Strengthening Sustainable Development Through Preferential Trade Agreements

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April 2014
Authors: 
Rafael Leal-Arcash, Catherine M. Wilmarth
Source: 
Queen Mary University of London

This chapter in Ensuring Good Global Governance through Trade presents an analysis of sustainable development goals in the context of two mega-regional trade agreements: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). These preferential trade agreements present a more efficient vehicle by which to promote sustainable development than the multilateral trading platform. The chapter discusses sustainable development and energy within the proposed TTIP. The TTIP aims to further economic growth, investment and trade between the United States and the European Union (EU), and could potentially have a very large impact as the U.S.-EU trade and investment flows are sizeable and a critical element in global commerce. The chapter argues that the TTIP has the potential to foster sustainable development, energy efficiency, and energy security.

The chapter explores the topic of sustainable development, reporting the stated trade and TTIP-specific goals of both the United States and the EU, which generally includes the promotion of sustainable development. An examination of the three pillars of sustainable development— environmental protection, economic sustainability, and social sustainability — follows, discussing ways in which the TTIP could integrate terms ensuring protection and support of these elements. The chapter then focuses on the role that energy could play for the TTIP. It discusses support schemes and initiatives it could include to increase trade in raw materials and natural resources such as natural gas, and in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. The chapter finally examines the environment chapter of the TPP and explores how sustainable the TPP is by analyzing the various provisions of the TPP’s environment chapter.

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