Saturday, February 22, 2014

Trans-Pacific Partnership dead in the water?

It's gradually looking like the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement will be scuttled. More than 120 US Congressmen have written to the US Trade Representative in Washington (Michael Froman) expressing concern that the TPP may weaken environmental protections.

This prompted Ilana Solomon, Director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, to release the following statement:
"Members of Congress have sent a clear message that they will not accept a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal if it lacks a fully enforceable and robust environment chapter.

"Recently leaked documents show us that while the U.S. government is pushing to strengthen conservation elements of the chapter, it’s also pushing to weaken rules related to climate disruption and biodiversity.

“An acceptable environment chapter must address many challenges -- from trade in illegally harvested timber to harmful practices like shark finning -- and would need to be supported by a full trade deal that doesn’t cut away at progress that has been made to keep our air, water, and land clean.

That means negotiators should reject the dispute resolution process that gives corporations unfettered rights, and the U.S. government should push to ensure foreign companies don’t seize control of American gas exports and open the floodgate to more dangerous fracking.”

Hopefully discussions currently underway in Singapore will fail.

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