Training on Environment Provisions in International Trade Agreements

The Project at A Glance

Trade agreement negotiations have become increasingly complex in the last decades with the addition of new emerging issues, such as the promotion of labour standards, environmental protection, human rights and public health, gender equality and Indigenous People, amongst many other issues.

Considering Ecuador is highly exposed to the effects of climate change, International Economics (IEC) is supporting the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries of Ecuador (MPFTIF) by conducting a capacity building for trade negotiators on environment provisions in trade agreements.

The project is being implemented under the Expert Deployment Mechanism for Trade and Development (EDM) programme, funded by Global Affairs Canada.

What We Found

Ecuador recently initiated negotiations with Canada over a potential free trade agreement and one of the areas being covered by the negotiations includes environment, a topic which will need a deeper examination of the issues and implications of scope by Ecuador. Though Ecuador has experience in integrating environment provisions in FTAs, but the Ministry of Production, Foreign Trade, Investments and Fisheries (MPFTIF) requested expert assistance to deepen the understanding of Ecuador around negotiating issues on trade and the environment and climate change and strengthen their capacity to implement the obligations of an eventual agreement related to environment and climate change provisions. International Economics’ team will support Ecuador to understand the implications of applying environment and climate change-related commitments in free trade agreements (FTAs).

Our Strategy and Impact

Our team will develop a comprehensive research paper on environment and climate change provisions in FTAs, with case studies to illustrate trends and implications of different provisions, including dispute settlement mechanisms and penalties. In terms of substance, the research paper will focus on two distinctive areas of commitments for environment and climate change provisions in trade agreements:
(i) the binding commitments, which generally are linked to obligations made by specific FTAs’ signatories in connection to several multilateral environment agreements (MEAs) and
(ii) the commitments that go beyond the minimum requirements in MEAs to promote voluntary mechanisms to enhance environmental performance, such as voluntary auditing and reporting, market-based incentives (e.g., emission trading system and carbon border adjustment mechanism), voluntary sharing of information and expertise, and public-private partnerships.

Following the finalisation of the research paper, the team will organize online workshops to discuss the findings with the MPFTIF, line ministries and other relevant stakeholders.

Our Core Solutions

The cross-cutting nature of trade is such that it requires a comprehensive, integrated, and inclusive framework. While well-designed trade policies are vital to delivering long-term benefits for economies, so is the need for effective implementation.

At International Economics Consulting, we support the public and private sectors in navigating the policy and negotiation landscape regarding international trade. This includes establishing robust monitoring and evaluation framework through sophisticated real-time dashboards and reporting systems to ensure the best outcomes. We provide advocacy services to empower delegations and negotiators to participate effectively in trade negotiations and deliberations and advocate for their countries’ interests and positions.

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