Environmental requirements in international trade under the World Trade Organization: market access implications for Bangladesh
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 21:37 authored by Pradip Royhan
The interpretation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) regulations on environmental requirements (ERs) and the belief of whether they are beneficial or a barrier to market access have created controversy between developed and developing countries. This research aims to examine the evolution of these environmental requirements and identify how they are creating opportunities or challenges for Bangladesh market access as a least developed country (LDC). Bangladesh is currently facing challenges in specific sectors, which is evident in empirical research and statistics. The objective of this research is to contribute to policy formulation through analysis of the implications of these requirements for Bangladesh market access and its economic development. This thesis critically analyses the regulatory framework in the context of trade and environment with an emphasis on the WTO’s environmental requirements and market access, their interdependence and the implications for developing countries’ economic growth (including LDCs). In doing so, it examines the relevant provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and WTO agreements in light of the developmental needs of Bangladesh as an LDC. The thesis examines the market access implications and opportunities of Bangladesh agricultural products, fish and fish products, pharmaceutical products and textile, clothing, leather and leather products under the current regulatory framework of Bangladesh with a view to identify gaps between the domestic and international rules of environmental requirements. This thesis demonstrates that Bangladesh has market access barriers under WTO’s environmental requirements mainly in two areas: first- environmental concerns in terms of standard; eco-labelling; PPMs; packaging; and environmental pollution and second– regulatory concerns in terms of lack of updated legislations; lack of proper coordination and implementation; lack of adequate financial, institutional and technological support; and finally lack of capacity of respective stakeholders to undertake appropriate measures that are discussed in all the sector specific chapters (agricultural products, fish & fisheries products, pharmaceuticals products, textile & clothing and leather and leather products). This research is the first to examine the implications of environmental requirements on LDCs in general and Bangladesh in particular and provides recommendations for reform, both in WTO rules and Bangladesh domestic regulations. The findings of this comprehensive study will provide information for researchers and policy makers of Bangladesh to undertake a comprehensive strategy with a holistic approach to meet the compliance challenges and opportunities for market access in international trade.