About the Project

TREND analytics is a joint project of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn, Germany, and Jean-Frédéric Morin, chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy at Laval University, Canada.

TREND analytics is based on a comprehensive dataset developed by Jean-Frédéric Morin: The TRade and ENvironment Database (TREND) is a unique dataset which tracks more than 300 different environmental provisions relying on the full texts of about 630 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) signed since 1945. Besides the main text, annexes, protocols, side agreements, and side letters have been included as integral parts of the PTA. The database has already been used for cutting-edge research. In order to make TREND useful for broader audiences, including policy-makers, business, academics and the civil society, DIE and Laval University collaborated in setting up TREND analytics.

2020 Update: The Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy released an updated version of the TRade and ENvironment Database (TREND) in 2019. TREND now includes 37 additional PTAs, such as the 2018 USMCA, Australia-Peru 2018, and China-Georgia 2017, as well as new environmental provisions. These updates have been integrated into TREND analytics in February 2020.

Clara Brandi and Axel Berger, researcher at the DIE, and Dominique Bruhn, associate researcher at DIE, lead the development of TREND analytics as you can explore it on this website in close collaboration with Jean-Frédéric Morin. In their work, the researchers focus on interlinkages between global trade, climate and environmental policies, in particular in the context of mushrooming PTAs.

How to use TREND analytics

Watch this introduction video to learn more on how to use TREND analytics:

TREND analytics focuses on bilateral and regional PTA. It is unique, as it offers not only a birds’ eye perspective of the uptake of environmental provisions per trade agreement. It also offers various ways of zooming into the great diversity of environmental provisions over the period of time.

The interactive world map gives you an overview on the number of environmental related provisions by country in the chosen period: the greener a country bubble, the more environment-related provosions it has signed per trade agreement. The size of the bubble is based on the total number of environment-related provisions the respective country has included in all its PTAs. We call these coded items “provisions” rather than “clauses”, "norms" or “rules”. This is not a reflection of their level of obligation, as some provisions are merely aspirational while others are highly enforceable.

Change the period via the time bar under the map. Hover over a country bubble to get more information. Click on the country bubble to explore detailed information about a country’s agreements and the environmental provisions these agreements contain.

Change to the table view to filter by country, by category or by topic and year.

TREND analytics includes a wide variety of environmental provisions included in PTAs. These are the categories used:

  1. The dimension environmental protection collects all provisions that can be clearly assigned an environmental protection purpose. It includes general principles related to environmental protection, obligations on the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources and provisions on very specific environmental issue areas.
  2. The category regulatory space incorporates provisions that more or less explicitly deal with preserving countries’ regulatory space related to the environment. It includes general and more specific exceptions to liberalization commitments, exclusions of specific issue areas as well as the sovereign right to adopt environmental measures (‘right to regulate’).
  3. The level-playing field dimension covers provisions that help to establish a level playing field between the parties. Provisions implicitly address (i) the fear of some developed countries that lower environmental standards in other countries create a comparative advantage and encourage trade and investment flows to their detriment and (ii) the fear of some developing countries that developed countries use higher environmental measures as protectionist instruments. They include obligations to harmonize and not lower environmental standards as well as requirements to base environmental measures on scientific facts and not use them for ‘green protectionism’.
  4. The category policy coherence deals with coherence between environmental regulation and other policy areas. More precisely, provisions specify the relationship between the environment and trade and investment rules as well as the interaction between the environment and more specific issue areas, such as transport, tourism or social issues.
  5. Provisions in the development category are in one way or another taking into account the role of economic development. They include provisions acknowledging different development levels of the Parties and establishing means to support capacity building, technology transfers, disaster relief etc. Moreover, this category covers provisions that protect the interests of developing countries, e.g. their sovereignty over natural and genetic resources.
  6. The dimension multilateral environmental agreements refers to provisions that make reference to international agreements that address rather specific environmental issues. The provisions in this category may oblige the parties to ratify or implement a certain MEA, and they include specifications on whether the MEA prevails over the trade agreement at hand. In sum, provisions under this dimension aim at reinforcing and expanding international environmental commitments.
  7. The category implementation incorporates provisions that specify how the agreement, and more precisely its environmental content, will be implemented. It includes cooperation on establishing institutions for implementation, as well as procedures ensuring public participation and transparency.
  8. The enforcement dimension covers provisions that regulate the enforcement of environmental regulations stipulated in the trade agreement as well as domestic environmental measures.

About the partners

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) is one of the leading think tanks for global development and international cooperation worldwide. Its Klimalog project aims to better connect global climate and development policy with national political and economic realities. It does so by promoting awareness for interlinkages between climate and development policy, and furthering a goal-oriented dialogue between pertinent actors in politics, academia, civil society and the private sector.

The Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy, headed by Jean-Frédéric Morin (Laval University), contributes to a better understanding of globalisation by conducting innovative research projects and by training promising new researchers. Launched in October 2014, it explores the interactions between international trade, environmental protection, foreign investment and intellectual property.


If you have questions or additions to the database, please contact: crc-ipe@pol.ulaval.ca
If you have questions regarding the TREND tool or want to be informed on related news and stories, please contact: klimalog.idos-research.de

Referring to TREND analytics

The German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) holds the copyright to the TREND analytics. It is licensed under Creative Commons and you are free to copy and redistribute material derived from the TREND analytics by following the guideline of the Creative Commons License.
CC BY - ND (full attribution, no derivatives).

Suggested citation:

Berger, Axel/Brandi, Clara/Bruhn, Dominique/Morin, Jean-Frédéric (2017): TREND analytics - Environmental Provisions in Preferential Trade Agreements. German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Bonn, Germany, and Université Laval, Canada. DOI: 10.23661/trendanalytics_2017_1.0

Data source

Morin, Jean-Frédéric / Dür / Lechner (2018): Mapping the Trade and Environment Nexus: Insights from a New Dataset, Global Environmental Politics, vol. 18(1).

TREND relies on trade agreements provided by the Design of Trade Agreements (DESTA) project. The dataset was developed with support of the Center for International Governance Innovation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Laval University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in International Trade and Investment and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. For more information on the dataset, including how the data was collected and reliability statistics visit this website.

Related publications

Brandi, C., Schwab, J., Berger, A., & Morin, J. F. (2020). Do environmental provisions in trade agreements make exports from developing countries greener? World Development, 129 (May).

Jinnah, S., & Morin, J. F. (2020). Greening through trade: How American trade policy is linked to environmental protection abroad. Mit Press.

Blümer, D., Morin, J. F., Brandi, C., & Berger, A. (2019). Environmental provisions in trade agreements: defending regulatory space or pursuing offensive interests? Environmental Politics (online first).

Brandi, C., Blümer, D., & Morin, J. F. (2019). When Do International Treaties Matter for Domestic Environmental Legislation? Global Environmental Politics, 19(4).

Morin, J. F., Blümer, D., Brandi, C., & Berger, A. (2019). Kick-starting diffusion: explaining the varying frequency of PTAs’ environmental clauses by their initial conditions. The World Economy, 42(9).

Morin, J. F., Brandi, C., & Berger, A. (2019). The multilateralization of PTAs’ environmental clauses: Scenarios for the future, in: The shifting landscape of global trade governance. Cambridge University Press.

Morin, J. F., & Jinnah, S. (2018). The untapped potential of preferential trade agreements for climate governance. Environmental Politics, 27(3).

Morin, J. F., Chaudhuri, V., & Gauquelin, M. (2018). Do trade deals encourage environmental cooperation? DIE Briefing Paper 8/2018.

Berger, Axel / Brandi / Bruhn (2017): Environmental provisions in trade agreements: promises at the trade and environment interface. DIE Briefing Paper 16/2017.

Morin, J. F., & Rochette, M. (2017). Transatlantic convergence of preferential trade agreements environmental clauses. Business and Politics, 19(4).

Morin, J. F., Pauwelyn, J., & Hollway, J. (2017). The trade regime as a complex adaptive system: Exploration and exploitation of environmental norms in trade agreements. Journal of International Economic Law, 20(2).

Find more:

Related publications of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Related publications of Jean-Frédéric Morin, Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy

Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung