Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Text Threatens the Environment, Public Health, and Democracy

November 5, 2015

Washington, DC – After more than 5 years of negotiations, countries agreed on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal last month. In text of the agreement published this morning by New Zealand, widespread public concerns about this agreement were confirmed: TPP threatens the environment, public health, and democracy.

CIEL Attorney Melissa Blue Sky said:

It is a fact: TPP fails to protect the environment. This is true in spite of the White House’s claim that TPP “includes the strongest commitments on labor and the environment of any trade agreement in history, and those commitments are enforceable, unlike in past agreements.”

While past agreements have contained similar enforcement provisions for the environment chapter, no Party has ever brought a formal case based on the environmental provisions of any US free trade agreement—despite documented violations. In fact, the only provision related to the environment used with regularity is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which allows companies to sue governments for enacting and upholding environmental laws.

The history of US trade agreement enforcement—or lack thereof—shows that any minimal gains from new commitments on the environment under TPP pale in comparison to the negative human and environmental effects of its commercial and ISDS provisions. For the protection of people and the planet, Congress should reject this trade deal.

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