Time to get excited, everyone: There’s a freshly leaked document from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in town, courtesy of the Peruvian website Redge.org. The mega-secretive, three-years-in-the-making international trade deal that would create a NAFTA-style agreement among the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam (and maybe, just maybe, China …) has only had three other documents leaked over the past four years.
The previous leaks have been enough to send an eclectic range of Americans into apoplexy — civil liberties folks, workers rights folks, farmers, Tea Partiers, and public health advocates. Mostly this is because of the treaty’s investments chapter — which, like NAFTA, would allow any company based in one member country that has an investment in another member country to sue that country in a secret tribunal if its rules covering things like civil liberties, workers’ rights, environmental standards, or public health mess with the litigant’s profitability.
But the agreement also has an environmental chapter, which was leaked this January. The chapter was supposed to establish a pragmatic set of standards among the trade partners as to what constituted acceptable environmental regulations and what kinds of things they should work together to make sure they don’t run out of: fish; the air; the planet; rare and endangered animals; trees.
Instead, the leaked draft was a collection of vague, unenforceable statements, asking that its signatories do things like “make best efforts to refrain” from overfishing. Missing from it were any penalties or sanctions — all a country found to be violating these principles would have to do is promise to work toward changing its ways.