WTO environment talks make slow progress

States continue to disagree over environment treaty trade provisions, need for rules on eco-labelling

Differences over trade and environment emerged again at the latest meeting of the World trade organisation (WTO) environment committee held in Geneva last week. Negotiations on WTO rules versus trade obligations in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) dominated the session, together with talks on eco-labelling.

Following last year's landmark world trade agreement, the environment committee met in special session to take forward negotiations mandated under the "Doha development round", with the WTO-MEA relationship to the fore. Five new position papers were submitted, sparking an in-depth discussion confirming the existence of two broad camps.

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