Workshop Report: Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

Existing trade agreements have strict rules, some enforcement mechanisms, and the majority of the world's nations already as signatories.  They offer a potentially powerful leverage point to address a wide array of subsidies to energy, including those flowing to fossil fuels.  In practice, the trade agreements have not yet proven effective at accelerating reform -- though the potential is what makes this workshop and its associated write-up useful to include in the Earth Track subsidy library.  Below is the description from the organizers:


This report provides a brief summary of the workshop, “Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements,” held on 22 May 2017 at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. Hosted by Climate Strategies, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), this morning event brought together some 65 policy makers, trade experts, researchers and civil society representatives.

The workshop comprised an introductory “scene-setting” segment and two substantive sessions. In Session 1, participants zoomed in on the various types of fossil fuel subsidies, as well as their varying impacts on international trade. Session 2 highlighted different options for addressing fossil fuel subsidies through multilateral, plurilateral and regional agreements.

This workshop report has been written by the organizers. No acceptance about the contents of the report nor the conclusions drawn should be attributed to any speaker or participant. The workshop was held under the Chatham House Rule whereby what was discussed can be reported but without attribution to any individual or organization.