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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Prof. Wold’s analysis of Trans-Pacific Partnership shared with Congress

December 30, 2015

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has championed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as “the most robust enforceable environment commitments of any trade agreement in history.” It has also hailed the Environment Chapter as an “historic opportunity to advance conservation and environmental protection across the Asia-Pacific” and has claimed that the Environment Chapter “establish[es] pioneering new commitments” relating to fisheries subsidies and wildlife trafficking.

In a new analysis, Empty Promises and Missed Opportunities: An Assessment of the Environmental Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Professor Chris Wold, Director of Lewis & Clark Law School’s International Environmental Law Project, concludes that the TPP’s environmental provisions are weak and unlikely to address the problems of illegal wildlife trade, overfishing, and other environmental concerns. Moreover, the history of previous regional free trade agreements, in which similar issues have been addressed and not enforced, further suggests that the TPP’s Environment Chapter is full of empty promises. With weak, vague, and largely unenforceable provisions, the TPP represents a missed opportunity to address some of the region’s significant environmental problems, including overfishing, shark finning, and illegal trade in rhino horns.

Rep. Paul Tonko (NY-20) distributed Prof. Wold’s analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership to members of Congress, calling it a “thorough and thoughtful report”. 

Read the full report here.


Read Rep. Paul Tonko’s message to Congress here