The TPP: Power to the Corporations at the Expense of the Planet

The TPP trade deal would expand a system of corporate rights and private courts that threaten progress on some of our most urgent environmental issues, writes Thomas McDonagh.

 

In January 15th last, Wikileaks revealed the proposed environmental chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

 

This massive trade deal, despite its implications for sensitive policy areas such as access to medicines and food safety across North America, Peru, Chile, Australia, Japan and beyond had, until recently, been kept far away from the public spotlight.

 

Negotiations take place behind closed doors and not even public representatives from the countries involved have access to the negotiating text.

 

Lip service to green concerns

 

Thanks to a series of leaks, however, the veil of secrecy surrounding the deal is slowly being lifted and what is at stake is coming much more clearly into focus. Last month’s leaked environmental chapter confirmed the worst suspicions of many green groups.

 

As reported by Chris Lang in The Ecologist recently, on issues from forest protection, to fisheries, to trade in endangered species, the deal falls way short of what they had proposed to negotiators.

 

And the lack of enforceability mechanisms makes the whole environmental chapter seem less like an attempt to implement robust international legislation and more like lip service to environmental concerns.

 

Investor rights are paramount

 

There is another chapter of the proposed TPP deal, however, that does have real teeth and that comes with strong enforceability provisions.

The investment chapter of the deal seeks to give corporations a wide range of investor rights and….

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