ICC launches consultation series to discuss the nexus between trade and climate

  • 3 October 2019

At this year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted the first of a new series of trade and climate change consultations with the objective of aligning trade and climate change policy.

Over the coming months, ICC will be organising a series of consultations to gather business leaders, policymakers, academic experts, and economists to discuss the nexus of international trade and climate change. These consultations will provide a platform for leaders to discuss and exchange ideas on how to align international trade and climate change policies.

The first consultation, which took place on the sidelines of this year’s UNGA, examined the feasibility and advisability of a WTO climate waiver. Jim Bacchus, author of The Willing World: Shaping and Sharing a Sustainable Global Prosperity and chairman of the ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy, presented the case for a WTO climate waiver, as well as the necessary steps to put such a waiver in place.

In his presentation, Mr Bacchus introduced the potential WTO climate waiver as a mechanism that could advance global climate action with the least amount of distruption to trade. Mr Bacchus’s presentation echoed the findings of ICC’s commissioned report – Climate Change and Trade Agreements: Friends or Foes? – which concluded that a climate waiver could be an option to permit countries to impose trade-restrictive climate policy measures to build a level playing field that aligned with Paris Agreement obligations. Upon completing his presentation, Mr Bacchus discussed and debated his proposal with representatives from business and academia.

On the launch of the ICC Trade and Climate Change consultations, Majda Dabaghi, Director of ICC’s Inclusive and Green Growth Knowledge Hub, said: “In order to help catalyse progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and advancing international trade, there is a need to align trade and climate change policy. ”

“The series of consultations will provide a forum for different perspectives to engage in constructive dialogues with the ultimate goal of identifying solutions that make trade work for people and planet,” she said.

The next ICC trade and Climate Consultation is set for 29th October, 2019 in Paris to explore carbon clubs as another means to align trade and climate change. The consultation will be led by Genevieve Pons, Brussels Director at the Jacques Delors Institute. The third consultation will likely take place in Paris later this autumn on border adjustment taxes, while the fourth and final consultation will take place during COP 25 in Santigo, Chile, on carbon pricing.

During UNGA, ICC was also recognised at the launch of an initiative led by New Zealand to align trade, climate, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As part of her opening remarks, the Prime Miniser of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, recognised ICC’s contributions to the alignment of trade and climate change policies.

Finally, ICC has been working hand in hand with the governments of Canada and France to organise a series of roundtables examining the relationship between trade and climate change. ICC, Canada and France are co-hosting a session on trade and climate change as part of the WTO Public Forum on 10th October. This is the third session in the roundtable series with the intention of reporting the group’s findings at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference taking place in June 2020.