The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Environmental Regulation
In Megaregulation Contested: Global Economic Ordering After TPP (Benedict Kingsbury, et al., eds., Oxford University Press, 2019 Forthcoming)
31 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2018 Last revised: 27 Feb 2019
Date Written: April 1, 2018
This article examines the environment-related provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) to assess how and how much they contribute to a larger megaregulatory program for the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP calls for ‘high levels’ of environmental protection and effective enforcement; incorporates duties from several multilateral environmental agreements; adds new provisions addressing several important environmental problems; mandates administrative best practices; promotes corporate social responsibility and the use of voluntary certification systems; and provides implementation mechanisms for most of these provisions ranging from Party negotiations to committee processes and binding arbitration. On the whole, it promotes a model of environmental regulation consistent with that of most OECD countries. The resulting movement toward cross-border regulatory alignment is likely to make member state environmental programs increasingly legible and navigable for transnational business actors. Alignment dynamics are likely to contribute to increased economic and political integration through implementation of common administrative techniques, increasing communication and idea-sharing among mandated committees and resulting networks of officials, and increased trade and regulatory interactions across member states. The TPP’s environmental regulatory program is quite different from China’s current model, and seems likely to provide an important arena for engaging and countering Chinese policies. While the TPP’s environmental provisions are likely to spur improved environmental regulation in some member countries, they do not point toward a governance system capable of controlling the environmental degradation brought by continuingly intensifying production and trade.
Keywords: administrative regulation, Asia-Pacific, environmental governance, environmental law, environmental regulation, free trade agreement, global governance, investor-state dispute resolution, international environmental law, international trade, mega-regional trade agreement, trans-pacific partnership
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