Harro van AsseltFrom: The Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law (2nd Edition)
Edited By: Lavanya Rajamani, Jacqueline Peel
This chapter reviews the interactions between international trade law and environmental protection. It begins by explaining how trade and environmental protection are physically interlinked, before offering an account of the evolution of the trade and environment debate. The chapter then examines the relationship between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and trade, followed by an analysis of questions that have arisen in assessing the compatibility of environmental measures with trade law. International trade law may have a ‘chilling effect’ on the adoption or effective implementation of international environmental agreements. Conversely, environmental policies employing trade restrictions can become ‘green protectionism’ and even ‘eco-imperialism’. The chapter explores two emerging developments of relevance for the trade and environment debate, including the rise of regional trade agreements and the growing importance of climate change-related disputes. It concludes with a critical assessment of the prospects for strengthening coherence between international environmental and trade law.