International trade and circular economy - Policy alignment
Circular economy policies and initiatives largely take place domestically, and yet
they have important interlinkages with international trade. This report explores how
to make circular economy policies and trade policies mutually supportive by mapping
out potential misalignments and identifying opportunities to align and strengthen
both policy areas. The report highlights the various interlinkages between international
trade and circular economy, and examines the interactions between trade and circular
economy at the policy level, focussing on the multilateral trade regime and regional
trade agreements, as well as specific policies to promote the circular economy, such
as extended producer responsibility and product stewardship schemes, taxes and subsidies,
green public procurement, environmental labelling schemes, and standards.
A circular economy aims to transform the current linear economy into a circular model to reduce consumption of finite material resources by recovering materials from waste streams for recycling or reuse, using products longer, and exploiting the potential of the sharing and services economy. Circular economy policies and initiatives largely take place domestically at the national or regional level. However, they have important interlinkages with international trade.
International trade plays an important role in circular supply chains in materials and products, end-of-life value chains in waste and scrap, secondary raw materials and second-hand goods. In this light, how can trade contribute to a more resource efficient and circular economy? How would the circular economy transition have an impact on global trade patterns? And in what ways can we secure coherence in these two policy areas?