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
Confronting the Plastic Pollution Pandemic
Countries should carefully weigh the advantages and drawbacks of a proposed new global treaty on plastic pollution.
WTO Agriculture Talks: Prospects for progress on SDG 2
This policy brief describes the state of play in agriculture negotiations at the World Trade Organization, including the positions of key members and negotiating coalitions, and looks at possible options for supporting progress on Sustainable Development Goal 2.
Can the WTO Tackle Fossil Fuel Subsidies Effectively? Yes, but something needs to change
As countries across the globe develop recovery packages to cope with the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we're seeing a unique opportunity to steer public finance away from fossil fuels and toward the clean energy transition.
Shifting trends in global trade
COVID-19 is the latest force for change in global trade. Here, we examine trends fuelled by the pandemic – shorter supply chains, heightened customer and political demands, and deglobalising.
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.
You might also be interested in
Investment Law & Policy
How can we ensure developing countries attract the sort of investment that promotes sustainable development?
Government purchasing power should be leveraged towards buying the most sustainable goods, services, and works.
We work to identify wasteful practices, encourage new thinking, engage civil society, and support policy reform.