Interim Environmental Review of Trans-Pacific Partnership Open for Comments
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is accepting through Sept. 25 comments on the interim environmental review of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. USTR states that the purpose of environmental reviews is to ensure that policymakers and the public are informed about reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of trade agreements (both positive and negative), to identify complementarities between trade and environmental objectives, and to help shape appropriate responses if environmental impacts are identified. The TPP review contains the following provisional conclusions and identifies areas for further attention in the course of the negotiations and the review of the final agreement.
- The increased trade that is estimated to result from the TPP is not likely to result in significant adverse environmental impacts in the U.S. Specific issues identified for further analysis include the potential for increased trade to contribute to localized environmental impacts at selected U.S. maritime ports, increased risk of introduction of invasive species, and potential environmental impacts due to increased domestic liquefied natural gas production driven by prospective TPP trade. In each case, the likelihood and magnitude of any increased risks resulting from the TPP, while difficult to quantify, appear to be small.
- Based on an analysis of the impact of comparable provisions of previous free trade agreements, the TPP is not expected to have a negative impact on the ability of U.S. government authorities to enforce or maintain U.S. environmental laws or regulations.
- While the focus of this interim review is on environmental impacts in the U.S., it also examines a variety of transboundary and global issues to identify possible environmental concerns to be considered in the course of the TPP negotiations as well as areas for possible priority attention in bilateral and regional cooperation. USTR’s preliminary analysis concludes that the likelihood and magnitude of any increased risks with respect to these issues, while difficult to quantify, appears to be small.
- The TPP could have positive environmental impacts in partner countries by reinforcing efforts to effectively enforce environmental laws and enhance the conservation of natural resources, accelerating economic growth and development through trade and investment which could make environmental protection a higher priority, and disseminating environmentally beneficial technologies and services. The TPP also provides a context for enhancing bilateral and regional cooperation activities to address environmental issues of concern.