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Environment and Trade in Developing Economies: A Primer for the World Bank's Global Economic Prospects 2001

John C. Beghin
August 2000  [00-WP 247]

The author argues that imposing trade sanctions is not the best strategy for eliminating environmental degradation in developing economies. Countries have different priorities that, in large part, reflect different levels of development. In particular, developing countries may perceive a sharp trade-off between development goals and sensible, though perhaps elusive, environmental goals. However, because poverty is often a key factor in environmental degradation, it is important that developing countries retain access to the international trading system, even if their domestic environmental policies are not those that are preferred by richer countries. Alternative mechanisms already in place, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), should be the preferred forum in which to discuss the environmental goals of developing economies.

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