On 2 December, the WTO’s Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) held a high-level stocktaking event at ambassador level, to review progress made throughout the year and signal priorities for future work.
The session commenced with opening remarks from the WTO Director General, as well as the Executive Director of the International Trade Center and the Secretary General of UNCTAD. The DG referred to TESSD as a trailblazer at the WTO and urged Members to take more action and consider how to use existing trade tools at their disposal.
Following these introductory statements, the Director of the Trade and Environment Division led a panel of four ambassadors from Chile, The Gambia, New Zealand and Norway, who shared their insights on the relationship between trade and climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as the challenges faced by developing countries.
TESSD Members also had an opportunity to express their views on the four workstreams within this informal body, which focus on environmental goods and services, trade-related climate measures, the circular economy and subsidies. Some delegations called for concrete outcomes by MC13, a further examination of how Members measure emissions and discussions on non-tariff measures which heavily impact trade flows. Others highlighted the importance of recognising the varying levels of ambition among Members.
At the close of the event, Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam congratulated Members on their progress and identified areas that require further reflection to move forward towards concrete action, facilitate public-private dialogue and increase diversity in discussions.