TPP trade negotiations in Maui fail
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the trade ministers of other Pacific Rim countries meeting in Maui failed to reach agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal. This is a blow to President Obama who desperately wants the TPP approved before he leaves office.
The U.S. negotiators are trying to divert attention from this failure by claiming that an agreement concluded in Maui on the TPP environment chapter is a major success. This is incorrect. Environmental chapters in recent U.S. free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Korea, and Panama are narrow in scope dealing mainly with conservation issues. Not a single one of these agreements has resulted in a U.S. suit to enforce obligations to curb trade in illegally-harvested timber or illegal trade in endangered species. Now, it appears that the TPP environment chapter may be even weaker than its predecessors, and that many of its provisions will be merely aspirational and not legally binding.
Bill Waren, senior trade analyst at Friends of the Earth, issued this statement:
“Friends of the Earth is increasingly optimistic that Congress will heed our call and reject an environmentally destructive TPP deal that will ramp up fossil fuel exports overheating the planet and roll back environmental and public health safeguards. Members of Congress will come to understand that the TPP environment chapter is totally inadequate. It is too narrow and will not be effectively enforced.”