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Environment & Natural Resources

The United States seeks to ensure that our international trade and environmental policies are mutually supportive. Our bilateral and international trade agreements and initiatives are valuable tools to protect the environment and level the playing field for U.S. industry abroad, and we are using these agreements and initiatives to tackle pressing environmental challenges—such as illegal fishing, wildlife trafficking, illegal logging and mining, and environmental conservation and protection.

The U.S. Trade Representative works to carry out trade policy through a range of multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade agreements and initiatives, notably:

  • Monitoring and enforcing environmental commitments in existing trade agreements, including commitments to maintain high levels of environmental protection, effectively enforce environmental laws, and promote public participation in environmental matters. Learn more here.
  • Negotiating a meaningful WTO agreement to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing, overfishing and overcapacity and lead to the depletion of global fish stocks, with a view to improve the sustainability of fish stocks and the lives of fishers.  Learn more here.
  • Negotiating strong and enforceable commitments in the environment chapters of new trade agreements, including ground-breaking commitments to combat illegal fishing, illegal logging, and wildlife trafficking; discipline harmful fisheries subsidies; and address other pressing environmental issues such as air quality and marine litter.
  • Promoting circular economy and resource efficiency in international fora such as the WTO and APEC, including by leading a Recyclable Materials Policy Program (RMPP) in APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment.  The RMPP seeks to develop APEC economies’ capacity to identify and frame domestic policies that promote solid waste management and recycling infrastructure.
  • Identifying new and innovative approaches to tackle climate change through bilateral, regional, and multilateral engagement.  The United States joined the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD) initiative at the WTO to advance discussions on how trade can play a role in addressing the global climate crisis.
  • Promoting sustainable management of natural resources through multilateral and bilateral mechanisms, including by combating illegal fishing and promoting sustainable fisheries management and marine conservation, combating illegal logging and associated trade, and promoting sustainable forest management through the Forest Annex of the U.S.-Peru TPA, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and other relevant fora.
  • Working with the State Department and other U.S. government agencies to strengthen environmental cooperation and capacity building activities intended to help U.S. trading partners to meet commitments under U.S. trade agreements. 
  • Conducting environmental reviews to evaluate the positive and negative environmental impacts of trade agreements under negotiation. You may read the reviews here.
  • Participating in the negotiation and implementation of multilateral environmental agreements, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the launch of negotiations on an international agreement to combat ocean plastic pollution. Learn more here.
  • Promoting transparency and public participation in FTA implementation, including public submission mechanisms such as for USMCA.  Public comments regarding any matter under the USMCA Environment Chapter can be submitted to USMCAenvironment@ustr.eop.gov.  More information on USMCA implementation can be found here.