Logo for Center for Trade, Environment and Development.

About Us

The Center for Trade, Environment and Development (CTED) is an independent research center affiliated with the Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). The Center supports research on trade and investment policies and patterns through the lens of social and environmental outcomes.

CTED’s directors are Drs. Abigail Cooke, Trina Hamilton, and Marion Werner. CTED’s network also includes affiliated faculty from UB’s Department of Geography, the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Cross-Border Legal Studies Center. It is associated with the International Trade Program at UB, which offers BA and MA degrees.


CTED seeks to be a recognized source for independent research and analysis on international trade, investment, and governance, and to contribute to both policy and public debates on these issues.

We aim to create an intellectual and policy space for alternatives that do not submit to the false binary of nationalist protection versus neoliberal globalization. Thus, we support research that disrupts this dualism with an eye toward progressive, more equitable global relations of trade and investment.


  1. CTED draws on multiple methods to unpack and redefine typical trade debates, which are often based upon national-level comparisons.  Instead, we offer research and analysis primarily at the sub-national scale and network level in order to better understand the specificities of global connections and their varied and uneven consequences.
  2. CTED advocates for the development and use of a global justice framework for evaluating trade and investment.
  3. CTED documents, analyses, and promotes innovations in trade governance and alternative development projects that can address rising inequality, uneven development, and environmental degradation.
  4. CTED supports analysis on emerging patterns of trade and investment amongst countries of the Global South.


UB’s Canada-United States Trade Center (CUSTAC) was launched in 1989 by Dr. Jim McConnell with a mission to conduct applied and policy-oriented research on the evolving nature of Canada-US commercial relations, including trade, capital investment, border management, and regulatory conditions.

Drs. Jim McConnell and Alan MacPherson, both industrial geographers, directed the Center over several decades, establishing important links to the trade policy and professional communities in the Buffalo-Niagara region and beyond. Dr. McConnell’s research focused on spatial patterns of foreign direct investment, regional economic integration, firm-level competitiveness, and Canada-US commercial interactions. Dr. MacPherson’s principal research interest was the relationship between technological innovation and regional economic development. He also had an active interest in export development and Canada-United States trade.

In 2017, we re-launched the Center as CTED, with an expanded mission to better reflect our current faculty expertise and the needs of the trade and development policy and practitioner communities.