International trade and environmental protection are both fundamental elements for sustainable economic growth at a global scale. In parallel to multilateral efforts negotiated through the World Trade Organization (WTO), regional trade agreements (RTAs) have emerged significantly over the past decade reaching up to 625 agreements worldwide as of February 2016. These RTAs increasingly include environmental provisions that encourage membership countries and economies to strengthen their environmental policies, and provide significant opportunities to further ensure the mutual supportiveness of trade and environmental policies.
Since 2007, the OECD, under its Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment (JWPTE), has been investigating trends in environmental provisions in RTAs and their impacts on the environment. Under its work programme on trade and environment, the JWPTE has developed and released several publications on the “environment and RTAs” to deepen knowledge in this emerging area.
There is considerable interest now on how RTAs could pursue environmental and sustainable development throughout the agreements — e.g., in chapters such as investment, market access, government procurement — and not only via language contained in environmental chapters or side agreements. To date, however, there has been limited research into possibilities in this area.
This new and emerging issue of “greening RTAs” beyond environmental and sustainable development chapters were the core focus of this workshop. This event provided new opportunities to draw experiences and insights together from the global community to establish the current state of knowledge on greening RTAs and to provide prospects for future negotiations.
The focus of the workshop will be on chapters of RTAs that are concerned mainly with issues other than the environment, such as market access, investment, or government procurement, TBT, regulatory coherence or dispute settlement. It can also highlight crosscutting issues such as subsidies, implementation, capacity building and follow-up commitments.
Session 1 : GREENING RTAS - REALISING THE POTENTIAL BEYOND ENVIRONMENT CHAPTERS
Session 2: CURRENT STATE OF PLAY - INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE ON GREENING RTAS
Session 3: GREENING RTAS - ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION AND NEXT STEPS
This workshop was organised by the OECD under the auspices of the Joint Working Party on Trade and Environment (JWPTE), with the kind support of the European Union.
The workshop was a multi-stakeholder event that brings together experts in the field of trade and environment from OECD and invited partner governments, international organisations, and academia. Participation was by invitation only.