Plastic pollution has emerged as a global crisis, threatening ecosystems, human health, and the planet's overall well-being. Plastics are omnipresent in national markets and in international trade. Global exports of plastics or goods made from plastic have reached nearly $1.2 trillion in value and 369 million tonnes in 2021 and continues to grow.
This side-event, moderated by the World Economic Forum, featured representatives from organizations working on trade-related aspects of the plastics challenge, shedding light on different facets of trade measures in relation to plastic pollution. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) presented insights into plastics trade statistics and the role of plastic substitutes. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat provided an update on the current state of the WTO Dialogue on Plastic Pollution and outlined the Dialogue’s plans for concrete and effective outcomes at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in February 2024, including the WTO members' efforts to address plastic pollution through trade-related mechanisms and measures.
The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) delved into the intersection of specific trade provisions for the plastics treaty, exploring the reduction of plastics trade through the full life cycle of plastics and its legal and policy implications vis-a-vis current trade rules. Lastly, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) shared insights on trade-related aspects essential for improved end-of-life plastic management.
The event was a platform for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with trade measures in the context of ending plastic pollution through the plastics treaty.