Sustainability and Trade: The EU Green Deal and Future Business

In December 2019, the European Union launched its Green Deal - the blueprint for the European policy for the upcoming years. The document reinforces the European Union’s commitment to sustainability. This paper aims at contributing to the debate about the Green Deal implementation by analyzing the European Union current international trade commitments. Especial consideration is given to the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework, which aims at preventing environmental policies from being used as a protection tool to domestic industry.4 Therefore, this article’s objective is to answer the question: to what extent is the EU Green Deal in line with the current European trade law framework? This paper considers climate change an urgent matter. In other words, the underlying assumption is that the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1947 was written in a moment when most were unaware of how much change is required to tackle the current climate disaster. Additionally, another underlying assumption is that policies and regulations focused on sustainability are necessary. Therefore, to understand how trade can contribute to tackling climate change is of paramount importance. The first section of this paper presents an overview of the European Green Deal, explaining what it is and its relevance to international trade. The second section focus on the proposals that affect trade, reflecting on their coherence with WTO case law. Finally, the third section analyses the general scenario created by the EU with its international trade commitments and the Green Deal.