Chapter 7 Non-Trade Concerns in International Economic Law

Can Trade Agreements Work for Renewable Energy?

In: A Multifaceted Approach to Trade Liberalisation and Investment Protection in the Energy Sector
Elena Cima
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This chapter explores whether incorporating environmental provisions in the text of free trade agreements represents a possible approach to facilitate trade in renewable energy goods, services, and technologies, and create a more favourable environment for renewables. The chapter first provides a taxonomy of the main techniques used by countries to include renewable energy provisions in the text of their bilateral and regional trade agreements, focusing in particular on the United States and the European Union, and investigates to what extent their texts distance themselves from wto agreements. The analysis of the legal implications of the diverse and evolving techniques used by ftas to incorporate renewable energy within their texts is framed within a broader theory of the evolution of the narrative underlying the trade and environment nexus. The evolution of environmental provisions in text of free trade agreements shows that, over time, the space devoted to environmental and renewable energy considerations in trade agreements has not only expanded but, more importantly, it has significantly changed, reflecting the evolution of trade agreements which are less and less simply trying to accommodate environmental concerns but rather becoming important instruments to ensure the effective advancement of environmental goals.

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