Industrialization laid the foundation for contemporary civilization but also begot environmental problems, which have been building up and remained unsolved to this day. There is widespread belief that, if industrial manufacturing lies at the root of environment degradation through endless spewing of residual waste, trade among nations is to blame for scattering residual waste the world over. Yet paradoxically, it is the very international trade that might be the ground for major remedies thereto. The 20th century witnessed the shift from free trade to fair trade; it is about time to shift from fair trade to clean trade. Nevertheless, such serious problems had barely been dealt with until the post-World War II period. An awareness-raising effort in this line was made by the European Union which, since the early 1970s, has been dealing with environmental and social issues, especially the ones deriving from international trade, in a decisive and responsible manner. Still, EU’s new policy in the field of environment protection has a downside in that it affects trade relations with partners from outside the Union, both developing and developed countries, thereby drawing fierce international reaction. The good part is that EU’s actions will most likely prompt other nations to follow suit.
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DOI 10.1515/hssr-2017-0023
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