Trade Measures in Multilateral Environmental Agreements and WTO Rules: Potential for Conflict, Scope for Reconciliation

Aussenwirtschaft, Vol. 55, No. 3, pp. 1-24, September 2000

31 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2000 Last revised: 10 Dec 2010

See all articles by Eric Neumayer

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: December 7, 2010

Abstract

Trade measures play several important functions in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). However, because they restrict the free flow of goods between countries, these measures also potentially conflict with trade rules contained in the WTO Agreements. This paper demonstrates how the most important MEAs employ trade measures to further their objectives and how this might clash with WTO rules. It is shown that a potential for conflict clearly exists even though no country has ever challenged a measure purportedly undertaken in pursuance of a MEA before the WTO. Several policy options for reconciliation are examined and an amendment of GATT rules to introduce a MEA savings clause, possibly combined with a certification of specific measures by MEA secretariats, is found to be the preferred option.

Keywords: multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), trade measures, savings clause, GATT, WTO

JEL Classification: F13, Q20, Q30

Suggested Citation

Neumayer, Eric, Trade Measures in Multilateral Environmental Agreements and WTO Rules: Potential for Conflict, Scope for Reconciliation (December 7, 2010). Aussenwirtschaft, Vol. 55, No. 3, pp. 1-24, September 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=248528

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

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