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Trade and environmental protection within the World Trade Organization framework Zhu, Yun

Abstract

The issue of tensions between market access and environmental protection is relatively new focus in the domain of international trade. This article suggests solutions to this conflict within the WTO framework so that while pursuing the goals of free trade and promoting development of economy the objective of 'sustainable development' can be achieved at the same time. This article includes an introduction, the main body (three chapters) and conclusion. j The Introduction starts by describing the development of the regimes of market access and environmental protection; it goes on to analyze the causes of the tension between the two and finally emphasizes the importance of resolving this tension within the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework. Chapter One elaborates on the existing principles, regulations and exception in the WTO framework and states that these regulations cannot live up to expectations of the developed countries and environmentalists. The conclusion is that it is impractical for the developing countries to avoid this issue. Chapter Two starts with an inquiry into the crux of tensions between free trade and environmental protection. It goes on to enlist different proposals by academic scholars and compare these principles' application in European Community Treaty (EC) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), hoping to resolve the tensions between market access and environmental protection. Chapter Three summarizes academic proposals and experiences of EC and NAFTA and discusses possible practical resolutions within WTO including both short-term measures and long-term ones. This chapter concludes by suggesting possible courses of action for China that could allow it to sustain the 'green challenge.' The Conclusion discusses the objectivity and unavoidability of the tensions between the free trade and the environment protection and reinforces the importance of resolving the problem within the WTO framework as well as the necessity of amending related regulations and harmonizing environmental standards of the WTO members.

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