The concept of sustainable development through environmental cooperation is being introduced in the process of reshuffling international trading system. This trend, which started to spring up since United Nations Conference of the Human Environment in 1972, has been discussed mostly focusing on the establishment of relations between environmental protection and free trade, and began in earnest since World Trade Organization (WTO) and its affiliated 'Committee on Trade and Environment' was founded in 1994. In particular, 'Doha Development Agenda' launched in November, 2001, and 'Free Trade Agreement' regime positioned as basis for trade negotiations and current international trade served as a momentum for attaining sustainable development based on mutual development of trade and environment by providing a place for discussing varied agendas related to environment and trade. Korea concluded its first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile on October 24, 2002, brought FTA with Singapore that came into effect through the National Assembly's approval in February, 2006, and concluded FTA with EFTA (Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein) in 2005 and the agreement came into effect in September, 2006. signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India in August, 2008. In addition, Korea-Peru FTA was concluded in August, 2010, and Korea-EU FTA was concluded in October, 2010. Korea-Peru FTA came into effect on August, 2011, and Korea-EU FTA came into effect on July, 2011. Korea-the United States FTA approved by the National Assembly in November, 2011, came into effect on March 15, 2012. the initialling of Korea-Colombia FTA was concluded on August 31, 2012, waiting for the National Assembly's ratification. Besides, Korea is conducting negotiations with regard to Korea-China FTA, Korea-Turkey FTA, Korea-Vietnam FTA and Korea-Canada FTA.

Discussion on the linkage between trade and environmental problems drew little attention from the international community under the regime of GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade), but the discussion has resurfaced since fundamental stands concerning mutually supportive relationship of trade and environment were defined at the 1992 Rio UN Conference on Environment and Development, 'Marrakesh Agreement on Trade and Environment' was adopted at Marrakesh Ministerial Conference for the establishment of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994, and WTO's affiliated Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) was organized. Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE), organized temporarily, held 13 official conferences from 1995 through1996 to discuss 10 agendas including the relations between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and WTO's free trade norms, the interaction between trade policy and environmental control policy, etc. However, the committee failed to reach a detailed agreement because of different positions between developed and developing countries. The international community included a total of 6 agendas consisting of 3 negotiation agendas and 3 review agendas in the ministerial declaration at the 4th WTO Ministerial Meeting held in Doha in November, 2001, and started negotiations in relation to Doha Development Agenda from January, 2002. Trade and environment issues including trade liberalization with regard to environmental products and services and the establishment of the relationship between trade norms within multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and WTO's trade norms are being discussed under the leadership of Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE).

Discussion in FTA can be divided into concession negotiations in environmental service and environmental agreement negotiations. Above all, concession negotiations in environmental service is progressing by indicating services to be opened among environmental services including waste treatment service, wastewater treatment service, natural landscape protection service, environmental consulting service, etc. into the concession table, and by writing measures limiting service trade including 'national treatment', 'most-favored-nation treatment', 'performance requirements of foreign corporations in the country', 'safeguard measures to market approach', etc. into the annex (reservations list). Korea-the United States FTA opened contaminated soil remediation service and environmental consulting service belonging private environmental service additionally as well as industrial wastewater and waste treatment, air pollution prevention, reduction of noise and vibration, and environmental impact assessment included in the concession list of WTO/DDA submitted in 2005. Korea-EU FTA opened domestic sewage treatment service by the private sector additionally as well as existing opened services. Korea-ASEAN FTA negotiations launched in 2005 contributed to gaining a foothold for environmental cooperation agreement by including CNG environmental cooperation, etc. at a level of securing a bridgehead for the entry of Korean environmental industry into ASEAM market given that ASEAN can be an important market for Korean environmental companies.

Korea-the United States FTA, which came into effect on March 15, 2012, prohibited the exemption or evasion of environmental protection obligations for promoting high level of environmental protection obligations as well as trade and investment by adding a separate environment chapter, and inserted an environment article reinforced by guaranteeing the institution for environmental damage relief and sanctions against environmental law violations and expanding the public's participation opportunity. In addition, Korea-US FTA organized Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) to review the status of environment chapter performance by the two countries, and gave a greater binding power to environment chapter performance by applying general dispute resolution procedures to environmental disputes taking place in either of the two countries and imposing a penalty in case of not fulfilling the panel's decision. According to environment chapter of Korea-the United States FTA, the 1st Korea-US Environmental Affairs Council (EAC) was held in Washington DC on February 14, 2013. At this council, both countries introduced their environmental policies at a level of reviewing environment chapter performance.

Korea-EU FTA also specifies obligation performance of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) including Climate Change Convention ratified by both parties, and prohibition obligation of environmental protection level reduction in case of governing laws by establishing Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter as a separate chapter with regard to environment and labor. The most important characteristic of Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter is to stress the performance of the agreement through consultations between both parties including resolution through consultations between governments instead of general dispute resolution procedures or referral of a dispute to a specialist panel when disputes concerning agreement performance take place. The Agreement also stipulates that Civil Society Forum should be held annually to guarantee the participation of civil society in the process of agreement performance. Thus, Korea and EU held the 1st Trade and Sustainable Development Commission on June 23, 2012, and the 1st Civil Society Forum on June 24, 2012, in Brussel, Belgium, drew up operation rules of the commission, agreed to establish 'Specialist Panel', and discussed cooperation proposals on environmental issues regarding trade including Eco-Labeling.

Last modified : 2013-10-24 19:53

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