May 01, 2016

The environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership: An environmental agreement within a trade agreement

Howard F. Chang

Starting with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States has made striking progress in linking trade liberalization in its trade agreements with obligations to protect the environment. This trend began in 1993, when the United States negotiated an environmental side agreement to supplement NAFTA before its approval by Congress. Since then, the United States has incorporated additional significant environmental obligations into its free trade agreements. The recent Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) represents the most important manifestation to date of this promising development in international trade law. The TPP currently awaits congressional approval and cannot enter into force without it.

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