|Abstract We have arrived at a critical juncture when it comes to understanding the numerous ways in which trade interacts with climate change and energy (trade-climate-energy nexus). Trade remains crucial for the sustainable development of the world's greatest trading nation: China. After clarifying the linkages within the trade, climate change and energy nexus, this article delves into China's specific needs and interests related to trade, climate change and energy. Then it explores the ways in which trade can contribute to China's needs, to sustainable energy development and to the goals of the global climate agreement that is under negotiation. One main findings are China is a key participant in negotiations on trade liberalization of environmental technologies and services. These negotiations are in China's interests in terms of innovative industries, technological upgrading, employment and public health. China could stand up for the interests of other emerging and developing countries and serve as an example in terms of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Beyond trade barriers issues of domestic (energy) regulation such as fossil-fuel subsidies as well as investment, competition-policy, tradefacilitation and transit issues related to clean energy need to be addressed. Building trust between relevant actors across sectors and national borders will be of the essence in order to foster long-term cooperation on technological innovation. As a way forward, different approaches towards the governance of trade and climate change will be highlighted. Besides discussing the specific aspects of Chinese participation in global trade and climate change governance, this paper aims at offering broader insights into the nexus between trade, energy and climate governance in China.