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November 16, 1999

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"Today, President Clinton is signing an executive order which will help us do more to protect the environment in future trade negotiations. The new executive order will require serious environmental reviews... to shape emerging trade agreements...to better protect our own environment, and the global environment as well."

Vice-President Al Gore
Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Today, President Clinton and Vice President Gore outlined a strategy to ensure that US. and international efforts to expand trade are consistent with a high level of environmental protection worldwide and support sustainable development. The policy initiatives announced today will: ensure that environmental considerations are factored into the development of U.S. trade policy, stake out U.S. policy positions on key environmental issues before the World Trade Organization; and support efforts to improve international environmental practices and standards.

Addressing Environmental and Labor Concerns. As part of his agenda for the new round of trade negotiations in Seattle, Washington later this month, President Clinton today addressed key environmental concerns by:

  • Signing an executive order to require environmental reviews of proposed trade agreements. The President today signed an Executive Order requiring careful assessment and consideration of environmental issues in trade negotiations, including through detailed written reviews of environmentally significant trade agreements. The Executive Order for the first time formally institutionalizes procedures to ensure the timely consideration of environmental issues in the development of U.S. positions for trade negotiations.

  • Issuing a White House declaration of environmental trade policy principles to guide U.S. negotiators and ensure that the work of the WTO is supportive of sustainable development. The WTO Charter explicitly recognizes sustainable development as a fundamental goal. The President today issued a White House Policy Declaration on Environment and Trade outlining a set of principles to ensure that trade rules are supportive of and do not undermine our ability to maintain and fully enforce our environmental laws.

  • Promoting improved environmental practices in developing countries through technical assistance to strengthen their environmental institutions. The U.S. is actively working to ensure that developing countries have the capacity to address environmental management issues as they integrate into the world economy. Our capacity-building activities include efforts to strengthen natural resources management and conservation, integrate economic, social, and environmental objectives into a mutually supportive policy framework, strengthen legal, regulatory, and judicial policies as they relate to environmental management, and address the potential environmental impacts, both positive and negative, of trade and investment liberalization.

  • Providing International Leadership on the Environment. Americans today enjoy the strongest economy and cleanest environment in a generation, and the Clinton-Gore Administration is working with the international community to promote the same objectives around the globe. The United States has played a critical role in international efforts to protect endangered species, phase out highly toxic chemicals, restore fisheries, and address global warming. In addition, the U.S. has applied the highest environmental standards to its overseas lending and development assistance; promoted similar efforts at the World Bank and other multilateral institutions; and led efforts to build environmental safeguards into trade pacts like the North America Free Trade Agreement.

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