Clients 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-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – The United States is leading negotiations to create the TPPA, a “21st Century Trade Agreement.” Starting with 12 countries, it is likely to become the largest trade agreement outside of the WTO. Negotiators are drafting chapters that are WTO-plus – expanding rules and coverage beyond the baseline of WTO agreements. Our clients ask us to identify ways in which the TPPA could shrink the policy space for governments to provide or regulate services, investments, procurement, and products that affect public health. Recent work:
- Trade Policy Assessment for Maine: tobacco, pharmaceuticals & procurement – Robert Stumberg & Matthew Porterfield
Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – Even before the TPPA is completed, the Unites States has fully engaged with the European Union to negotiate a trans-Atlantic agreement with a similar range of impacts on regulatory authority, exacerbation of climate change, public health controversies including tobacco trade, and foreign investor rights.
Using 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 has stalled. Recent work:
- Using Trade Rules to Reduce Fossil Fuel Subsidies – Matthew Porterfield and Robert Stumberg
Tobacco in trade and investment agreements – Since 2001, Congress has prohibited U.S. negotiators from allowing trade agreements to promote tobacco trade. Yet the past eight U.S. trade agreements expand market access and give tobacco companies a forum to challenge tobacco controls. We work with an international coalition that seeks to exclude tobacco from the benefits of trade and investment agreements, starting with the TPPA. Recent work:
Foreign investor rights – Foreign investors are using some of the 2,800 International Investment Agreements (IIAs) to challenge regulations in the public interest: tobacco controls, mining permits, and hazardous waste regulations, to name a few. Several countries have begun to limit their IIAs so that foreign investors do not have greater rights than under the national constitution. The United States proposes an investment chapter in the TPPA, a new bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with China and India, and a comprehensive agreement with the European Union that is likely to include investment. We are working with domestic and South American clients on the TPPA and the longer-term negotiations. Recent work:
- Foreign investor rights and customary international law – Matthew Porterfield
Trade limits on domestic regulation – A 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: