The Green Trade Network

In early 2022, IEEP created the Green Trade Network, a group of experts from over 20 European research organisations working on the trade and environment nexus. You will find here information on the network's activities as well as the editorial from its latest newsletter. Don't hesitate to subscribe!

The Green Trade Network (GTN) is a group of policy experts from 20+ European research organisations, ranging from think tanks to NGOs and academia, conducting evidence-based research and outreach activities on the trade and environment nexus. GTN member organisations are based in 9 EU Member States, but also in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Switzerland. The aim of the GTN is to collectively promote a European agenda for a better alignment of trade policies and trade-impacting measures with key environmental and climate objectives.


June 2022 newsletter editorial

“Trade-Tangos”: Friend-shoring and the implications of building an assertive EU trade agenda

Dear friends and colleagues,

You are reading the second edition of the Green Trade Network’s newsletter coordinated by IEEP, gathering for you in one place information and key happenings in the green trade world.

Trade policies 2.0

On top of revamped bilateral trade discussions with Chile, Mexico and Mercosur countries, the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC) meetings took place in Paris on 16 May and highlighted the consolidation of a consensus that “environmental sustainability is one of the main purposes that trade policies “2.0” must pursue”, to quote the words of US Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The TTC also confirmed the temptation on both sides of the Atlantic, prompted by the war in Ukraine and resulting trade disruptions in certain commodities, to take steps toward a new type of “reorganised” globalisation.

Recent trade discussions have highlighted the tendency of critical actors to deepen trade relationships with and among “friends”, sharing common values and common strategic interests, and by way of consequence, to reduce dependency on trade relations with authoritarian states.

CBAM’s progressive majority in the ENVI Committee: A flash in the pan?

The EU-US Green Steel and Aluminum Arrangement is another example of the two blocs’ temptation to move forward bilaterally, even if such a strategy exacerbates trade tensions, particularly with those countries that have already expressed concerns on CBAM, and which could see this initiative as an attempt to bilaterally agree on the principles and means of industrial decarbonisation cooperation. The EU CBAM – which the GTN recommended to better integrate into the EU’s broader climate policy – is a prime example of the type of instruments compatible with trade policies 2.0. Its contours were agreed upon and voted by the ENVI Committee on 17 May – expanding on the proposal made by the Rapporteur Mohammed Chahim. This vote can be interpreted as a significant success not only for M. Chahim, but also for an emerging progressive majority in the Parliament on these issues. The plenary vote of 6-7 June will set out the European Parliament’s position on CBAM and confirm its mandate for the trilogue negotiations with the Commission and the Council, starting in Autumn 2022. Would you like a recap of the positions of EU institutions on CBAM to this stage? Here is the table you need.

Trading with friends can accelerate a necessary paradigm shift for trade policies across the globe but comprises the critical risk of creating a two-speed trade and climate diplomacy system. A considerable number of our members’ publications in April and May concentrate on those instruments and ideas which could contribute to making the EU’s trade policy both more sustainable and more assertive, such as the Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence directive, the revision of the Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters in EU FTAs, or the deforestation-free products initiative.

MC12 hopes

Gathering online and in Geneva during the week of 13 June for the 12th bi-annual Ministerial Conference (MC12), WTO members will face the complex challenge of reaching agreements on tangible and critical topics such as agricultural subsidies, export restrictions, vaccine waivers, or eliminating harmful fisheries subsidies. An agreement on the latter could be found ahead of the gathering and celebrated during the MC12.

MC12 is an opportunity to prove that aligning trade and environmental sustainability objectives is not only about sanctions and protection and that trade policies and agreements can promote positive and sustainable change. This can be achieved by creating trade bonuses for countries committed to phasing out fossil fuel or harmful fisheries subsidies, for instance, and competitive advantages for low carbon technologies, and sustainable agri-food products.


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Latest publications by the Green Trade Network

Monday, 7 March 2022
Summary for decision-makers: Four guiding principles for CBAM design and implementation

The French Presidency of the Council announced that reaching an agreement on CBAM will be one of its top priorities. As discussions have intensified both in the European Parliament and between Member States, the Green Trade Network issues this Summary for EU decision-makers highlighting four mutually reinforcing essential principles to be respected to deliver on a robust, effective and ambitious CBAM.