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
Policy Advisor, Fisheries Subsidies
Writer, Earth Negotiations Bulletin
Lead, Sustainability Standards
Soledad Leal Campos
Lead, Sustainable Trade
Director, Agriculture, Trade & Investment
Lead, Sustainable Trade and Fisheries Subsidies
Senior Director, Tracking Progress
Senior Law Advisor
Gender Provisions in Trade: Opportunities for few or protection for many?
As gender-related provisions in trade agreements develop, we take stock and ask how well-suited they are to achieving gender equality objectives.
WTO Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies Update: What's the state of play?
This update provides an overview of the key questions that WTO Members will need to answer in the final phase of negotiations on fisheries subsidies.
New World Trade Organization Fisheries Subsidies Text: It’s a balancing act
On May 11, 2021 the Chair of the WTO negotiations on fisheries subsidies released a new draft text for the agreement. This commentary explains how the text attempts to strike a balance on key questions in the design of new rules for support to fishing around the world.
Carbon and Controversy: Why we need global cooperation on BCAs
Ambitious climate action and concerns about economic competitiveness and fair burden sharing require a collaborative discussion, not trade wars.
Fear of climate change rust belt has governments considering carbon border levy
If you thought Canada's domestic carbon tax was controversial, just wait for its new global equivalent now being negotiated behind closed doors, say Canadians who have been following its progress.
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.
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