International Management of the Environment: Pollution Control in North America

International Management of the Environment: Pollution Control in North America

International Management of the Environment: Pollution Control in North America

International Management of the Environment: Pollution Control in North America

Synopsis

Lombard analyzes the complementary relationship between trade and the environment in the emerging North American environmental management system. He views the development of closer trade relations among the three NAFTA members as having an overall and long-term beneficial impact on the environment, particularly air quality, in North America.

Excerpt

The North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA] is the most ambitious attempt yet to integrate the economies of nations at widely disparate levels of development into a common regional market. a notable effort, it may be only a step toward the larger goal of integrating the economies of the entire Western hemisphere. However, with or without the creation of a formal hemispheric economic system, North-South trade is expected to expand, and important changes have been made in environmental regulation in all three North American nations which have paralleled these developments.

Conflicts between advocates of trade and environmental interests date back more than thirty years. the impact of environmental regulation on trade became the subject of discussions in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT] in the late 1960s, a period when fears had arisen about the limits of growth and the rapid depletion of global natural resources. These policy conflicts erupted when the vigor with which environmental regulation was pursued led to complaints that the costs of regulation reduced affected industries' capacity to compete in world markets (Hoekman and Kostecki, 1995). Since that time, there has been a reconciliation between proponents of trade and environmental interests, as well as increasing convergence or alignment in the regulatory approaches of all three North American nations. First, industry self-regulation is rapidly displacing the traditional cormmand-and-control approach. Here, greater private sector decision-making flexibility and discretion is encouraged at the expense of systems of government standards and technology-based controls. Second, enforcement of environmental laws in North America is an increasingly subnational government activity. However, it is rarely accompanied by an increase in public allocations for that purpose. For this reason, states, provinces, and local governments find . . .

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