Publication: Policy paper

Trade-Related Climate Priorities for CARICOM at the World Trade Organization


By Jan Yes Remy

The Caribbean region throws up unique challenges for both the climate change and trade communities. Being among the most vulnerable regions in the world to the impacts of rising global temperatures, the small island developing states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stand to face severe environmental, economic, and infrastructural losses in the coming years. On the trade front, the region still accounts for a very small share of global trade and has registered overall declines in terms of global competitiveness and participation in global value chains.

This policy paper argues that the prospect of a new “sustainability agenda” at the WTO presents new opportunities for members of CARICOM. It proposes key elements for a trade-related climate change agenda for CARICOM countries at the WTO. It also reflects on the trade-related climate priorities of CARICOM in regional, bilateral, and multilateral trade negotiations, with a focus on how these priorities might be best formulated in the context of ongoing WTO negotiations and processes. The author then makes recommendations on how the emerging WTO sustainability agenda can be used to promote CARICOM’s trade-related climate interests.

The publication is part of a series of policy papers commissioned by TESS with partners on Regional perspectives on trade, climate change, and sustainable development, which includes papers on Africa, the Caribbean, South America, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the broader category of least developed countries. Each paper has been prepared by experts and institutions from the region and seeks to highlight regional perspectives and priorities on the role of international trade cooperation in supporting climate mitigation and adaptation and climate-resilient sustainable development.

While many discussions are now taking place on trade and climate change at the WTO and in a range of other international settings, most are dominated by concerns, policies, and proposals from more advanced economies. In an effort to spur a more inclusive dialogue, the series supports the bottom-up identification and formulation of developing country perspectives and priorities on trade and climate change adaptation and mitigation including how to advance them at the regional and multilateral levels.

This paper is co-published with the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services (SRC).

A video of a working session on regional perspectives on trade and climate change co-hosted by TESS and regional partners at the 2022 WTO Public Forum is available.

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