23 June 2022

Promoting and Facilitating Trade in Environmental Goods and Services

As a contribution to ongoing reflections at the WTO, TESS organized a "deep dive" workshop that brought together leading experts from think tanks, international organizations, and representatives of WTO members for in-depth discussion in an informal and off-the-record “retreat mode.”

Spurred by the mounting impacts of climate change, pollution, and nature loss, governments face the urgent challenge of fostering a more environmentally sustainable, inclusive, and resilient global economy. Achieving such a transformation and a just transition, particularly for the most vulnerable economies, will require a significant scaling up of the production, dissemination, transfer, and uptake of environmentally sound technologies, goods, and services around the world.

At the WTO, there is renewed discussion on how governments can cooperate to facilitate and promote trade in environmental goods and services (EGS). This topic arises in the regular work of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment, as well as in the Committee on Trade in Services, among others. Alongside, the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussion (TESSD) and the Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (the Dialogue) each seek to identify ways to bolster cooperation on trade in environmental goods and services.

Over the past year, discussions at the WTO have highlighted the interest of many members in a broad approach that considers issues related to tariff and non-tariff measures; cooperation on regulation, standards, investment, and financing; sustainable supply chains; as well as technology transfer and technical assistance. A number of governments and stakeholders have called for approaches that start with a focus on specific environmental challenges to be addressed; consider the environmental impacts of goods and services across their life cycles; and ensure attention to the specific challenges, opportunities and priorities identified by developing countries.

Topics addressed at the workshop included:

  • options for grounding discussions in ways that respond to specific environmental challenges (such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss) and sustainable development priorities.
  • approaches to defining the scope of EGS at different stages of value chains in regard to specific environmental challenges, sectors, or products.
  • options for addressing tariff and non-tariff issues relevant to trade in EGS as well as intersecting issues such as technology transfer, financing, and technical assistance that impact EGS production, access, uptake, and export.
  • approaches that could attract broad-based support among WTO Members, with a focus on developing countries interests and on common goals.

Topics were introduced briefly by "thought starter" presenters followed by an open interaction among participants based on a set of guiding questions. The slides presented by the discussion starters and discussants can be downloaded from this page.


Day 1: 23 June

Welcome Remarks

  • TESS Organizers

Session 1: Setting the Stage

This session provided an overview of the current state of play in multilateral discussions around environmental goods and services, including recent developments in the context of the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussion (TESSD) and the Informal Dialogue on Plastic and Environmentally Sustainable Plastic Trade (IDP).

Discussion Starters

State of Play of EGS Discussions Under TESSD

  • Helga Helland, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Norway
  • Carlos Guevara, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Ecuador

State of Play of EGS-Related Discussions Under IDP

  • Rhys Pogonoski, Second Secretary, Permanent Mission of Australia

State of Play of Multilateral Discussions in the WTO

  • Rainer Lanz, Economics Affairs Officer, World Trade Organization (WTO) Secretariat

Open Discussion Among Delegations

Session 2: Lessons from Experiences at the Regional Level to Facilitate Trade and Investment in EGS

This session drew lessons from past initiatives on EGS in the context of RTAs and their role as incubator and laboratory of new ideas and approaches to facilitating trade and investment in EGS. It also reviewed existing experiences and impacts of trade in environmental goods and services.

Discussion Starters

Lessons Learned from RTAs in Facilitating Trade in EGS

  • Christophe Bellmann, Head of Policy Analysis and Strategy, TESS

Click HERE to view Christophe Bellmann's presentation.

Evidence on Trade and Environmental Impact of EGS Efforts to Date

  • Clara Brandi, Head of Research Programme, Transformation of Economic and Social Systems, German Development Institute (DIE)

Click HERE to view Clara Brandi's presentation.

Benefits of Increased Trade in Environmental Goods and Services, Experiences from the APEC Region

  • Carlos Kuriyama, Senior Analyst, Policy Support Unit, APEC Secretariat

Click HERE to view Carlos Kuriyama's presentation.


  • Ronald Steenblik, Senior Fellow, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
  • Pierre Sauvé, Trade and Investment Practice, World Bank

Open Discussion among Delegations

Session 3: Sectoral Perspectives and Objective-Based Approaches to EGS

This session took specific environmental challenges affecting WTO Members and particularly developing countries such as clean energy generation, climate change adaptation, plastic pollution and biodiversity conservation. Participants reviewed goods, services and technologies necessary to address them and explored the role of trade and trade policies in facilitating their diffusion and uptake at different stages of relevant value chains.

Session 3a: Fostering Access and Scaling Up of Clean and Renewable Energy

Discussion Starter

Trade in Renewable Energy Goods, Services and Technologies: Benefits, Key Drivers and Obstacles

  • Francesco Pasimeni, Associate Programme Officer, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):


  • Joachim Monkelbaan, Climate Trade Lead World Economic Forum (WEF)
  • Veena Jha, CEO, Ikdhvaj Advisers LLP India
  • Melaku Desta, Incoming Coordinator, Africa Trade Policy Centre, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

Open Discussion Among Delegations

Session 3b: Climate Adaptation and Economic Resilience in the Face of Natural Disasters

Discussion Starter

The Role of Trade in Climate Adaptation Technologies, Goods and Services: Key Drivers and Obstacles

  • Anne Hammil, Senior Director, Resilience, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Click HERE to view Anne Hammil's presentation.


  • Chelceé Brathwaite, Researcher, Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, Barbados
  • Collin Zhuawu, Economic Advisor, Multilateral Trade, Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Rajiv Garg, Regional Manager for Africa and Central Asia, UN Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), UNFCCC Technology Mechanism

Open discussion among delegations

Day 2: 24 June

Session 3: Sectoral Perspectives and Objective-Based Approaches to EGS (cont.)

Session 3c: Trade in Goods, Services, Technologies for Reducing Plastic Pollution Across the Life Cycle

Discussion Starter

Key Technologies, Goods and Services to Address Plastic Pollution

  • Winnie Lau, Project Director, Preventing Ocean Plastics, Pew Charitable Trusts

Click HERE to view Winnie Lau's presentation.


  • Mahesh Sugathan, Senior Advisor, TESS

Click HERE to view Mahesh Sugathan's presentation.

  • Shunta Yamaguchi, Policy Analyst, Environment and Economy Division, Environment Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Session 3d: Biodiversity-Based Products

Discussion Starters

Trade in Biodiversity-Based Products: Benefits, Key Drivers and Obstacles

  • Maria Julia Oliva, Head of Policy, UNEP WCMC
  • Marianne Kettunnen, Senior Policy Advisor and Head of Partnerships, TESS

Challenges and Opportunities Under Different BioTrade Related Value Chains

  • David Vivas Eugui, Legal Affairs Officer, Trade, Environment, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Division, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Click HERE to view David Vivas Eugui's presentation.

Session 4: Next Steps

The concluding session provided an opportunity for an open discussion of possible options and analytical needs for advancing inclusive international cooperation on EGS in different venues in ways that effectively contribute to addressing critical environmental challenges and sustainable development, and that attract broad-based participation of countries at different stages of development.


  • Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, Director, TESS