Incorporating environment into FTAs

IEMA is part of a Defra stakeholder group looking at environmental aspects of the UK’s future partnership with the EU and free trade agreements (FTAs) with the rest of the world. 

We are feeding the following issues into the process:

  • Trade/cooperation agreements need to be underpinned by environmental protection and sustainable development. This is the basis on which UK’s existing international trade is conducted through EU FTAs.
  • The principles of non-regression and continual improvement of environmental outcomes should be included in future FTAs.
  • Europe uses the CEN one-standard model. CEN standards are the basis on which many single-market standards operate, and are sometimes used in lieu of, or in support of, EU regulation. BSI has confirmed it will remain a member of CEN. This will be a challenge when it comes to deciding on EU vs US approaches.
  • The UK should look to leverage its environmental services/technologies into agreements, particularly given our leadership position in this area.
  • Key environment/trade protections for certain issues need to be covered, including illegal timber/deforestation, conflict minerals, and trade of endangered wildlife. 
  • The government should explore how Article 6 of the Paris Agreement can be leveraged through FTAs. 
  • Trade agreements should be used to reinforce compliance with environmental agreements.
  • Trade agreements that don’t do environment well invariably get gridlocked – a useful reminder to other government departments.


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