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The rush to regionalism

The Rush to Regionalism: Sustainable Development and Regional/Bilateral Approaches to Trade and Investment Liberalization

This paper aims to set out the issues of importance in addressing the links between sustainable development and the rush to regionalism. It begins by describing the trends in regional agreements. It then surveys current practice, asking how the agreements address a number of key issues of importance to sustainable development, both in the context of economic development and the context of environment. Based on that survey, and a survey of the literature, it then sets out a number of key themes, and asks what we know and do not know about each. The concluding section describes the state of research in relation to these themes.

Authors: Aaron Cosbey, Simon Tay, Hank Lim
Medium: Paper
Year: 2005
Publisher: IISD
Copyright: IISD/IDRC
Number of pages: 49
Download in PDF format (557.3 kb)
Related Publications: Investment, Trade


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Trends in Regionalism

3. A Survey of Actual Practice
3.1 Development aspects of the agreements

3.2 Environmental aspects of the agreements
3.2.1 Environment and sustainable development as objectives of the agreement.
3.2.2 Environmental exceptions
3.2.3. MEAs and trade law
3.2.4. Environmental impact assessment
3.2.5. Regulatory impacts: services and investment
3.2.6. Environmental governance

4. Issues for Consideration
4.1. Why the rush to regionalism?
4.1.1. Economic considerations
4.1.2. Strategic considerations

4.2. Does the rush to regionalism undermine the multilateral system?

4.3. The impacts of level of development on FTA characteristics
4.3.1. North-North agreements
4.3.2. North-South agreements
4.3.3. South-South agreements

4.4. Regionalism and sustainable development
4.4.1. Economic implications
4.4.2. Environment and development implications

4.5. The role of business and the market

5. Scope for Improvement

6. State of Research

7. References

 source: IISD