Friends of the Earth has long been at forefront of the policy debate on trade and the environment, documenting the ways in which international trade deals subvert environmental protections, such as climate change measures and regulation of mining, land use, and bio-technology. And, we are using our research to contribute to policy discussions.
Trans Pacific Partnership
Called the “NAFTA of the Pacific,” the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement would be a platform for economic integration and government deregulation for nations surrounding the Pacific. Current negotiating parties include the U.S., Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada, and others may join soon. The TPP is a potential danger to the planet, subverting environmental priorities, such as climate change measures and regulation of mining, land use, and bio-technology.
The investment chapters of many trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, allow multinational corporations to sue governments directly when they believe domestic laws or regulations, including environmental measures, impinge upon their company’s “property rights.” In trade law, these rights also include a corporation’s expectation of gain or profit. These investment chapters have led to outrageous attacks on the environment and human rights in such cases as Renco v. Peru, Chevron v. Ecuador, Metalclad v. Mexico, and many others.
World Trade Organization
Friends of the Earth is also involved in defending environmental policies that are under attack through World Trade Organization agreements. For example, a WTO appellate tribunal ruled that that the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labeling program violates international trade law: a truly disgraceful decision that puts the lives and well being of millions of dolphins at risk. Friends of the Earth is also studying the adverse impact of WTO rules on green energy policy.