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.
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).
World Leaders Must Play Their Part in Rethinking Trade to Help Us “Build Back Better”
While the question of who will lead the WTO is important, political leaders must also renew their commitment to working together.
The USMCA Is Now In Force. How Will it Impact North American Trade Policy?
The new accord governs a multi-trillion dollar market and is expected to face heavy scrutiny within the three countries, especially during a U.S. election year.
The U.K.’s Global Tariff: A new broom sweeps green?
In liberalizing the trade of dozens of environmental goods, the U.K. signals its commitment to tackling climate change. But is this enough?
How Can a Six-Digit Trade Code Help the Environment?
Every single thing that gets shipped from one country to another has a special trade code assigned to it. How can this help the environment?
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.
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