The conclusion of the Uruguay Round and activation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the spread of regional free trade agreements and other liberalization measures, heralds an enormous expansion of global trade well into the next century. While this wave of commercial growth and opportunity will have multiple economic, social and legal ramifications, its current and future impact on the environment, and the associated regulatory schemes that may evolve - are coming under particular scrutiny.

There may be no better example of the heightened awareness of the dynamics between trade and the environment than the ongoing development of environmental management standards by the International Standards Organization (ISO), particularly the "ISO 14000" series. Briefly, these standards, which are being developed by the Technical Committee (TC 207) of the ISO, are designed to provide organizations with a common approach to environmental management, based on responsible and verifiable operating strategies voluntarily implemented.

ISO 14000 seeks the more efficient use of natural resources, and enhanced environmental protection, through the development of corporate environmental policies, environmental objectives and targets to meet these goals, strategic plans and management programs for implementation, and performance evaluation and auditing procedures. These standards will cover environmental management systems; environmental auditing; product life-cycle analysis; and environmental labeling.

Certification of ISO 14000 compliance may become a necessary component of international competitiveness as these standards are finalized and companies begin their internalization. Consequently, practitioners specializing both in environmental and international trade law will need to know about them. The confluence of environmental and trade issues posed by these emerging standards will challenge counsel in various ways.

For example, from a policy development perspective, an opportunity exists at the multilateral level to affect the final version of the standards, issued by the ISO, as well as to shape the WTO's views on the role of standards in connection with trade and the environment. Input at the regional, national or local level may also be warranted on the appropriate role of governmental entities seeking to extend, retain or waive jurisdiction in this area. As the potential certainly exists for these standards to be used as a pretext to raise new trade barriers in violation of WTO rules, trade counsel must be prepared to advise companies adversely affected by such abuses.

And of course, sound advice from experienced environmental lawyers will be fundamental to the successful formulation and implementation of (and adherence to), a conforming environmental management regime under ISO 14000.

WilmerHale, with its active environmental and international trade specializations, is particularly well-situated to coordinate PRAC's work in this area. Our environmental practice is engaged in the broadcast range of eco-management issues, including environmental audits; assessment of environmental and hazardous waste risks; lobbying; litigation in federal, state, and administrative proceedings on major civil and criminal matters; obtaining complex air emission and water discharge permits; insurance policy claims for reimbursement and indemnity; wetlands regulation; cogeneration plant and hydroelectric dam permits; Superfund proceedings; and many other areas.

Our Trade Department regularly advises companies facing unfair competition in both the United States and abroad, including non-tariff barriers to trade. Our attorneys are extremely familiar with the new WTO rules, and played key roles in their negotiation and implementation. Our trade attorneys and trade economists offer extensive experience in trade litigation and policy matters before federal agencies, Congress and the courts. They also work closely with both the firm's environmental and international practice groups on matters of mutual interest.

The conclusion of the Uruguay Round and activation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the spread of regional free trade agreements and other liberalization measures, heralds an enormous expansion of global trade well into the next century. While this wave of commercial growth and opportunity will have multiple economic, social and legal ramifications, its current and future impact on the environment, and the associated regulatory schemes that may evolve - are coming under particular scrutiny.

There may be no better example of the heightened awareness of the dynamics between trade and the environment than the ongoing development of environmental management standards by the International Standards Organization (ISO), particularly the "ISO 14000" series. Briefly, these standards, which are being developed by the Technical Committee (TC 207) of the ISO, are designed to provide organizations with a common approach to environmental management, based on responsible and verifiable operating strategies voluntarily implemented.

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Clayton, Carol

Carol Clayton

Partner-in-Charge, Washington DC Office

Chair, Environmental Practice

+1 202 663 6650 (t)

carol.clayton@wilmerhale.com

Clayton, Carol

Carol Clayton

Partner

+1 202 663 6650 (t)

carol.clayton@wilmerhale.com

Cohn, Andrew H.

Andrew H. Cohn

Partner

+1 617 526 6218 (t)

andrew.cohn@wilmerhale.com

Kalpin, Mark C.

Mark C. Kalpin

Partner

+1 617 526 6176 (t)

mark.kalpin@wilmerhale.com

Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch

Partner

+1 617 526 6779 (t)

rob.kirsch@wilmerhale.com

Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis

Partner

+32 2 285 49 53 (t)

frederic.louis@wilmerhale.com

Ross, Lester

Lester Ross

Partner

+86 10 5901 6588 (t)

lester.ross@wilmerhale.com

Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

ken.salazar@wilmerhale.com

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth

Partner

+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)

martin.seyfarth@wilmerhale.com

Publications & News

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October 15, 2014

Restrictions Governing International Trade in Genetic Resources Enter Into Force

On October 12, 2014, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits from their Utilization entered into international force. The Protocol establishes a new legal framework to govern access to and utilization of genetic resources, including genetic material and any naturally occurring derivative compound.

February 1, 2013

Expanded European Union Sanctions Against Iran

September 15, 2010

U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers Release Inaugural Best Law Firms Rankings

WilmerHale earns first-tier rankings for a dozen national practices.

August 12, 2010

90 WilmerHale Lawyers Named to The Best Lawyers in America® 2011

June 11, 2010

Chambers USA 2010 Reveals Final Results Ranking 101 WilmerHale Lawyers and Dozens of Practices

March 18, 2010

Chambers USA 2010 Honors WilmerHale, Ranking Over 100 Lawyers and Dozens of Practices

December 7, 2009

WilmerHale is Among Crain’s “New York City’s Best Places to Work”

May 14, 2008

What's Next for Mercury? Uncertainty After New Jersey v. EPA

An article by Ken Meade and Robert McKeehan published in the Environmental Litigation Report, Vol. 28, issue 21.

March 28, 2006

China Releases Measures for the Administration of the Control of Pollution by Electronic Information Products