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The CTE was set up by the 1994 Marrakesh Ministerial Decision on Trade
and Environment, which essentially mandates the committee
identify the relationship between trade measures and environmental
measures in order to promote sustainable development
make appropriate recommendations on whether any modifications of the
provisions of the multilateral trading system are required, compatible
with the open, equitable and non-discriminatory nature of the system.
With its broad based mandate, the CTE has contributed to identifying and
understanding the relationship between trade measure and environmental
measures in order to promote sustainable development.
Although the CTE has not recommended any changes to the rules of the
multilateral trading system, its work has led to some trade and
environment issues migrating to negotiations as key components of the
Doha round (negotiations).
One example is fisheries (under the
Rules negotiations): this is
an area where eliminating fishery subsidies can help protect fish stock.
Other items on the original 1994 mandate have received particular focus
of focus) in the regular CTE following the 2001 Doha
The work programme back to top
The original 1994 items. Some are now being negotiated, some others are
focal issues in the regular committee:
Items 1 and 5 (now in
Trade Rules, environment agreements, and disputes
The relationship between the rules of the multilateral trading system
and the trade measures contained in multilateral environmental
agreements (MEAs), and between their dispute settlement mechanisms.
Environmental protection and the trading system
The relationship between environmental policies relevant to trade and
environmental measures with significant trade effects and the provisions
of the multilateral trading system.
Item 3 (now an
item of focus)
How taxes and other environmental requirements fit in
The relationship between the provisions of the multilateral trading
system and: (a) charges and taxes for environmental purposes; and (b)
requirements for environmental purposes relating to products, such as
standards and technical regulations, and packaging, labelling <link to
labelling pages> and recycling requirements.
Transparency of environmental trade measures
The provisions of the multilateral trading system dealing with the
transparency of trade measures used for environmental purposes. An
Environmental Database (EDB)
WT/CTE/W/46, 77, 118, 143 and 195 was established in 1998 for the
WTO Secretariat to compile and update annually all measures related to
the environment that governments have notified to the WTO or that have
been noted in trade policy reviews. This followed intensive discussions
on transparency in the CTE and the recommendation in the CTE’s 1996
Report to the Singapore Ministerial Conference.
Item 6 (item
Environment and trade liberalization
How environmental measures affect market access, especially in relation
to developing countries and least developed countries; and the
environmental benefits of removing trade restrictions and distortions.
Domestically prohibited goods
The issue of exports of domestically prohibited goods (DPGs), in
particular hazardous waste.
Intellectual property (item
The relevant provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.
The work programme envisaged in the
Decision on Trade in Services and
Item 10 (now in
The WTO and other organizations
Input to the relevant WTO bodies on appropriate arrangements for
relations with intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).