International Trade Working Paper

The International Trade Working Paper series promptly documents and disseminates reviews, analytical work and think-pieces to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to stimulate debates and discussions on issues that are of interest to developing countries in general and Commonwealth members in particular. The issues considered in the papers may be evolving in nature, leading to further work and refinement at a later stage.


Tracking Sustainability in Free Trade Agreements

Issues of Interest for the Commonwealth

The scale of the challenge posed by the recent universal adoption of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to the achievement of economic, social and environmental objectives is formidable. In order to achieve the trade-related targets included in the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, understanding the trade policy levers with the most potential to advance them remains critical for policy makers. This includes at the bilateral as well as regional level. In this paper, the inclusion of criteria related to sustainable development within free trade agreements (FTAs) is critically reviewed. Through this analysis, the demand for greater coherence amongst levels of trade policy becomes obvious in order to more effectively promote the 2030 Agenda. Finally, impact assessments and review mechanisms will also need to be bolstered.


Keywords: impact assessments, public policy, Sustainable Development Goals, 2030 Agenda, free trade agreements (FTAs)
JEL: F18: International Economics / Trade / Trade and Environment; F02: International Economics / General / International Economic Order and Integration; F13: International Economics / Trade / Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations; H23: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies; Q22: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Renewable Resources and Conservation / Renewable Resources and Conservation: Fishery; Aquaculture
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