A secret draft of what would be Australia's biggest trade agreement shows it will be toothless in enforcing environmental agreements. The draft environment chapter of the twelve-nation Trans Pacific Partnership agreement published by WikiLeaks proposes next to no enforcement mechanisms with those that are suggested opposed by each of the 12 nations other than the United Stastes [sic\.
The TPP would cover almost 40 percent of the global economy and create a free trade zone reaching from North America to Japan and New Zealand, and the United States is keen to wrap up talks in the coming months.
But the World Wildlife Fund said a November draft of the environment chapter text, which was among the documents released by WikiLeaks, lacked teeth and showed countries were backsliding on past promises and their responsibility to stamp out trade in endangered species.
"The most glaring omission is the lack of fully enforceable environmental provisions," World Wildlife Fund senior program officer Vanessa Dick said.
The leaked document from November is only a draft, but if the trade pact's final environmental chapter looks like it.
The draft indicates the pact will include a number of promises on the environment, but will lack strong enforcement tools. "When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures," wrote WikiLeaks in its release.
"This draft chapter falls flat on every single one of our issues - oceans, fish, wildlife, and forest protections - and in fact, rolls back on the progress made in past free trade pacts," Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a joint release from the three groups.
there remains significant disagreement among the parties on many of the pact's provisions. The chairs wrote that Vietnam, Peru and Malaysia object to a provision calling for countries to "rationalize and phase out" fossil fuel subsidies "that encourage wasteful consumption." They also noted that the United States and Australia object to the climate change portion of the pact as it is written.
Negotiation of the pact has been underway since 2010, but all discussions take place entirely outside of public view. The Obama administration has already received backlash for leaked portions of the pact that indicate it would grant greater rights to corporations to challenge national laws in private courts.
The environment chapter is the second published by WikiLeaks. The first, on intellectual property showed the US with Australian support attempting to impose on other countries tougher rules that would have strengthened the hand of copyright owners in disputes with consumers.
Voice of Russia, motherjones.com, smh.com.au