A new inquiry into the relationship between international trade and the environment has been launched by MPs.

The International Trade Committee said it will examine how the government should address environmental issues in its trade and investment policy.

It will explore how the government can support positive environmental outcomes through trade policy, including the achievement of the Paris climate change target and how the negative environmental impacts of trade can be mitigated.

The Committee is inviting views on the relationship between trade and investment liberalisation and environmental outcomes, how effectively trade and investment agreements address environmental issues, including climate change and how the government should approach the issues in its trade and investment policy, among others.

Committee Chair Angus Brendan MacNeil MP said: “Combating climate change has never been a more imperative policy goal in the national psyche, demonstrated by the Extinction Rebellion protests, which brought many of the UK’s cities to a standstill and the declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ by the House of Commons in May.

“Increased levels of international trade can lead to negative environmental outcomes due to requirements of producing and transporting goods – which can be energy and resource intensive. Counter to this, however, is the argument that increased trade can boost a country’s economic growth and access to new technologies – and therefore its ability to manage environmental challenges.

“How the government might be able to use trade policy as a tool in the battle against climate change has not been fully explored by policymakers. My Committee’s inquiry will look at this issue in depth, with a view to coming up with practical, implementable policy suggestions to ensure that the UK takes advantage of the potential for trade policy to support positive environmental outcomes.”

The deadline for written submissions is 1st October 2019.

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