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WEF Working Group Releases White Paper on Intersection of Climate Change and Trade Policies
Date: 12/8/2010
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Washington, DC – The World Economic Forum (WEF) Trade and Climate Change working group, of which National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) President Bill Reinsch is a member, today released a discussion paper at the climate talks in Cancun on the linkages between international trade law and national and international action on climate change. The paper, titled From Collision to Vision: Climate Change and World Trade, includes recommendations for how countries can work together to develop a comprehensive climate change treaty that achieves key environmental goals, and is in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. As a member of the working group, the NFTC provided input on the collaborative paper to reflect the views of its member companies. NFTC Vice President for Global Trade Issues Jake Colvin participated in today’s press conference rollout of the paper.

“As the international conversation on addressing climate change continues to evolve, it is critical for world leaders to recognize the intersection between policies to mitigate the impacts of climate change and the rules-based world trading system,” said NFTC President Bill Reinsch. “What this paper aims to point out is that reaching an international agreement on climate change that is both ambitious in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the environment, while at the same time recognizing the rules-based international framework, is achievable.”

The paper includes the following recommendations:

1. As with other aspects of climate change, the ideal solution for preventing a collision between trade and climate change is the early conclusion of an effective and comprehensive global climate change treaty.

2. If there is no early conclusion of an effective and comprehensive global climate treaty on climate change, national efforts to confront climate change are likely to proliferate. These efforts must not include protectionist provisions, as resort to protectionism would lead to mutually destructive conflicts over trade.

3. In the working group’s strong view, the members of the WTO should begin immediately to negotiate agreements to resolve the issues likely to arise from the enactment of national measures on climate change rather than leave those issues to eventual resolution in WTO dispute settlement.

4. WTO rules should not be viewed solely as constraints on efforts to address climate change. WTO rules can and should be used affirmatively to help fight climate change.

5. The WTO can be a model for how the world structures the international effort to address climate change and move towards the needed conclusion of global agreement on a comprehensive climate treaty.”

To read the full discussion paper, please click here.
The NFTC is participating in a number of different events at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16) in Cancun. Tomorrow Jake Colvin will moderate a discussion on “Encouraging Clean Technology: The Role of the Global Trading System in Facilitating Cross-Border Innovation, Collaboration and Technology Adoption.” Colvin was also a panelist during a discussion held yesterday on carbon-based border tax adjustments.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Cummings at

About NFTC
Advancing Global Commerce for Over 95 Years - The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.
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