In the nearly 20 years since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force, the linkages between trade and environmental harm have become clearer than ever. Trade agreements can lead to significant adverse environmental impacts, particularly when countries do not have sufficient environmental laws, policies, and institutions—and trade alone will not increase the demand for higher environmental standards. Instead, free trade agreements (FTAs) may lead to significant increases in pollution and serious adverse impacts from certain economic sectors.
CPR Member Scholars Carmen Gonzalez, David Hunter, John Knox, and I sent a letter today to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to express our concerns. We argued that when the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative drafts trade promotion authority legislation to implement the Trans Pacific Partnership and other future trade agreements, it should include strong environmental protection provisions. We make eight recommendations for draft trade promotion authority that would ensure that free trade agreements (FTAs) improve trade-environment linkages: