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The treatment of agriculture in Regional Trade Agreements












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    Book (stand-alone)
    Ag-ERPs database: a novel repository of environment-related provisions for agriculture, fisheries and forestry in regional trade agreements 2024
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    The relationship between trade and the environment is intricate. Trade can improve the allocation of production among countries, with an efficiency-enhancing role in natural resources use. Likewise, open markets can improve access to new technologies that make domestic production processes more cost-efficient and reduce the use of inputs as well as other environmentally harmful substances. However, economic growth due to trade expansion can have a direct impact on the environment by increasing pollution and contributing to natural resource degradation. Trade liberalization may also lead to specialization in pollution-intensive activities in some countries, especially when environmental policies are not stringent. In recent years, there has been a significant shift in how trade policies are being approached, with a renewed emphasis on balancing sustainable development and market liberalization to ensure that trade policies and environmental protection are coherent and mutually supportive. Since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, regional trade agreements (RTAs) have become a common option to further liberalize trade, growing significantly in number. RTAs have also expanded rapidly in terms of regulatory coverage and have evolved to directly referencing sustainable development and including provisions linking the environment to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. Based on novel dataset, this research looks into the trends in inclusion of environmental provisions related to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors (“Ag-ERPs”) in RTAs and provides policy recommendations.
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    Policy brief
    Trends in inclusion of environmental related provisions linked to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in regional trade agreements 2023
    Agriculture, fisheries and forestry are closely linked to the environment and depend on it for their long-term productivity and sustainability. However, if not properly managed, these three sectors can have a negative impact on the environment. Agricultural trade can also have an impact on the environment, and in recent years there has been a renewed focus on how to balance sustainable development and trade liberalization. Since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO), regional trade agreements (RTAs) have become a common option to liberalize trade and have grown significantly. RTAs have also expanded rapidly in terms of regulatory coverage, making direct reference to sustainable development and including provisions linking the environment to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. While the trend in the inclusion of environmental provisions related to agriculture, fisheries and forestry (or " Ag-ERPs") in RTAs has fluctuated somewhat since 1995, the average number of such provisions per agreement has increased steadily. This policy brief discusses the relationship between the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, trade and the environment; presents the relevance of environment-related provisions in RTAs; assesses the evolution of Ag-ERPs in RTAs since 1995; shows the role of Ag-ERPs in mitigating the environmental impacts of trade-induced production growth; and introduces the discussion on whether the inclusion of Ag-ERPs in RTAs is the appropriate means to improve and extend the reach of different environmental practices globally.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Course: Agriculture in International Trade Agreements 2017
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    This course informs the treatment of agriculture in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and regional trade agreements (RTAs) and aims to support policy makers to develop and implement appropriate agricultural development and food security strategies.

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