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Industrial Policy

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Our experts help governments decide when it makes sense to employ sustainable industrial policy and what tools to use in pursuing it. 

Governments are increasingly seeing the green economy as a driver of future economic growth, as well as a contributor to urgent environmental objectives such as combating climate change. As such, many of them are using or considering various types of industrial policies, employing subsidies, tax policies, export promotion and other measures to build up competitive domestic low-carbon sectors. IISD is keenly interested in three questions:

  • Is it possible to do this sort of industrial policy well, and if so in what circumstances? What is best practice?

  • What are the global (environmental) benefits and the global costs (in terms of trade and investment diverted from trading partners)?

  • What are the implications for trade law and policy, particularly in the areas of subsidies and intellectual property rights?

The constraints faced by governments are both economic (what sectors are ripe; what are tools effective?) and legal (what are the challenges imposed on governments by international trade and investment law?). IISD's analysis includes in-country work that focuses on the unique and common challenges faced by particular policy-makers, and by more cross-cutting work that tries to find general themes of value to those policy-makers from across a number of countries and research efforts.

  • Paper
    Green Industrial Policy and the World Trading System

    Green Industrial Policy and the World Trading System

    Drawing on the extensive industrial policy literature, this paper highlights some of the key lessons for policy makers considering adopting green...

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  • Paper
    Industrial Policy for a Green Economy

    Industrial Policy for a Green Economy

    This report draws from the long history of industrial policy to highlight lessons for governments looking to promote infant green industries

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  • Paper
    Crude Accounting for the Gulf of Mexico Inc.

    Crude Accounting for the Gulf of Mexico Inc.

    The need for consistent, decisive ecological accounting principles has been argued in professional circles for some time, but is perhaps never...

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