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A need for education and reconciliation.

MY professional career has involved trade policy and trade negotiations at the level of an international secretariat (GATT), the U.S. Government (USTR), and teaching and research at various universities. Nevertheless, I regard myself as an environmentalist. In fact, I see no necessary conflict between freer international trade and the achievement of environmental goals. On the contrary they can be mutually beneficial. Often cited in this connection is the liberalization of restrictions on oil imports and the reduced air and water pollution soil erosion, and wildlife devastation caused by wood burned as fuel in some developing countries. There are others.

Much useful considerations of this subject has been poisoned by prejudices, suspicions, and misinformation. (Full-page newspaper advertisements, plagued, inter alia, with factual errors, have denounced the GATT.) This hostile atmosphere is not surprising given the vacuums in which trade-policy and environmental advocates have worked in the past. This must change. Education is the answer. The sponsors of this symposium are to be congratulated.

To begin a reconciliation of trade and environmental objectives, the U.S. Government should get its act together. EPA and other environment-oriented agencies should have a voice in the inter-agency debates and decisions on trade policy. USTR and other trade-oriented agencies should have the same opportunities with respect to domestic and international environmental issues and agreements. Furthermore, the U.S. Government should undertake to reconcile multilateral environmental agreements and the GATT when they are found to be in conflict.

These and similar initiatives could do much to bring about a better understanding and appreciation of trade and environmental concerns and to resolve any disagreements at the domestic or international level. There are possibilities and opportunities for the mutual achievement of trade and environmental objectives. These should not be missed.
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Title Annotation:Trade and the Environment
Author:Kelly, William B., Jr.
Publication:Environmental Law
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:Linking trade growth and the environment: one lawmaker's view.
Next Article:Trade and the environment: what worries the developing countries?

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