The CTE of the WTO met seven times in 1996. This activity culminated in the preparation and adoption of a Report of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE Report) to the WTO Ministerial Conference, held in Singapore in December. The work program of the CTE was established by the Marrakesh Ministerial Declaration on Trade and Environment (see 5 YbIEL283 ( 1994)), which instructed the CTE to present a report to the first biennial Ministerial Conference. The CTE Report and related documents can be found at the WTO website (http://www.wto.org).
The CTE Report starts with a background discussion and an analysis of proposals regarding 10 principal items, followed by the conclusions and recommendations on the CTE. On the whole, the discussion and analysis of the relationship between trading rules and environmental effects in the CTE Report reflects a divergence in the perspectives of industrialized and developing WTO members that applies across a wide range of international economic issues. Industrialized members express concern with maintaining flexibility to apply environmental protection measures in accordance with their perceptions of national and regional interest. Developing countries express concern that this flexibility will result in the adoption of measures that will disproportionately restrict their opportunities to achieve effective market access for their exports. Both the industrialized and developing members are able to identify language in documents from the UN Conference on Environment and Development that support their differing perspectives on these questions.
One of the major items that the CTE considered is the relationship between the WTO agreements and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including their respective dispute settlement mechanisms. The CTE stressed that there has never been a dispute involving an allegation of conflict between the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/ WTO agreements and an MEA. Nevertheless, a number of members tabled proposals for clarifying the relationship between the WTO agreements and MEAS. Similar proposals from the European Union and Switzerland sug-