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Introduction to the Special Issue-Trade and environment: local versus multilateral reforms

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2000

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 1619 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA


[We] must ensure that ordinary citizens in all countries actually benefit from tradeÑa trade that...protects the environment.

President William J. Clinton

State of the Union Address, 19 January 1999

The hullabaloo that was the World Trade Organization's millenium meeting in Seattle has shown us that ordinary people have serious misgivings about the multilateral trading regime-both the rules and the process. Future progress in trade liberalization will depend on convincing the wider public that trade agreements are good for the environment and good for development (including labour and human rights), not just GDP. This is more than a public relations challenge. The concerns voiced by the Seattle protesters-some of them, anyway-raise profound intellectual questions.

Theory and Applications
© 2000 Cambridge University Press

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The research presented in this special issue was supported by a grant from John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to the Global Environment and Trade Study at Yale University. Steve Charnovitz of GETS supervised the grant and generously commented on early drafts of the research produced under this project. In addition to the authors of the papers published here, lead contributors included Nicola Borregaard, Graciela Chichilnisky, Alice Enders, and Ravi Ratnayake. Participants at a special workshop held in London in June 1998 included Jagdish Bhagwati, James Cameron, Dan Esty, Per Fredriksson, Bernardo Mueller, David Pearce, Charles Perrings, Tom Rutherford, Gary Sampson, and Anna Strutt. Charles Perrings encouraged me to organize this special issue and both he and Steve Charnovitz provided helpful comments on an earlier draft of this introduction. I am grateful to all these individuals – and to Rosalind Stockley –– for helping to pull this special issue together.