Trade and the Environment: Competition, Cooperation or Confusion

  • Donald McRae


The intersection of international trade law and environmental sustainability has been subject to much scrutiny, both in the media and in internationally constituted bodies. Views on the impact of trade on the environment range from one of mutual benefit to an assertion of real threat. The author assesses the bases upon which criticism of the WTO is commonly levelled, and provides a reasoned analysis of the nature of the trade and environment debate. In addressing this question, the author examines the purview of the WTO pertaining to trade law, and delineates to what extent environmental protection encroaches upon international trade obligations. To this end, the author considers the means by which conflicts between trade and the environment have been reconciled, and draws attention to issues that obstruct resolution. Lastly, concerns central to the trade and environmental regulatory schemes themselves are raised. The author concludes that the long term viability of international trade equally benefiting the developed and developing world is dependent upon corresponding environmental regulation.
How to Cite
McRae, D. (1). Trade and the Environment: Competition, Cooperation or Confusion. Alberta Law Review, 41(3), 745.