International trade governance and sustainable transport: the expansion of electric vehicles

Road transport accounts for about one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions and these are growing rapidly, particularly in developing countries. Decarbonisation of transport is essential not only for climate change mitigation efforts but also in tackling the growing problem of air pollution, responsible for millions of deaths annually worldwide. Electrification of road transport looks set to play a significant role in these decarbonisation efforts and it will be useful to ask what role international trade governance can play in facilitating, or indeed accelerating, this transition towards electric vehicles. Electrification of road transport will have major implications for existing global automobile supply chains and may create new opportunities for production and trade. This paper has been conceived as an exploratory scoping exercise intended to identify and better understand trade-related issues and knowledge gaps, including how various types of trade measures and policies affect the electric vehicle industry and its value chains.