Page Top
Link to main body
main body

Global Environment

Harmonizing Environment and Trade Policies

Annex 3. APEC

"Framework of Principles for Integrating Economy and Environment in APEC"
(adopted by the APEC Environment Ministerial Meeting in 1994) (Excerpt)

Principle: Trade and the Environment

Member economies should support multilateral effort to make trade and environment policies mutually supportive, consistent with principle 12* and other relevant principles of the Rio Declaration.

*Principle 12 of the Rio Declaration

States should cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system that would lead to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries, to better address the problems of environmental degradation. Trade policy measures for environmental purposes should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. Unilateral actions to deal with environmental challenges outside the jurisdiction of the importing country should be avoided. Environmental measures addressing transboundary or global environmental problems should, as far as possible, be based on an international consensus.

"Achieving the APEC Vision: Free and Open Trade in the Asia Pacific"
(Second Report of the Eminent Persons Group, August I 994) (Excerpt)

The Environment

A fourth key facilitation issue relates to the multiple linkages between trade and the environment. Here too, a ministerial meeting has already been held, at which the Ministers "welcome the call of the Eminent Persons Group for APEC members to embark on a course of sustainable development without creating new forms of protectionism" and expressed a "hope that the important EPG work of developing a long-term vision for APEC would address equally relevant environmental and economic considerations."

We believe that the future course of development in the Asia Pacific region must proceed in tandem with utmost care and concern for the environment. We see no conflict between economic progress and environmental protection. Indeed, we believe that these two goals can be made mutually reinforcing and urge APEC to contribute to that process.

To that end, we see mutual dialogue between APEC economies on environmental issues as being of great importance within their broader dialogue on economic issues. Such dialogue will facilitate cooperation on environmental matters among economies of the region, and accelerate mutually reinforcing economic and environmental progress. For example, we recommend that APEC members that have developed pro-environmental technologies share them with members that have not yet done so. We also recommend that APEC members consider joint funding of environmentally sound development projects, with more advanced members contributing to the costs of pollution control in less advanced parts of the region. There may be cases where cooperative research projects addressing common environmental concerns can be pursued among two or more APEC members, with costs shared according to the relative capability of the participants.

Even more importantly, we recommend that APEC seek to advance international acceptance of the principle of internationalization of the costs of environmental protection, notably through the most widespread possible adoption of the "polluter pays principle." This may be another issue, like trade liberalization, where APEC can lead both by its own example and by working together for a common goal in the broader global institutions. Unlike trade liberalization, however, this is an area where action on a purely regional basis could in some cases adversely affect the competitiveness of APEC members in the world markets. Hence, a major effort should be mounted toward achieving global acceptance and implementation of these principles.

One opportunity for doing so will come in the new World Trade Organization, which has agreed that trade-environment linkages are on its future agenda. Another may lie in advancing proposals for creation of new institutional mechanisms for international environmental management, embodying the "Polluter Pays Principle" as a global norm that would inform national economic and environmental policies. With its diversity of industrial and developing countries reflecting a broad spectrum of views on environmental and economic issues, APEC could become a leader of the international effort to promote sustainable development.

It goes without saying that trade protection disguised as environmental protection is unacceptable. Any new APEC or WTO arrangements on these issues must include this basic principle. We strongly believe that APEC should go beyond this negative (if necessary) formulation, however, in an effort to provide positive support for national policies that will contribute to a better global environment, taking full account of the different stages of economic development of different APEC economies. We recommend the gradual convergence of environmental standards among APEC members, as part of the broader harmonization of product standards discussed above. Such a program could begin with efforts to develop common methodologies for risk analysis, mutually accepted testing protocols and opportunities to exchange scientific data and analysis.

  • Index
  • Back

Page Top