Markets and Trade

No. 54 Trends in inclusion of environmental related provisions linked to the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in regional trade agreements

Year of publication2023
AbstractAgriculture, 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.
Available inEnglish
Product typeJournal; magazine; bulletin
SeriesTrade Policy Briefs
ISSNagricultural sector trade policies trade agreements environmental impact sustainable development
Areas of workTrade Policy and Partnerships
Keywordsagricultural sector; trade policies; trade agreements; environmental impact; sustainable development