The United States has long granted trade preferences to developing countries that meet various criteria. These criteria, which are stipulated by the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), have changed with time — reflecting U.S. economic and foreign policy priorities.

While the criteria include non-support for terrorism, enforcement of intellectual property rights, and respect for internationally recognized worker rights, the GSP does not include an environmental provision.

With the current U.S. GSP program set to expire at the end of December, the following brief lays out a proposal for the ratification and implementation of environmental standards into U.S. trade agreements.