Reports How trade can support climate action: a 2021 agenda for the UK


How trade can support climate action: a 2021 agenda for the UK

This policy briefing outlines how three important pillars of the UK’s approach to tackling climate change – decarbonising the economy, creating green jobs and industries and delivering more sustainable food and farming systems - could either be helped or hindered by trade rules. It also makes practical recommendations for how the UK can:

1. Develop a more coherent domestic approach, deliberately designing trade policy to support climate ambitions.

2. Use the opportunities of COP 26 and the WTO Ministerial Summit in 2021 to lead international efforts to bring trade rules into the service of climate action.

The policy briefing sets out six recommendations:

  • An audit of the UK’s trade commitments should be carried out to identify their compatibility with climate obligations
  • To support more coherent policy making, the UK government should develop and publish a trade strategy, which must set out how its approach to new trade agreements and WTO climate commitments
  • At COP26 the UK government should work with other like-minded countries to affirm the need for action to shape international trade rules in support of climate action
  • At the WTO the UK government should spearhead proposals for the reform of Subsidies Agreement
  • The UK government should join the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability Initiative and work to strengthen and extend it
  • The UK government should exit the Energy Charter Treaty, terminate Bilateral Investment Treaties and review all Free Trade Agreements to remove all ISDS clauses


climate change climate action Climate targets Trade deals trade and climate UK trade COP26