Text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – Chapter twenty-two: Trade and sustainable development

Article 22.1 – Context and objectives

1. The Parties recall the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992, the Agenda 21 on Environment and Development of 1992, the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development of 2002 and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development of 2002, the Ministerial Declaration of the United Nations Economic and Social Council on Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development of 2006, and the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation of 2008. The Parties recognise that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, and reaffirm their commitment to promoting the development of international trade in such a way as to contribute to the objective of sustainable development, for the welfare of present and future generations.

2. The Parties underline the benefit of considering trade-related labour and environmental issues as part of a global approach to trade and sustainable development. Accordingly, the Parties agree that the rights and obligations under Chapters Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour) and Twenty-Four (Trade and Environment) are to be considered in the context of this Agreement.

3. In this regard, through the implementation of Chapters Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour) and Twenty-Four (Trade and Environment), the Parties aim to:

  1. promote sustainable development through the enhanced coordination and integration of their respective labour, environmental and trade policies and measures;
  2. promote dialogue and cooperation between the Parties with a view to developing their trade and economic relations in a manner that supports their respective labour and environmental protection measures and standards, and to upholding their environmental and labour protection objectives in a context of trade relations that are free, open and transparent;
  3. enhance enforcement of their respective labour and environmental law and respect for labour and environmental international agreements;
  4. promote the full use of instruments, such as impact assessment and stakeholder consultations, in the regulation of trade, labour and environmental issues and encourage businesses, civil society organisations and citizens to develop and implement practices that contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals; and
  5. promote public consultation and participation in the discussion of sustainable development issues that arise under this Agreement and in the development of relevant law and policies.

Article 22.2 – Transparency

The Parties stress the importance of ensuring transparency as a necessary element to promote public participation and making information public within the context of this Chapter, in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter and Chapter Twenty-Seven (Transparency) as well as Articles 23.6 (Public information and awareness) and 24.7 (Public information and awareness).

Article 22.3 – Cooperation and promotion of trade supporting sustainable development

1. The Parties recognise the value of international cooperation to achieve the goal of sustainable development and the integration at the international level of economic, social and environmental development and protection initiatives, actions and measures. Therefore, the Parties agree to dialogue and consult with each other with regard to trade-related sustainable development issues of common interest.

2. The Parties affirm that trade should promote sustainable development. Accordingly, each Party shall strive to promote trade and economic flows and practices that contribute to enhancing decent work and environmental protection, including by:

  1. encouraging the development and use of voluntary schemes relating to the sustainable production of goods and services, such as eco-labelling and fair trade schemes;
  2. encouraging the development and use of voluntary best practices of corporate social responsibility by enterprises, such as those in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to strengthen coherence between economic, social and environmental objectives;
  3. encouraging the integration of sustainability considerations in private and public consumption decisions; and
  4. promoting the development, the establishment, the maintenance or the improvement of environmental performance goals and standards.

3. The Parties recognise the importance of addressing specific sustainable development issues by assessing the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of possible actions, taking account of the views of stakeholders. Therefore, each Party commits to review, monitor and assess the impact of the implementation of this Agreement on sustainable development in its territory in order to identify any need for action that may arise in connection with this Agreement. The Parties may carry out joint assessments. These assessments will be conducted in a manner that is adapted to the practices and conditions of each Party, through the respective participative processes of the Parties, as well as those processes set up under this Agreement.

Article 22.4 – Institutional mechanisms

1. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development, established under Article 26.2.1(g) (Specialised committees), shall be comprised of high level representatives of the Parties responsible for matters covered by this Chapter and Chapters Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour) and Twenty-Four (Trade and Environment). The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall oversee the implementation of those Chapters, including cooperative activities and the review of the impact of this Agreement on sustainable development, and address in an integrated manner any matter of common interest to the Parties in relation to the interface between economic development, social development and environmental protection. With regard to Chapters Twenty-Three (Trade and Labour) and Twenty-Four (Trade and Environment), the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development can also carry out its duties through dedicated sessions comprising participants responsible for any matter covered, respectively, under these Chapters.

2. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall meet within the first year of the entry into force of this Agreement, and thereafter as often as the Parties consider necessary. The contact points referred to in Articles 23.8 (Institutional mechanisms) and 24.13 (Institutional mechanisms) are responsible for the communication between the Parties regarding the scheduling and the organisation of those meetings or dedicated sessions.

3. Each regular meeting or dedicated session of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development includes a session with the public to discuss matters relating to the implementation of the relevant Chapters, unless the Parties decide otherwise.

4. The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall promote transparency and public participation. To this end:

  1. any decision or report of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall be made public, unless it decides otherwise;
  2. the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall present updates on any matter related to this Chapter, including its implementation, to the Civil Society Forum referred to in Article 22.5. Any view or opinion of the Civil Society Forum shall be presented to the Parties directly, or through the consultative mechanisms referred to in Articles 23.8.3 (Institutional mechanisms) and 24.13 (Institutional mechanisms). The Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall report annually on the follow-up to those communications;
  3. the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development shall report annually on any matter that it addresses pursuant to Article 24.7.3 (Public information and awareness) or Article 23.8.4 (Institutional mechanisms).

Article 22.5 – Civil Society Forum

1. The Parties shall facilitate a joint Civil Society Forum composed of representatives of civil society organisations established in their territories, including participants in the consultative mechanisms referred to in Articles 23.8.3 (Institutional mechanisms) and 24.13 (Institutional mechanisms), in order to conduct a dialogue on the sustainable development aspects of this Agreement.

2. The Civil Society Forum shall be convened once a year unless otherwise agreed by the Parties. The Parties shall promote a balanced representation of relevant interests, including independent representative employers, unions, labour and business organisations, environmental groups, as well as other relevant civil society organisations as appropriate. The Parties may also facilitate participation by virtual means.

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