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MN Researchers: TPP Deal Could Hurt Local Green-Friendly Programs


Thursday, September 15, 2016   

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A new report indicates that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could hinder the climate protection goals of all the countries involved.

Research for the "Climate Cost of Free Trade” report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy said the TPP agreement between the U.S. and 11 other countries would allow corporations to challenge climate-related policies. That could mean that companies could sue a country if that corporation believed an environmental protection law hindered its ability to turn a profit.

Report author Ben Lilliston with the Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy said the TPP and other trade deals - including NAFTA - are operating in climate-change denial.

"This trade agreement will expand trade in sectors that are high greenhouse-gas emitters; so, the oil and natural-gas industry, the coal industry,” Williston said. "And these are the sectors that we need to be addressing if we're going to try to reduce greenhouse-gas emission."

Lilliston and other critics of the TPP say the deal should be scrapped in favor of a trade deal that's more in line with last year's Paris climate agreement. However supporters of the TPP say it would be a boon to U.S. agriculture and manufacturing.

On Friday, India filed a World Trade Organization complaint against eight U.S. states, including Minnesota, over policies such as the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program. The country argued that these incentives put Indian solar companies at global-trade disadvantage.

Lilliston said he believes that if the TPP is passed, these trade disputes will only multiply.

"Companies will now be able to bring cases, so not just countries like India,” she explained. "If they feel that government programs are somehow leaving them out of their potential to make a profit, we're going to see more and more of these fights around trade and climate change and renewable energy."

The report suggested that the U.S. propose a new trade deal that's less influenced by multinational corporations and financial firms and more open to public debate.

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