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By Kate Sheppard 01/15/2014 12:22 pm EST Updated: 01/15/2014 5:18 pm EST WASHINGTON -- WikiLeaks published a leaked draft of the environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Wednesday, and environmental groups are lining up to take a swing. The leaked documents come from a meeting of the trade deal's chief negotiators held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Nov. 19 to 24, 2013. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes 12 countries - the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei - and would govern a number of international environmental and trade issues. 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. The chapter is intended to deal with issues like overfishing, trade of wood products, wildlife crime, and illegal logging. But most of the measures in the chapter are voluntary, rather than binding, and do not include penalties or criminal sanctions for violations. Compliance is largely left to the respective countries. Enviros offered similar criticism. "The lack of fully-enforceable environmental safeguards means negotiators are allowing a unique opportunity to protect wildlife and support legal sustainable trade of renewable resources to slip through their fingers, said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund, in a statement. The leaked document from November is only a draft, but if the trade pact's final environmental chapter looks like it, it would make the Obama administration's environmental trade record "worse than George W. Bushs," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. 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. According to a report from the chairs of the TPP Environmental Working Group drafting the chapter, also released by WikiLeaks, 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. Efforts to fast-track the trade deal met resistance from Democrats in Congress this week. UPDATE: 5:15 p.m. -- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued a response to the release on Wednesday afternoon. From the statement: The United States' position on the environment in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations is this: environmental stewardship is a core American value, and we will insist on a robust, fully enforceable environment chapter in the TPP or we will not come to agreement. Our proposals in the TPP are centered around the enforcement of environmental laws, including those implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) in TPP partner countries, and also around trailblazing, first-ever conservation proposals that will raise standards across the region. Furthermore, our proposals would enhance international cooperation and create new opportunities for public participation in environmental governance and enforcement. Read the full statement here. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/tpp-environment_n_4602727.html?ir=Politics Wikileak Document PDF https://wikileaks.org/tpp2/static/pdf/tpp-treaty-environment-chapter.pdf
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement aimed at deepening economic ties between the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and eight other countries in the region, has been largely shrouded in secrecy. Today, however, whistleblower outfit Wikileaks leaked a copy of the agreement’s “most controversial chapter” which has prompted immediate criticism of its SOPA-like provisions that have Internet freedom-limiting potential. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently working towards the creation of a regional free-trade agreement between several Asia-Pacific countries which together account for around 40% of the world’s GDP. The agreement aims to create deep economic ties between a dozen countries – Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, United States, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand – by easing trade in goods and services, encouraging investment, and forging understandings across a wide range of policy issues. Negotiations between the nations have been running for around two and a half years and the TPP agreement itself is now reportedly more than 1,000 pages deep. Overall the negotiations have drawn criticism for their secrecy but today Wikileaks announced that they had obtained a copy of the “most controversial chapter” from the TPP agreement which reveals the negotiation positions for all 12 countries on IP and copyright issues. Many topics are covered in the chapter including DRM and other ‘technical measures’, extended copyright terms, increased penalties for infringement and ISP liability, the latter with a proposal for “adopting and reasonably implementing a policy that provides for termination in appropriate circumstances of the accounts of repeat infringers.” Reception to the leaked agreement has so far been highly critical. Knowledge Ecology International notes that the TPP IPR chapter not only proposes the granting of more patents, expansion of rightsholder privileges and increased penalties for infringement, but also plans the creation of intellectual property rights on data. “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation,” KEI concludes. Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, says that some of the proposals in the text evoke memories of the controversial SOPA legislation in the United States. “The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit Internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force Internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s Internet access,” Kilic says. Collectively the items in this version of the leaked draft reveal argument and opposition on dozens if not hundreds of points from one or several countries. In fact while there are many, many proposals, it is striking that there is a clear lack of final agreement across the board on almost all of the issues. Kilic describes the proposals as having reached a “negotiation stalemate.” His colleague, Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, lays the blame for that at the feet of the United States. “Given how much text remains disputed, the negotiation will be very difficult to conclude,” Maybarduk says. “Much more forward-looking proposals have been advanced by the other parties, but unless the U.S drops its out-there-alone demands, there may be no deal at all.” The full agreement can be downloaded here (PDF). Source: TorrentFreak