PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (8): 1027-1038.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.08.012

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress of environmental effects of international trade: A global-local perspective

Xiyan MAO1,2(), Canfei HE1,2,*()   

  1. 1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2. Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, Beijing 100871, China
  • Online:2016-08-25 Published:2016-08-25
  • Contact: Canfei HE;
  • Supported by:
    National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, No.41425001;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41271130


Trade-environment relationship is one of the major manifestations of the coupled human-environment system, exhibiting significant complexity and uncertainty. Studies on the environmental effects of trade (EET) seek to explore the complementary or competing relationship between free trade and environment conservation, and give birth to a series of theories and hypotheses. Since globalization has witnessed increasing global-local interactions, this article outlines a framework of global connection, national power, and regional development to review existing studies on EET. It highlights how the process (flows) and the outcome (stocks) of trade work together to generate EET. Based on neo-classical international trade theory, this study identifies three types of stocks, namely location, growth, and regulation. In contrast, the integration of international trade and investment indicates the importance of intra-industry trade. This study shows that existing literature on EET is primarily based on the global and national scale, showing a "top-down" trend, where the role of environmental regulation stands at the center. However, these studies failed to incorporate the localized factors and neglected the interaction between trade policy and environmental regulation. They are also confined to the "north-south" trade and cease to follow the changing geography of trade. Accordingly, this article argues that EET studies should pay closer attention to regional development from a "glocalization" perspective to: (1) consider the expanding trade-induced regional inequality; (2) adapt to the coexistence of intra-and inter-industry trade; and (3) produce a proper scale for the coordination between trade policy and environmental regulation.

Key words: glocalization, environmental regulation, regional development, intra-industry trade, geography of trade, progress