The Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund have examined the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement leaked by WikiLeaks and determined that the draft could have some devastating environmental consequences.
For those who haven’t been following the story, the TPP is a multilateral trade agreement that would override local regulations where labor rights, the environment and other issues are concerned. For instance, the pact has the potential to be an end-run around fracking prohibitions in the United States.
The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) banded together to analyze the document and discover what was missing. Their findings include:
- A “clear step back” from the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) agreed on by the U.S. and TPP countries in 2007. At the time, Congress and the Bush Administration agreed to “incorporate a specific list of multilateral environmental agreements” in its free trade agreements (FTA), committing the countries to adopting and maintaing those measures and subject them to dispute settlement procedures if need be. Now, TPP countries like Japan, Mexico and New Zealand only need to “affirm” its commitment” to implement the MEAs to which it is a party.
A considerable rollback from the dispute resolution process presented in the May 2007 and recent FTAs. Six years ago, violations of the obligations in the environment chapter could be treated like violations of commercial chapters of the agreement. The organizations who authored Wednesday’s analysis say that’s a critical piece of the agreement that provides backing to environmental provisions and ensures that there are consequences for violating them. According to the Sierra Club, NRDC and WWF, “the consolidated text of the TPP environment chapter, however, sends countries back to a pre-2007 world.”
- The credibility of the article on marine capture fisheries has been severely undercut by a failure to subject commitments to binding dispute settlement. Environmental organizations believe that sections on shark finning, fisheries subsidies and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fish are among those that must be strengthened.
—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer