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Trade

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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.   

  • Blog
    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change:  Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Can the international trade system be a catalyst for reforming fossil fuel subsidies (FFSs) to help relieve the burden on the public purse, reduce local and global air pollution, improve energy security and tackle climate change? 

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  • Blog
    What Do Bears and Smartphones Have in Common?

    What Do Bears and Smartphones Have in Common?

    The challenge that electronics hibernation poses to the circular economy.

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  • Blog
    Trade Wars Turning Into Investment Wars: Will sustainable development suffer?

    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?

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  • Blog
    WTO Survival Uncertain as Ministers Meet in Canada

    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.

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  • Briefing Note
    Developing and Negotiating Based on a Model Investment Treaty

    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.

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  • Blog
    USMCA Versus NAFTA on the Environment

    USMCA Versus NAFTA on the Environment

    https://www.iisd.org/story/after-nafta/#text-82776The old NAFTA set the bar in linking trade and environment.  How does its successor compare?

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  • Blog
    USMCA Curbs How Much Investors Can Sue Countries—Sort of

    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.

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  • Blog
    NAFTA Agriculture Clash Distracts From More Important Conversation: Sustainability

    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...

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  • Commentary
    A Progressive Investment Agenda for Canada: Going beyond nice words

    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.

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  • Blog
    Canada's Trade Troubles Make a Perfect Opportunity

    Canada's Trade Troubles Make a Perfect Opportunity

    NAFTA uncertainty, global shakeups prompt Canadian trade to do the unthinkable: evolve.

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