Sizing Up the TPP Environment Chapter


by Jean-Frédéric Morin, Chair and global environmental governance expert, and Guillaume Beaumier researcher, at the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy at Laval University.

As negotiations continue on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the trade deal between the U.S. and European Union, it becomes abundantly clear how complicated and difficult it is to find consensus. With many moving parts and different economic systems, a negotiated agreement necessarily requires compromise. Despite this, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) concluded last October between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries is held out as “includ[ing] the most robust enforceable environment commitments of any trade agreement in history.”

This would be a remarkable achievement. So we set out to evaluate the claim. Using the DESTA database, we scrutinized all 660 trade deals signed after 1948 in the system and found that more than 90 percent of TPP environmental provisions can be found in previous U.S. trade deals. The rest is largely inspired by agreements concluded by other Pacific Rim countries and the European Union. But this does not mean that the TPP fails to live up to its claim. On the contrary, by combining different approaches and standards on protecting the environment the TPP ends up being one of the most comprehensive agreements ever undertaken. And it just may prove a promising formula.

You can read the story here.