Monday, October 02, 2006

Using WTO to stop climate change

Center of Global Development reports a great idea by Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz:
U.S. trade partners [should] ask the WTO for authority to impose countervailing duties on exports of U.S. steel and other energy-intensive products that benefit unfairly from Washington’s refusal to join the Kyoto Protocol limiting carbon and other greenhouse gasses.

There is a precedent for such duties, Stiglitz said, because Washington previously obtained a World Trade Organization ruling in support of a U.S. ban on the import of shrimp caught in Thailand using nets that killed endangered species of turtles.

Clearly if you can impose a trade sanction to save a turtle, you can impose a trade sanction to save the planet.
There is of course a slight downside to the proposal as it might mean US stepping out of WTO altogether or at least giving a strong populistic card to protectionist to play in US politics. Nobody would benefit from that. Witty point, nevertheless.

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