An empirical and policy assessment that highlights recent changes in trade policy and focuses on the sectoral impacts from these changes, their likely environmental consequences, and opportunities to promote more sustainable trade strategies.
This report and its companion data tables provide for the first time a set of indicators to evaluate the impacts of trade on environment in the Latin American and Caribbean region. These estimates cover 14 pollution categories, over 8 exporting sectors for 16 countries.
The study focuses on how trade and expansion can facilitate and complement environmental sustainability in the region. It is based on two key observations:
The overall impact of trade on the environment is one that is not easy to discern, as it depends on a variety of factors, including the efficiency with which resources are allocated, the scale of production, the composition of outputs, technology, and, last but far not least, policy. Ultimately, the political will to impose regulatory and liability discipline on environmental problems will determine whether trade liberalization enhances welfare. At the same time, trade policies should be constructed to minimize environmental problems.
Within this companion report, by WRI authors Paul Faeth and Patricia McGinnis, estimates are provided for the release of fourteen categories of pollutants related to production and export for eight major industrial sectors in sixteen countries in the region. An interpretation of the information in this report is provided by the authors.
Included in this study are quantitative estimates for:
C. Ford Runge, Professor, Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN.
Eugenio Cap, Director de Planificación Estrategica, Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria (INTA), Argentina
Paul Faeth, Director, Program in Economics and Population, World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Patricia McGinnis, Former research assistant, Program in Economics and Population, World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Demetri Papageorgiou, Former staff member, World Bank, Washington, D.C.
James Tobey, Coordinator, Research and Policy Analysis, Coastal Resources Center, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI
Robert Houseman, Former senior associate with the Center for International Environment and Law, Washington, D.C. His contribution was provided solely in his individual capacity