The Executive Trade Promotion Authority and International Environmental Review in the Twenty-First Century

By Carr, Terese | Houston Journal of International Law, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview

The Executive Trade Promotion Authority and International Environmental Review in the Twenty-First Century


Carr, Terese, Houston Journal of International Law


 
 I. INTRODUCTION                                                   142 
 
II.  FAST TRACK AND TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY                      144 
     A. The History and Current Status of Fast Track               144 
     B. Fast Track in Past Trade Agreements                        148 
        1. Effectiveness Generally                                 148 
        2. Specific Trade Agreements: NAFTA                        151 
        3. Arguments for Trade Promotion Authority 
           Today                                                   155 
 
III. THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT AND 
     INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW 
     REQUIREMENTS                                                  161 
     A. Environmental Review Requirements in the United 
        States                                                     161 
     B. The Application of Environmental Review Law 
        Abroad                                                     163 
 
 IV. THE ADVANTAGES OF ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW 
     PROCEDURES IN TRADE PROMOTION AUTHORITY 
     LEGISLATION                                                   169 
     A. Environmental Benefit of Environmental Review 
        Provisions in Trade Promotion Authority 
        Legislation                                                170 
        1. Transparency and Public Participation as a 
           Basis for Opposing Trade Promotion Authority            170 
        2. The Potential of National Environmental Policy 
           Act Principles to Address Transparency and 
           Public Participation in Trade Promotion 
           Authority                                               174 
        3. Some Lessons Learned from NAFTA's 
           Approach                                                180 
     B. Economic Benefit of Environmental Review 
        Procedures in Trade Promotion Authority 
        Legislation                                                183 
        1. Environmental Obstacles to Trade Promotion 
           Authority Renewal                                       184 
        2. Environmental Opposition to Trade Measures 
           Under Trade Promotion Authority                         188 
 
  V. CONCLUSION                                                    193 

I. INTRODUCTION

The continuing proliferation of international trade agreements is arguably both inevitable and beneficial to the U.S. and global economies. (1) There is even some evidence to suggest that increased global trade can lead to positive environmental changes. (2) Trade promotion authority, sometimes referred to as "fast track," is one way to facilitate the U.S. role in the global trade process and has been strongly supported by many politicians and economists. (3) After a protracted political battle, President Bush (4) finally received congressional approval for the latest trade promotion authority bill, which he signed into law on August 6, 2002. (5) It is far from clear, however, whether the President will receive the bipartisan support he needs to use the trade promotion authority effectively. (6) The passage of the bill was narrow and was clearly divided along party lines. (7) The primary obstacles to trade promotion authority were environmental and labor concerns, which many consider to be necessary components of responsible globalization. (8) Environmental lobbyists posed a significant threat to the reauthorization of trade promotion authority. (9) Although the new law incorporates significant political compromises, including certain environmental measures, many critics argue that these are insufficient to unify Congress behind the President in the exercise of his new trading authority. (10)

This Comment argues that the incorporation of environmental review provisions based on principles of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (11) into the trade promotion authority law would, by addressing environmental concerns, have strengthened the law's success in achieving future international trade agreements. …

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