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…)

Protectionism Instead of Facilitation, Indian Stand at WTO: How far justified?

By Sudipta Bhowmik, KIIT School Of Law, Bhubaneswar.

Behind the extremely technical debate within the WTO, what is at stake above all are models of agricultural development.[1] -Dr. Bruno Losch 

“Trade can be a powerful force for growth and poverty reduction. Countries that have increased the share of trade in their GDP have grown faster and reduced poverty more rapidly”[2]Nicholas Stern

INTRODUCTION

The establishment of World Trade Organization (WTO) is a drift towards globalization of world economy. Except agriculture, WTO advances its wing to every sector. Controversies and misconceptions are entangled with the issues of agriculture subsidy and trade facilitation, while developed countries like USA and EU have championed the cause of ‘free-trade’, on the other hand, developing countries like India have adhered to agricultural subsidies. India’s stand at Bali approved it again how agriculture subsidy is a burning issue for a developing country and it cannot be set aside as ‘evil’ at the cost of trade facilitation. Before WTO, eight trade negotiations were materialized by General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs(GATT) and in those rounds, developed countries steered the directions of trade and developing countries were ignored.[3] But, now the developing countries are demanding for revision of the agriculture policies taken by developed countries. (more…)