Fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption aggravate local pollution, disadvantage clean energy technologies, and drain scarce public resources that could be better directed to other sustainable development goals. At over USD 500 billion annually, fossil fuel subsidies are globally significant.

Fossil fuel subsidies are a poor social welfare policy. They are regressive, costly and inefficient for reducing poverty.

In addition to the detrimental impact on climate change and the economy, they have a negative impact on international trade and can distort international trade flows.

Removing fossil fuel subsidies leads to emissions reductions and removes distortions which affect international trade. It also frees up resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The trade regime is uniquely placed to consider how to address fossil fuel subsidies. International trade law is the only forum in which global rules are already in place to effectively discipline subsidies. Given this and the implications of fossil fuel subsidies on international trade and investment flows, there is a case for the WTO to more closely examine these harmful measures.


-Arancha González, ITC

-Mark Halle, IISD

-Ingrid Jegou, ICTSD

-Ronald Steenblik, OECD

-David Shark, WTO

-Guillermo Valles, UNCTAD

Geneva, Switzerland
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programme 1
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Monday, 21 November 2016 - 4:03pm