriculture, Trade & Investment
Lead, Fisheries Subsidies
Senior Director, Tracking Progress
Senior Law Advisor
Options to Incorporate Circular Economy Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements
This report explores possible options to incorporate circular economy-related provisions in trade agreements based on existing precedents.
Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Key developments and update in the Informal Working Group discussions among World Trade Organization members
This report provides an update on the Informal Working Group on MSMEs' work for June–December 2020, including COVID-19's impact on MSMEs, especially those led or owned by women.
E-commerce Joint Statement Initiative Negotiations Among World Trade Organization Members: State of play and the impacts of COVID-19
This paper provides an update on the e-commerce Joint Statement Initiative negotiations among a group of WTO members, looking at developments from early 2020 onward.
The Joint Initiative on Investment Facilitation: Developments from 2020 and the road ahead to MC12
This brief provides an update on the structured discussions on investment facilitation among a WTO member group from early 2020 through February 2021.
Four Ways Sustainability Standards Can Build Farmers’ Resilience to COVID-19
We surveyed supply chain actors to ask how farmers are coping with the effects of the pandemic and whether certification has helped them adapt.
Assessing and Managing Fishing Capacity in the Context of World Trade Organization Disciplines on Fisheries Subsidies
This brief provides general background on defining and measuring fishing capacity in the context of WTO disciplines on fisheries subsidies
Coping with COVID-19: Certification supports farmer resilience
This policy brief presents findings from primary research investigating how voluntary sustainability standards can help smallholder farmers be more resilient during crises.
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