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date: 22 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines two ways international trade is linked to the natural environment in the literatures on both trade and environment. The first literature addresses whether trade in general is good or bad for the environment. Evidence on this question is mixed. The second looks more specifically at the relationship between international trade institutions and environmental regulation. This is the terrain onto which much of the politics of the relationship between trade and environment has been mapped. This relationship is examined in relation to the fear that international trade rules will undermine use of trade sanctions to enforce multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). This chapter also looks at the politics of current negotiations over the trade and environment relationship, in which there is little movement because of a structural bias toward the status quo and because of North-South tensions in the trade and environment realms.

Keywords: trade, environment, natural environment, multilateral environmental agreements

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