Trade Policies and Environmental Provisions
A brief history
There exists a long history of the attempts to integrate environmental considerations into trade policies at the global level. In more recent years since the 1970s, the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment marks an internationally significant event. During the preparatory phase to the Stockholm Conference, the Secretariat of GATT prepared a study entitled 'Industrial Pollution Control and International Trade'. It focused on the implications of environmental protection policies on international trade, reflecting the concern of trade officials at the time that such policies could become obstacles to trade, as well as constitute a new form of protectionism, 'green protectionism'. At the November 1971 meeting of the GATT Council of Representatives, it was agreed that a group on Environmental Measures and International Trade (also known as the EMIT group) be established. However, the group would only convene at the request of Contracting Parties, with participation being open to all. No requests had come forward for its activation during the subsequent two decades. A wake up call in 1991 was motivated by the impending 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and the need for GATT to contribute in this regard.
During the Tokyo Round of trade negotiations ( 1973-79), the degree to which environmental measures (in the form of technical regulations and standards) could form obstacles to trade was taken up. However, this Round did precious little for an explicit recognition