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Trade deals should enforce environmental protections as much as commercial clauses – study

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.

Published on October 24, 2017 - 00:01

EU wants environmental guarantees from the UK

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.

Published on May 2, 2018 - 13:46

T&E's position on a Multilateral Investment Court

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.

Published on April 25, 2018 - 17:21

Creating Versailles out of a landfill: after landmark case, what is the fate of the multilateral investment court?

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.

Published on April 23, 2018 - 17:44

Carbon border tax would level the playing field for companies in countries taking climate action – report

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.

Published on November 10, 2017 - 10:22

Can trade and investment policy support ambitious climate action?

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.

Published on November 10, 2017 - 10:18

Enforcing environmental rules in trade deals ‘as important as commercial rules’

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.

Published on October 30, 2017 - 19:58

Trade and sustainable development – a chance for innovative thinking

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.

Published on October 20, 2017 - 14:18

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