Multilateral Trade Arrangements and Climate Provisions

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Strengthening Standards in Sectoral Agreements

This new paper from the CSIS Scholl Chair in International Business assesses sectoral standards bodies, evaluates environmental provisions in trade agreements, and explores opportunities for addressing climate concerns in newer trade arrangements, such as the recent announcement to negotiate a deal on green steel and aluminum between the European Union and the United States. As this paper seeks to demonstrate, binding agreements with clear enforcement mechanisms are best suited for ensuring that parties meet their climate change obligations as outlined in various bilateral or multilateral agreements. Since concluding agreements that are both binding and have clear enforcement capabilities are not always possible or politically desirable, pursuing a mixed approach—one based on best practices from a diverse set of trade architectures—may be the most viable approach that produces the most tangible outcomes. This paper evaluates climate provisions in trade architectures and makes recommendations for including climate provisions, including sectoral standards, in trade arrangements in a way that encourages increased multilateral collaboration in a WTO-compliant manner. 

This report was made possible by support from the Hewlett Foundation.



Emily Benson
Director, Project on Trade and Technology and Senior Fellow, Scholl Chair in International Business

Sparsha Janardhan

Intern, Scholl Chair in International Business