The OECD guides policy makers in identifying and implementing trade policies that achieve domestic objectives without creating unnecessary obstacles to international trade.
At a time of increasing integration of international economic activity there is a strong demand on governments to ensure that domestic policy objectives - often related to security considerations and consumer concerns - are fully met and are not undermined by international trade.
The rules and regulations that are introduced in response to such demands can get in the way of free flowing international trade - unless they are well designed. The OECD plays a significant role in advocating policy reform and market openness while at the same time assuring domestic audiences that their concerns are being fully addressed.
In recent decades, trade negotiations have addressed measures that restrict or distort international trade in goods. Tariffs are the more commonly known obstacle to trade flows, but OECD is also active in identifying and analysing non-tariff restrictions on the free flow of trade. These less apparent restrictions are called non-tariff measures or NTMs.
The environment and trade
There is strong interest in ensuring that international trade does not have negative impacts on the environment, whether it is through trading and transport activities or through the movement of production to areas with lower environmental standards in place. In fact, there is an increasing effort to allow trade become an engine of environmental improvement by enabling environmentally-friendly goods and technologies to move more easily across borders.
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Trade and the Environment