WTO’s response to the Trade-Environment Nexus

By Aakanksha Mishra, Gujarat National Law University,  Gandhinagar.

The World Trade Organization was fashioned by the international order to promote free trade: to remove barriers between countries, to allow them to concentrate on products with a comparative advantage, leading to maximum international productivity. This, however, often challenges rules protecting the environment.  Even though the WTO has shown an increasingly open approach towards environmental issues, free trade is still the organisation’s backbone and trade liberalisation its main goal. International environmental law, on the other hand, provides the global institutional means for engaging in the global ecological challenges. It comprises of a loose affiliation of treaties, principles and customs and is a complex system of law which is still evolving and is further exacerbated by a dizzying array of stakeholders. There is considerable tension between the environmental goals and the rapid growth in international trade that places pressure on the earth’s ecosystems. (more…)