Policy Research Domains (Major Policy Research Domains) III. Formulating Japan's Strategy in Response to Globalization and Deepening Economic Interdependence in Asia

The Environment and Trade

Project Leader/Sub-Leader


YAMASHITA Kazuhito Senior Fellow



2008 - 2010

It has been pointed out that environmental problems and international trade are closely linked. In the past, trade disputes related to the "environment and trade" have frequently occurred within the GATT/WTO framework. The GATT panel ruling in the "dolphin and tuna case" was the first GATT ruling ever to be reported on the front page of the New York Times. Environmental groups upset with this ruling took to the streets to demonstrate against globalization. Under pressure from demonstrators, the WTO Ministerial Conference held in Seattle in 1999 ended in failure. As symbolized by these events, environmental groups began to criticize GATT/WTO during the 1990s, claiming that GATT/WTO undermined environmental interests and that trade liberalization leading to economic expansion would further contribute to environmental destruction. During the presidential election, President Obama advocated the adoption of a series of new rules in free trade agreements and for the WTO to prevent companies from gaining competitive power by sacrificing and degrading the environment. It is highly likely that debates concerning the issue of "environment and trade," which have been generally subdued in the past, will emerge as a central issue in WTO negotiations beginning next year. This project will consider "environment and trade" which is one of the key issues in international trade from a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, taking into account the perspectives of both law and economics.

October 1, 2008 -

Major Research Results