US: TPP environmental draft judged “toothless” by Wikileaks
A leaked secret draft shows the Environment Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a “toothless public relations exercise”, according to Wikileaks.
The whistle-blowing organisation, which published the draft from November’s TPP talks in Utah, said it outlined the 12 countries’ positions on environmental issues, the trade and investment in environmental goods services, and outlines the resolution of environmental disputes.
But Wikileaks said the draft was noteworthy for the absence of “mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures”, instead creating cooperative dispute settlement mechanisms without required penalties or criminal sanctions.
“Today’s Wikileaks release shows that the public sweetener in the TPP is just media sugar water,” said Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange.
“The fabled TPP environmental chapter turns out to be a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”
TPP is being negotiated by 12 countries initially, which Wikileaks said encompass 40% of global GDP and one-third of world trade.
Current TPP negotiation member states include the US, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
Without directly referencing the Wikileaks claims, the US Trade Representative issued a statement outlining its position on the environment in the TPP talks.
"Environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement," the statement said.
It continued: "Our proposals in the TPP are centered around the enforcement of environmental laws, including those implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in TPP partner countries, and also around trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals that will raise standards across the region.
"Furthermore, our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement."
It also stressed: "The entire TPP negotiation, including on the environmental chapter, is ongoing."
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