Trade matters. It has the potential to advance sustainable, low-carbon development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement climate commitments present fundamental challenges to trade policy; so too do growing protectionism and the fraying of multilateralism.
IISD has been working on international trade for over two decades. Our work mirrors the scientific, economic, fiscal, legal and environmental aspects of trade. IISD focuses on reforms to the World Trade Organization and other trade agreements (including the North American Free Trade Agreement); options for new industrial policies functioning within a rules-based system; and whether trade can accelerate renewable energy and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. IISD examines trade-related issues ranging from global food security and other commitments set out in the SDGs, to innovative financing for sustainable infrastructure, carbon-border adjustment measures and the role of big data.
IISD works with developing countries and others on international investment treaties. It also addresses trade issues through its flagship Investment Treaty News, Global Subsidies Initiative and the SDG Knowledge Hub.
Trade Can be a Driver of Climate Action
CETA, the landmark trade agreement between the EU and Canada, holds established best practices for trade-accelerated climate action, Bernice Lee and Scott Vaughan argue as the business, civil society and policy communities gather in Brussels to consider how to merge trade and climate action.Read More
Should Farmers Who Follow Sustainable Practices Be Rewarded?
Meeting sustainability standards can have valuable benefits for smallholder farmers, but what happens when the product fails to sell?Read More
What Do Bears and Smartphones Have in Common?
The challenge that electronics hibernation poses to the circular economy.Read More
Trade Wars Turning Into Investment Wars: Will sustainable development suffer?
While the U.S.–China trade war rages on and captures headlines, a U.S.–China investment war is emerging. Will sustainable development be the ultimate loser?Read More
WTO Survival Uncertain as Ministers Meet in Canada
The WTO faces its most critical test—a reaction to the October 2018 Joint Communiqué as international trade evolves faster than the WTO can move.Read More
Developing and Negotiating Based on a Model Investment Treaty
This background paper provides insights into the third session of IISD's Webinar Series on Investment Law and Policy, focused on developing and negotiating based on a model investment treaty.Read More
USMCA Versus NAFTA on the Environment
The old NAFTA set the bar in linking trade and environment. How does its successor compare?Read More
USMCA Curbs How Much Investors Can Sue Countries—Sort of
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) put the famous investor–state dispute settlement mechanism on the map. Now its rebirth as the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) is taking it off again—at least between the United States and Canada.Read More
NAFTA Agriculture Clash Distracts From More Important Conversation: Sustainability
Following the NAFTA negotiations has been like riding a roller coaster, holding your breath because you don’t know what shock might be coming...Read More
A Progressive Investment Agenda for Canada: Going beyond nice words
The Government of Canada has made the notion of a “progressive and inclusive” trade and investment agenda the linchpin of its trade policy development—but the government will have to go beyond nice words to ensure that investment policy can achieve sustainable development.Read More