International agreements have a great effect on the international market prospects for certain products. So far, only one study has addressed these impacts on producers (Iqbal, 1995). Key conventions are described below.
General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). This series of agreements aims to deregulate international trade by reducing tariffs and encouraging multilateral negotiation of trade issues. It paved the way for establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 as a more powerful organization for resolving disputes. WTO aims to provide intellectual property rights (patents, trade secrets, trademarks, etc.), and measures for enforcing these rights (see Chapter 10).
In 1987, the Brundtland Commission called for reform of GATT for greater environmental equity and sound management, noting that the goal of unregulated international trade conflicts with national policies that would account for environmental costs of resource degradation. Some claim that "a country that internalizes environmental costs into its prices will be at a disadvantage, at least in the short term, in unregulated trade" with countries that do not (Daly and Goodland, 1994). This argues, for instance, in favour of applying import tariffs on products from countries that would price their forest resources low, in order to be capable of facing external competition.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Ratified by more than 111 nations, CITES establishes lists of endangered species for which international trade is either prohibited or strictly regulated. Examples of NWFPs which are restricted are ivory and rhino horn. Placing a species in the most restrictive categories requires approval by two-thirds of the signatories; the least restrictive categories can be made by a single signatory. Each signatory nation designates management and scientific authorities for granting and reviewing the Convention permits. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) hosts the CITES Secretariat. TRAFFIC International, a monitoring body of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and WWF, coordinates an international network to track wildlife trade and compliance with CITES, and produces a journal, TRAFFIC Bulletin.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Like WTO, TRIPs provides more enforceable protection for trade-related intellectual property rights. In this, it encourages developing countries to conduct more research and innovation, and helps better access to new technology, including environmental technology. An important provision permits a country to exclude an invention from patent protection if that invention's commercialization seriously endangers the environment.
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. This Convention obligates countries to protect endangered migratory species and precludes commercial trading of some 51 listed species, including antelopes, 24 bird species and 6 marine turtles.
It encourages species conservation and international action. UNEP provides the Secretariat (Braatz et al., 1992).
Use market studies as a tool to identify commercial opportunities in resource utilisation and match supply to demand. Used properly, marketing tools can improve an enterprise's potential for economic and environmental sustainability.
Develop a proper plan for marketing a product based on study of key market factors (the "Four Ps"): product, place (that is, channels of distribution and marketing), promotion and price.
Use information on markets and transport costs to assess and decide when intermediaries (middlemen) are useful. Where an intermediary is useful (for example, in helping to absorb risk or coordinating transport), producers should use market information and group organization to prevent unfair exploitation.
Use market information available from existing agricultural marketing systems. Where necessary, organize marketing information systems for local markets.
International marketing requires more specialized information which is often difficult to obtain. Rural producers can reach foreign markets by joining national associations (for trade fairs, etc.) and/or green marketing ventures with international non-governmental organizations.
Obtain information on trade regulations and the trade environment (national and international), which affect commercial options in all markets. Both producers and support service staff (extension agents and others) need familiarity with these.
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