world trade routes_2Clients and collaborators  For the past two decades, we have supported state governments, international coalitions, and public interest advocates who work on trade and investment policy.  Their goal is to preserve policy space for governments to provide or regulate essential services (e.g., energy, health care, food markets), set labor standards, and regulate products that affect the environment and public health.  See our list of trade-related clients and collaborators here.

Projects on Trade and Investment Policy

Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – The United States is negotiating a trans-Atlantic trade and investment agreement with the European Union that could restrict affect the ability of governments to regulate in a wide variety of areas, including climate change, public services, and tobacco control.

fossil fuel subsidiesUsing TTIP to reduce fossil fuel subsidies – The European Commission estimates that TTIP will make climate change worse for a number of reasons, including more cross-Atlantic trade in fossil fuels and indirect stimulus to consume fossil fuels in places like China.  The Greens Group in the European Parliament responded by asking the Harrison Institute to prepare a paper that explains how the TTIP negotiators could set trade rules to limit fossil fuel subsidies.  Progress in the TTIP would create momentum for wider subsidy reform in the G-20, where efforts to limit fossil fuel subsidies have stalled.  Recent work:

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) –  The United States has completed negotiations to create the TPP, a "21st Century Trade Agreement."With12 countries at the start, it would become the largest trade agreement outside of the WTO.  The TPP's chapters are WTO-plus –expanding rules and coverage beyond the baseline of WTO agreements.  We did work for multiple clients to identify ways in which the TPP could shrink the policy space for governments to provide or regulate services, investments, procurement, and products that affect public health.   Recent work:

plain packagingTobacco in trade and investment agreements – For over a decade, Congress has prohibited U.S. negotiators from using trade agreements to promote tobacco trade to undermine restrictions on tobacco products imposed by other countries.  Nonetheless, the past eight U.S. trade agreements eliminate tobacco tariffs and provide investors with rights similar to those that Philip Morris is using to challenge tobacco control in Australia and Uruguay.  We are working with an international coalition that seeks to protect tobacco-control measures from being challenged under trade and investment agreements, including the TPP and TTIP.  Recent work:

Foreign investor rights – Foreign investors are using some of the 3,000 International Investment Agreements (IIAs) to challenge regulations in the public interest:tobacco controls, mining permits, and hazardous waste regulations, to name a few.  For the past 10 years, we have worked with clients and collaborators in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America on reform of IIAs.  Several countries have begun to limit their IIAs so that foreign investors do not have greater rights than citizens enjoy under domestic law.  The United States is presently negotiating an investment chapter in TTIP and new bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with China and India.   Recent work:

house on fireTrade in Services Agreement (TiSA) – A coalition of countries is pushing for TiSA, a WTO-plus agreement that would expand commitments on trade in services.  If adopted, TiSA would cover $44 trillion in services trade, about 80 percent of global GDP.  It would prohibit discrimination, quantitative limits (market access limits) such as quotas or prohibitions on risky services, and impose "disciplines" on domestic regulation of services. If adopted as proposed, TiSA would limit the power of governments to regulate service industries (energy, banking, hazardous waste, etc.) and alter the constitutional balance of power between the federal government and states.  We are working with Public Services International and sub-national governments that seek to moderate these proposals in keeping with state practice in domestic law.

  • Will TiSA affect your services? – Forthcoming 2016, Robert Stumberg

Trade limits on domestic regulation – A similar coalition of countries in the WTO is pushing for “disciplines” on domestic regulation of services that, if adopted, would limit the power of governments to regulate service industries (energy, banking, hazardous waste, etc.) and alter the constitutional balance of power between the federal government and states.  We are working with both national and sub-national governments that seek to moderate these proposals in keeping with state practice in domestic law. Recent work: