From Theory to Practice:The Second Phase of the NAFTA Environmental Regime
ENFORCING ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS: ECONOMIC MECHANISMS AS VIABLE MEANS?, pp. 451-478, R. Wolfrum ed., Springer-Verlag, 1996
30 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 1, 1996
This paper addresses the impact of the NAFTA on environmental enforcement in North America, and on the environment in North America. It starts by briefly describing the approach of the NAFTA to environmental concerns, and points to a few important questions raised by its approach. The main objective of this paper is to focus attention on a new phase of analysis of the NAFTA's environmental impact; that is, the phase of post-entry-into-force empirical analysis. Prior analysis of the NAFTA has concerned the terms of the primary legislation-the NAFTA and the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. Now that the primary legislation has been set, at least for the near to intermediate term, attention must be turned to the implementation of the primary legislation and to the collection and study of data concerning the effect in-fact of the NAFTA's implementation.
The NAFTA does not envision secondary legislation in the European Union sense of that term. There is no regional authority that may, like the European Council and Commission, adopt regulations, directives and decisions with binding effect in the NAFTA Parties. Nevertheless, the coordinating-cooperative institutions of the NAFTA must implement certain procedural rules and oversee the activities of consultative committees. National governments of the Parties have adopted and continue to adopt laws and regulations to implement the agreement. These rules are of considerable importance in the United States, where the NAFTA has been deprived of self-executing (or direct) effect.
The NAFTA and NAAEC environmental provisions are unlikely to have a significant effect on trade and investment patterns among the Parties in the literal sense of resulting in the imposition of trade restrictive measures. However, the NAFTA and NAAEC will have indirect effects on trade and investment patterns, though these effects may be difficult to isolate and identify.
Keywords: NAFTA, environmental protection, trade, investment, enforcement
JEL Classification: K15, K32, K33, O51, O52
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation