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
Fit for Purpose? Toward trade rules that support fossil fuel subsidy reform and the clean energy transition
How can the World Trade Organization (WTO) better support fossil fuel subsidy reform?
IISD Trade and Sustainability Review, Volume 1, Issue 1, November 2020
This inaugural edition of IISD's Trade and Sustainability Review features analytical pieces and commentaries on a series of topics at the forefront of the trade and sustainability discussion, from subsidy reform efforts at the World Trade Organization to the impact of COVID-19 on export markets.
25 Reasons Why the WTO Must End Subsidies That Drive Overfishing
WTO members are negotiating an agreement to end harmful fisheries subsidies. We have 25 reasons why they must reel in a deal this year, for people and planet.
Fight hunger and malnutrition by rebuilding trust in trade and markets
Global progress tackling malnutrition is going backwards, with poverty and economic downturns jeopardizing prospects for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
Global Market Report: Soybeans
This report examines how voluntary sustainability standards can play a valuable role in addressing some of the social and environmental problems involved in soybean production.
Following week of trade discussions, 4 takeaways for LDCs
As 2020 continues its turmoil, the global trade community is continuing to try and adapt, along with everyone else. With the cancellation of the WTO's annual Public Forum, Geneva Trade Week came to fill in the gap.
Preparing for the Next Chapter in Trade and Sustainable Development
Sustainable development policy has come a long way in 25 years, but we should not become complacent.
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