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Sustainable Trade in a Transatlantic Perspective

February 24, 2020

Bern Lange, Chair of the European Parliament's International Trade Committee, Standing rapporteur for EU - US trade relations
Moderated by Daniel S. Hamilton moderated the event and provided introductory remarks

The school's Foreign Policy Institute hosted a discussion on European trade relations and potential common ground on linking trade to labour and environmental standards.
 
In light of the newly launched European “Green new deal” and a carbon border adjustment mechanism as well as the United states, Mexico and Canada Agreement (USMCA) for a ratification on the trade and labour nexus, Lange stressed that the discussion should not be about whether or not trade and sustainability are compatible but how to make sustainable development an integrated part of trade policy, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  
 
From modernizing the WTO’s rules and measures, to monitoring trade deals so that sustainable objectives and commitments are implemented, to providing better solutions on how to enforce sustainable requirement obligations in trade agreements and on requiring greater due diligence obligations of companies on the whole supply chain, Lange highlighted the need of a greater coordinated approach between the US and the EU. On achieving a low carbon economy and the role of trade policy within this transition project, Lange reflected, further afield, on green subsidies for the transposition of the production proception process, domestic standards on efficiency and reduction of the CO2, tariffs reflecting CO2 and the efficiency of energy productions, the reduction of CO2 emissions related to transport and the question of border adjustment measures.
 
The discussion concluded with comments from David Klieman, DAAD Post-Doctoral Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS who explained the difficulty in fitting the new Green Deal within the EU’s legal system and the WTO’s legal order, and Matt Porterfield, Deputy Director and Adjunct Professor at the Harrison Institute for Public Law, Georgetown University Law Center, who offered some observations on the carbon pricing and on current carbon tax proposals introduced in Congress.

Discussion with European Parliament trade official Bernd Lange on sustainability and international efforts to support climate positive trade.