Trade and environment scrutinised in Parliament

| 20th August 2019
Shipping containers at port

Shipping containers at port 

Trade can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment. MPs are calling for evidence on both for an upcoming inquiry.

“My committee’s inquiry will look at this issue in depth... to ensure that the UK takes advantage of the potential for trade policy to support positive environmental outcomes.”

MPs are to scrutinise the impact of trade policy on the environment, including in trade agreements following Brexit.

The International Trade Committee is to explore how the government can support positive environmental outcomes through trade policy, and how the negative environmental impacts of trade can be mitigated.

As part of this, the committee will examine how effectively existing free trade agreements address environmental issues, and consider how the government could implement its commitment, made in the 2017 Trade White Paper, to “the maintenance of high standards of […] environmental protection in trade agreements”.

Advantage

Committee chair and Scottish National Party MP Angus Brendan MacNeil said that producing and transporting goods for international trade could lead to environmental damage. However, increased trade could boost a country’s economic growth and access to new technologies which could be used to solve environmental problems, he said.

The committee will also consider how trade could be used to prevent climate change, an issue which had not been fully explored by policymakers, MacNeil added.

“My committee’s inquiry will look at this issue in depth, with a view to coming up with practical, implementable policy suggestions to ensure that the UK takes advantage of the potential for trade policy to support positive environmental outcomes.”

To find out more about the inquiry, and to submit evidence, click here.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76.

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