Global Trade and Customs Journal

Volume 12 (2017)

Volume 12 (2017) / Issue 11/12

Bruno G. Simões, Tobias Dolle, 'How to Properly Account for Sustainable Production and Supply Chains in Modern Tariff Schedules and Trade Rules' (2017) 12 Global Trade and Customs Journal, Issue 11/12, pp. 484–490


A recent Resolution adopted by the European Parliament on ‘palm oil and deforestation of rainforests’ included, among its Recommendations, a call to reform the tariff classifications maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO), so as to recognize sustainable versus unsustainable palm oil. Furthermore, the Resolution called for such a differentiation, at least for products imported into the EU, to be based on yet-to-be-developed sustainability criteria, which the Resolution also outlined and called for. This article explores the potential feasibility of distinguishing tariff classifications based on process-characteristics rather than product-characteristics, while contrasting such approach to non-tariff related measures implemented by major economies (e.g., tying biofuel subsidies to ‘renewability’ in the United States, or to ‘sustainability’ in the European Union). The article also discusses the sustainability criteria outlined and proposed by the European Parliament, as well as their relation to other sustainability criteria present on the world stage, trying to identify the scope, tools and legal ambits through which tariff advantages could be provided to sustainable products in a WTO consistent and non-discriminatory manner.

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ISSN: 1569-755X
ID: GTCJ2017063