Cooperation with the WTO

Cooperation between MEA Secretariats and WTO Committees can help to ensure that the trade and environment regimes develop coherently.

(i) Areas of cooperation

The three main following WTO legal and policy issues, set out in paragraph 31 of the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration are of particular relevance to Parties to the Basel Convention.

  • Trade Measures in Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

    Questions have arisen whether trade measures such as those under the Basel Convention and WTO rules are compatible. To clarify this relationship, the WTO is mandated under paragraph 31(i) of the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration to consider the relationship between WTO rules and “specific trade obligations” set out in MEAs. During the negotiations WTO Members have identified a number of the provisions of the Basel Convention as relevant to their deliberations.

WTO Secretariat summary of proposals 

NEW ! Matrix on Trade-related measures pursuant to selected Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as revised in October 2013 -WT/CTE/W/160/Rev.6; TN/TE/S/5/Rev.4.

  • Information Exchange and Observer status

    The WTO is mandated under paragraphs 31(ii) of the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration to negotiate "procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the relevant WTO committees, and the criteria for the granting of observer status". To strengthen cooperation with the WTO, the Conference of Parties in Decision BC-6/30 requested the Secretariat to “seek observer status in the Committee on Trade and Environment meeting in special session”. 

WTO Secretariat note on observer status

Latest correspondence between the Basel Convention Secretariat and the WTO Secretariat on observer status (November 2011)

  • Environmental goods and services

    Environmental goods and services play a key role in implementing the Basel Convention. The WTO is mandated under paragraph 31(iii) of the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration to negotiate "the reduction or, as appropriate, elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services". During the negotiations WTO Members have proposed a number of waste-related environmental activities and technologies as suitable for coverage in the negotiations.

Briefing note by Secretariat on WTO environmental goods negotiations 

WTO Secretariat note listing environmental goods 

WTO Secretariat informal synthesis of submissions on environmental goods

ii) Forms of cooperation and activities

a. WTO Secretariat note on existing forms of cooperation and information exchange between the WTO and UNEP/MEAs

b. Relevant Basel Convention working documents reporting on cooperation activities with the WTO:

For more detailed information, please refer to the relevant COP and OEWG working documents on international cooperation in general or, more specifically, on cooperation with the WTO. As these documents contain reports on the forms of cooperation and activities undertaken by the Basel Convention Secretariat with the WTO each year or biennium, they are essential to have a more descriptive picture on activities regularly carried on in this field.