Trade and Environment in the Arab Region

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Trade and Environment in the Arab Region


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Addressing Trade and Environment Priorities in the Arab Region

Over the past decade, the rapid pace of globalization and greater awareness about sustainable development has heightened attention about the relationship between trade liberalization and the environment. Most Arab countries are pursuing development strategies centered on trade liberalization, economic diversification, export expansion and investment promotion. However, these strategies have raised concerns regarding the export competitiveness of local Arab industries, as well as the ability of local consumers and producers to protect themselves from the increasing tide of imports of various quality levels. Furthermore, conflicts have emerged on the relationship between international trade and multilateral environmental agreements, as well as how to pursue environmental objectives in face of increased trade. In view of the above, the Regional Program on Trade and Environment in the Arab Region seeks to strengthen the capacity of Arab countries to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented by trade and environment in an increasingly open and global trading system. Activities implemented within the program revolve around four thematic areas central to trade and environment debates:

  • Market access – namely matters related to conformity with discriminatory regulatory and voluntary non-tariff barriers to trade.

  • Competitiveness – namely matters related to technology transfer, intellectual property rights, efficiency, eco-labeling schemes, the special needs of small and medium-sized enterprises.

  • Dispute resolution – namely matters related to strengthening understanding about dispute resolution mechanisms, and reconciling differences in interpretation and implementation of environmental provisions in bilateral, regional and global trade agreements ratified, signed or being negotiated by Arab Member States.

  • Implementation of trade-related multilateral environmental agreements – namely matters related to improving understanding of the trade-related provisions of MEAs signed by Arab countries, and the relationship between MEAs and the multilateral trading system.

Trade and Environment in the Arab Region

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