29 May 2023

INC-2 Side Event - The Role of Trade Measures in the Future Instrument: Challenges and Opportunities

TESS participated in an official side-event to the 2nd meeting of the International Negotiating Committee (INC-2) focused on concluding a new international legally-binding instrument to end plastic pollution. The event featured representatives from organizations working on trade-related aspects of the plastics challenge, with the goal of shedding light on different ways in which trade and trade measures are relevant to the treaty and to the challenge of ending plastic pollution.

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.



  • Soumya Jeet Kar, Sustainable Trade and Resource Circularity, World Economic Forum.

Opening remarks

  • H.E. Luis Vayas, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ecuador.
  • Christoffer Vestli, International Relations Officer, European Commission.


UNCTAD: Plastics trade statistics and on the role of plastic substitutes.

  • Anu Peltola, Acting Director of Statistics, UNCTAD
  • David Vivas Eugui, Chief of Section a.i., Trade, Environment, and Sustainable Development Branch, UNCTAD
  • Diana Barrowclough, Senior Economist, UNCTAD.

WTO: The current state of the WTO Dialogue on Plastic Pollution and plans for the upcoming Ministerial Conference in February 2024.

  • Daniel Ramos, Legal Officer, WTO Secretariat.

CIEL: The plastics treaty and the reduction of plastics trade through dedicated trade provisions

  • Helionor de Anzizu, Staff Attorney, Environmental Health Program, CIEL.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): Addressing trade measures for improved downstream plastic management.

  • Vikas Chhajer, Chief Sustainability and Strategy Officer, ICC & Gemini Corporation.

Q&A (10 mins)

Summary and the way forward

In collaboration with