Francesco Sindico and Julie Gibson noted that: “The tension between measures aimed at mitigating climate change and trade rules is really just an element of the wider trade-environment debate.”

The conflict between trade and environmental matters have been discussed by several scholars over the last few decades in particular as the relation between both fields is increasingly becoming interdependent. As such, the international community is looking to secure the flow of goods and services on one hand for ensuring the economic growth and the overall economic well being of the society while also protecting the environment in which these economic activities are taking place on the other. However, balancing economic interests with environmental concerns is not an easy task in particular as different countries have different priorities. Thus, for instance, the developed states have the ability to worry about environmental problems and thus establish rules supporting such approach even if sometimes these rules would hinder trade. However, developing and Least Developing Countries (LDCs) have a completely different set of priorities since they are aiming at reaching the same level of economic growth that was reached by Developed Countries before worrying about environmental matters and despite the fact that these same countries acknowledge the existence of serious environmental problems like climate change that requires urgent action in the international sphere. In this context, one would wonder about how exactly trade and environmental matters would coexist in international law and through the different international regulations. In the chapter “Soft, Complex, and Fragmented International Climate Change Practice: What Implications for International Trade Law”, the authors Francesco Sindico and Julie Gibson tried to provide an answer to this question by dissecting the ways through which trade and environmental matters can be reconciled in the international sphere. As such, the authors analyzed all the dynamics that are currently taking place in the global arena and which are indeed affecting the discussion revolving around trade and environmental matters. For instance, it was obvious that developed countries are concerned with the adoption of environmental measures hindering in a way or another trade is not reciprocated by the developing countries and LDCs. In this regard, the north is worried about the impact of such situation on the overall economic growth of its societies. In fact, there is a real concern that such free riding attitude by developing countries would lead to the loss of economic competitiveness of the firms in the developed world. Not only that, the north is also worried about the potential relocation of Western industries into new countries where they don’t have to go through the costly environmental measures that are being imposed in the north not to mention the loss of employment opportunities for the citizens residing in developed countries. Moreover, one of the main international organizations that have dealt with this dilemma is the World Trade Organization (WTO). In this regard, it is worth mentioning that the WTO for instance through the preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement that established the WTO acknowledges that the organization must consider sustainable development as one of its primary goals. Furthermore, the negotiations that took place within the multilateral trade system have also focused on this perpetual dilemma. Thus, the discussions over trade and environmental matters are only set to increase in the future due to the increasing interdependence between both fields.