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NORWAY CO-SPONSORS WORKSHOP ON TRADE AND CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE WTO

On the 19th of June 2017, Norway together with Canada, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, and Switzerland organized a workshop on trade and climate change at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate debate and improve understanding of the relationship between trade and climate change, and to explore ways for furthering and deepening the discussion on trade and climate change in the WTO. Approximately 40 member countries were presented throughout the day.

The Director General of the WTO, Mr. Roberto Azevedo, opened the workshop. Mr. Azevedo welcomed the initiative and the interest in the important topic Mr. Azevedo underlined that environmental issues are an important and integral part of the work of the WTO, and a dialogue on trade and climate change can provide opportunities and spark innovative and environmental friendly solutions.

The workshop included presentations from key government representatives, organizations and think-tanks. Ms. Joe Tyndall, co-chair of the ad hoc - working group on the Paris Agreement, on video from New Zealand, gave a presentation of the work on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Representatives form the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC), gave presentations touching on challenges, opportunities, and avenues for further collaboration on trade and climate change related matters. The director of the trade and environment division of the WTO, Mr. Aik Hoe Lim, gave a presentation on relevant climate-related issues and the relation to the WTO rules.

The Norwegian Ambassador to the WTO and EFTA, Mr. Harald Neple, served on the panel of the closing session together with colleagues from Costa Rica and Switzerland. In his closing remarks, Ambassador Neple stressed that “we cannot avoid the trade and climate change nexus, especially in light of the international debate on inclusive trade and globalization. Climate change and how we react to it in the trade policy community will undoubtedly be a major factor in our efforts to maintain a positive public opinion towards globalization and the open multilateral trading system. There is a strong need to approach the issue in a positive manner instead of fearing or for that matter risking green protectionism.”

 

For Mr. Azevedo’s speech, please visit:

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/spra_e/spra177_e.htm