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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Aiming at sustainable trade in the context of the Rule of Law

Professor Rafael Leal-Arcas, Jean Monnet Chair holder in EU International Economic Law at Queen Mary University of London, publishes his article titled “Aiming at sustainable trade in the context of the Rule of Law: What role for citizens and how international trade can help reduce fossil-fuel consumption.”

Cargo ship on a river in Georgia

His co-authored article is published in Trade, Law and Development, Vol. 11, Issue 2, 2019, pp. 193-238 [by invitation of the Editor-in-Chief].


Two main issues are addressed in this article in the context of rule of law in the European Union and the World Trade Organization. The first issue is the role citizens can play in shaping sustainable trade. Sustainability constitutes a principal concern for various regimes that, because of their nature, are in constant interaction with climate change. The second issue this paper investigates is the potential role of international trade in reducing fossil-fuel consumption. The use of fossil fuels contributes to climate change, so there is no excuse for continued inaction. We argue that, in light of the lack of international consensus on how to effectively tackle climate change, an upstream carbon tax with reinvestment supported by border tax adjustments should be enacted unilaterally by the biggest emitters of green-house gases to reduce fossil-fuel consumption and incentivise global carbon abatement.

Read the full article.



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