TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT

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“My central message is that we detect an increasing interest from our members to discuss the environmental implications of plastic trade and plastic waste,” DDG Paugam said at the event organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; the UN Environment Programme; the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs, and the Government of Ecuador titled “How can cooperation on trade contribute to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) process on plastic pollution?”

“The subject is not fully new — we have discussions of it as early as 1995 in the Committee on Trade and Environment — but it is really intensifying over the last years,” DDG Paugam said, noting that the Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP) involving several WTO members has helped boost discussions and that members have increasingly used trade policies to address plastic pollution. The WTO's Environmental Database, for example, points to 130 trade measures to address plastic pollution in 2009 to 2019, two thirds of which were notified to the WTO in the last four years.

Members, through their discussions, have also enhanced the understanding of the types of interventions that can be considered to support the transition to a more sustainable plastics economy, notably as the concern is shared by developed, developing, and least-developed countries (LDCs) alike, DDG Paugam said.

Members at the WTO's 12th Ministerial Conference in November will have  another opportunity to deepen discussions on plastics trade, and coherence and complementarity with various international plastic initiatives, he noted.  

 His full speech is available here.

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