Dirty exports and environmental regulation : do standards matter to trade?
How to address the link between environmental regulation and trade was an important part of discussions at the World Trade Organization Ministerial in Doha, Qatar in November 2001. Trade ministers agreed to launch negotiations on trade and the environment, specifically clarification of WTO rules. The authors address an important part of the background context for deciding whether or how to link trade agreements to the environment from a developing country perspective. The authors ask whether environmental regulations affect exports of pollution-intensive or"dirty"goods in 24 countries between 1994 and 1998. Based on a Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek (HOV) model, net exports in five pollution-intensive industries are regressed on factor endowments and measures of environmental standards (legislation in force). The results suggest that, if country heterogeneity such as enforcement of environmental regulations is controlled for, more stringent environmental standards imply lower net exports of metal mining, nonferrous metals, iron, and steel and chemicals. The authors find find that a trade agreement on a common environmental standard will cost a non-OECD country substantially more than an OECD country. Developing countries will, on average, reduce exports of the five pollution-intensive products by 0.37 percent of GNP. This represents 11 percent of annual exports of these products from the 24 studied countries.
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