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USTR's Office of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) is responsible for negotiating and monitoring compliance with the environment chapters in all bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in accordance with the congressionally established trade negotiating objectives set forth in the current Trade Promotion Authority Act (TPA) [link], formally the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, and taking into account public and stakeholder input. Existing environment chapters include obligations such as effective enforcement of environmental laws, not weakening environmental protections in order to encourage increased trade or investment, domestic procedural protections, and promotion of public participation in environmental matters.
The office works closely with the State Department in negotiating and implementing environmental cooperation mechanisms associated with FTAs. Our office anticipates an increasing enforcement role with respect to FTA environment chapters. The office works closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies on activities under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and has the lead responsibility for the trade and environment program under the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC).
Spotlight on Illegal Logging
Trade in illegal timber is estimated to account for 10-30 percent of all wood traded globally, valued between $30-100 billion annually. The American Forest & Paper Association estimates that illegal logging also depresses world timber prices by between 7-16 percent and that this causes American firms to lose at least $460 million each year. To address forest crime and the resulting economic and environmental impacts, ENR works on the implementation and enforcement of a forest annex to the Peru chapter and pursues bilateral and regional initiatives to address illegal logging and associated trade, including implementation of an agreement with China on illegal logging and trade and participation in APEC’s group on illegal logging and associated trade. These efforts help to ensure the health and sustainability of forest resources, and that American firms and associated industry are able to compete in a fair, legal market.
The Environment chapters of all existing U.S. FTAs are below.
Free Trade Agreements and the Environment
Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) - Environment Chapter Agreement Text / Information on Implementation of the Environment Chapter / Environmental Cooperation Agreement / Information at State.gov