Any violations of environmental protections in EU trade agreements should be subject to the same state-to-state dispute settlement as violations of the commercial clauses, a new study by sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. Currently there are practically no ways to enforce and tackle breaches of environmental and sustainability provisions in EU trade agreements, but earlier this month EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström announced that she wants to make sustainable development chapters of trade agreements more effective.
The Board of sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has today announced William Todts as its new Executive Director. He succeeds Jos Dings, who this week leaves the position after 13 years.
Europe’s chief negotiator on the UK’s exit from the EU has insisted that Britain must agree to abide by EU environmental rules if it wants access to the internal market. Speaking at a special debate organised by the Group of 10 leading Brussels-based environmental groups (G10) earlier this month, Michel Barnier said the UK must agree to a ‘non-regression clause’ being included in its post-Brexit trade agreement with the 27-member bloc.
The pressure of civil society forced the European Commission to rethink its approach on investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS), resulting in the reformed investment court system (ICS), and the current multilateral investment court (MIC). The purported added value of the MIC is to render investment protection more transparent and accountable, and put an end to the controversial ISDS. This briefing outlines T&E's position on MIC.
Countries will meet at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law this week, in the UN’s famous New York City building, to discuss modernising the mechanism that enables foreign firms to sue governments for what they perceive as unfair policy measures that can harm future profits. This is commonly known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. The European Commission’s proposal to reform this archaic system will form the core of the discussions.
EU governments should level the playing field between companies in countries taking action on climate change and those in countries that are not by levying special import fees, according to a new report on how trade policy can support climate action. A carbon border tax adjustment (CBTA) would be based on the price of carbon – in existing carbon markets such as the EU emissions trading system – and should be levied on goods and services from countries which do not put an equivalent price on carbon, the report by the Trade Justice Movement and Transport & Environment (T&E) says.
Since the 1990s, international climate agreements have largely taken a country-by-country approach to mitigating climate change. However, in recent years, the conclusion of numerous bilateral or regional trade and investment agreements has led to an exponential growth in the global flows of goods and capital across borders. This growth has translated into a significant increase in emissions that cannot be bound to a single country. Thus, actions designed to tackle climate change require a new set of tools and strategies. The following joint-report offers a set of complementary options that could be implemented to tackle climate impacts.
An enforceable set of sustainable development requirements should be written into all free trade agreements that the EU concludes. That is the recommendation from a paper by T&E which draws on research conducted two years ago when discussions on the ‘TTIP’ EU-US trade deal were at their height.
Sustainable development has become one of the EU’s essential goals and is now a guiding principle for both its internal and external policies. As part of this ambition, the European Commission includes specific chapters on Trade and Sustainable Development in all free trade agreements (FTA) that it concludes with third country partners. Due to the controversy surrounding trade in recent years (for example, TTIP and CETA), the European Commission has started to recognise that there needs to be stronger coherence between trade and development policies. This paper looks at how the Trade and Sustainable Development chapters could play a crucial role in this.
The EU should make preferential access to the single market conditional on the UK agreeing to respect EU environmental standards and climate targets after Brexit, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. The UK government must not be allowed to engage in “environmental dumping” to give Britain an edge over its EU trade partners, the NGO’s report, Putting the Environment at the Heart of Brexit, has found.