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New Global Trade Policies for a Greener Future: WTO and WCO Initiatives


As we celebrate Earth Day today, the initiatives undertaken by organizations like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) remind us of the critical role international trade and customs play in addressing climate change and promoting environmental sustainability.


Last year, the WTO unveiled the "Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action" at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). This initiative provides nations with ten strategic trade policy actions to help them align with climate goals:


  1. Introducing trade facilitation measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with cumbersome border customs procedures.

  2. Deploying green government procurement policies.

  3. Using international standards to avoid fragmentation when upgrading energy efficiency regulations.

  4. Reviewing regulations and restrictions on providers of climate-related services to support climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.

  5. Rebalancing import tariffs to increase the uptake of low-carbon technologies.

  6. Reforming environmentally harmful subsidies to unlock additional resources for climate action.

  7. Facilitating and increasing trade finance to support the diffusion of climate-related technologies and equipment.

  8. Improving how food and agricultural markets function to support climate adaptation and mitigation by easing trade in food.

  9. Strengthening sanitary and phytosanitary systems to protect economies from the spread of disease, pests and other related risks heightened by climate change.

  10. Improving the coordination of climate-related internal taxes, including carbon pricing and equivalent policies, to reduce policy fragmentation and compliance costs.


Also in 2023, the WCO Green Customs Action Plan (GCAP) was endorsed by the WCO Policy Commission. The GCAP is a strategic framework designed to integrate environmental considerations into customs practices worldwide. Divided into three key pillars - Being, Doing, and Innovating - the GCAP aims to enhance customs administrations' capacity by promoting internal green practices, facilitating environmentally friendly trade processes, and fostering innovation in environmental management. Through initiatives such as capacity building, collaboration with regulatory agencies, and the adoption of green technologies, the GCAP seeks to empower customs administrations to play an active role in protecting the environment and promoting sustainability in international trade.


At the Clark-Esposito Law Firm, P.C., we are committed to supporting these efforts by offering guidance to our clients on international trade laws, customs procedures, and compliance measures. By ensuring that businesses adhere to import laws, mitigate risks, and comply with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations, we contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible global trade landscape. Happy Earth Day from all of us at the Clark-Esposito Law Firm, P.C.!


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