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
China's Sustainable Trade Strategy: An overview
China's emergence as a big player in world trade is a significant development in the global trade system.China introduced its trade reform policy at the end of the 1970s when China ranked 32nd among nations in global trade, due to China's "Import Substitution" strategy. Thirty years later, China…
Food Security: The Brazilian case
Chronic food insecurity remains one of the main challenges to developing countries' sustainable development and thus to the stability of global political and economic regimes and nations.Trade also plays an important role in nations' economic growth and has several links with food security.This…
Beyond Barriers: The Gender Implications of Trade Liberalization in Southern Africa
Summary:Although trade can be a catalyst for gender equality, the effects of trade liberalization and economic globalization on women, in particular, so far have been mixed. For example, while in a large number of cases, trade in general has improved women's empowerment and livelihood, in some…
Beyond Barriers: The Gender Implications of Trade Liberalization in Latin America
Summary:Empirical studies on gender impacts of trade liberalization in South American countries can be roughly divided into four groups. The first group comprises studies focused on the size and characteristics of female employment generated by non-traditional agro-export industries. The second…
Beyond Barriers: The Gender Implications of Trade Liberalization in Southeast Asia
Summary: There is little doubt that trade liberalization has had a profound effect on the well-being of women in Southeast Asia. Not all of these impacts are negative, however. Indeed, the opening up of the region's economies, at both national and regional levels, has brought about opportunities in…
Working towards mutually beneficial economic relations: Indonesia's expected challenges in pursuing an FTA with the EU
Indonesia and the European Union (EU) took a major step recently to cement their economic relationship through the signing of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The agreement, which was signed following a meeting between senior officials from both sides in Jogjakarta, on 13th and 14th…
WTO and Sustainable Development (A chapter in "The WTO and East Asian Regional Integration")
Contrary to popular opinion that suggests the trade and environment agenda is stalled, IISD's Trade and Investment Director, Mark Halle, argues in a chapter for a forthcoming WTO book that the environment is alive and well, and thriving in the WTO. Although negotiations on trade and environment may…
Environment and Trade: A Handbook - Second Edition
This handbook, a joint effort of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Environment Programme, is aimed mainly at those with some knowledge about trade, environment or development, but not expert on the intersection of the three. It is also a practical reference tool for policy-makers and practitioners.
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