Trade and the Environment in North America

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 105-207, June 2007

Posted: 30 Dec 2007

See all articles by ZhongXiang Zhang

ZhongXiang Zhang

Tianjin University - Ma Yinchu School of Economics


Environmental assessments of trade agreements remain in its infancy, and demonstrate that trade in itself will not green our economies. This special issue has undertaken in-depth analysis of the following key trade and environmental issues/questions under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

1) Has agricultural trade liberalization led to positive or negative environmental effects? 2) Have foreign investors led to improved environmental performance, focusing on the rapidly developing electronics assembly industry? 3) Have investors used investment provision to thwart the fair application of effective and appropriate environmental protection measures? 4) Are the arbitration awards to date discouraging governments from taking environmental protection measures they would otherwise want to take?

By examining the environmental effects of trade in North America, this special issue not only contributes to deepening our understanding of the key issues in the trade and environment debate, but also helps to formulate mutually supportive trade and environmental policies to protect business interests while encouraging the governments to take effective and appropriate environmental protection measures.

Keywords: NAFTA, trade and environment linkages, environmental standards, electronic industry, agriculture, scale- technique-and-composition effects, investment, foreign investor, arbitration

JEL Classification: F14, F23, K32, O51, O54, Q17, Q38, Q48

Suggested Citation

Zhang, ZhongXiang, Trade and the Environment in North America. Available at SSRN:

ZhongXiang Zhang (Contact Author)

Tianjin University - Ma Yinchu School of Economics ( email )

92 Weijin Road, Nankai District
Tianjin 300072
+86 22 87370560 (Phone)


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