The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) includes strong obligations around labour and environmental standards.

How does the CPTPP support labour and environmental standards?


The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) includes strong obligations around labour and environmental standards.

For the first time in any of New Zealand’s trade agreements, these obligations will be subject to dispute settlement under the agreement meaning they can be legally enforced.

Over time, we expect that this will help to raise labour and environmental standards in the region, reduce the impact of unfair practices, and promote sustainable development.

Labour

As part of the Labour chapter contained in CPTPP, the Parties agree to:

  • Make the labour provisions of CPTPP subject to dispute settlement so they can be enforced.
  • Reaffirm their obligations as members of the International Labour Organization (ILO). 
  • Ensure their laws and practices uphold certain labour rights stated in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, including: 
    • freedom of association and effective recognition of collective bargaining; 
    • non-discrimination in employment; and
    • the elimination of all forms of forced labour and abolition of child labour. 
  • Ensure they have laws governing ‘acceptable conditions of work’ with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health, as determined by each party.
  • Recognise that labour standards should not be used for protectionist trade purposes 
  • Recognise that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing labour laws. 
  • Ensure they do not deviate from their laws (or offer to do so) in a manner affecting trade or investment between the parties. 
  • Commit to discourage the importation of goods produced by forced or compulsory labour from other sources.
  • Encourage businesses in their respective jurisdictions to adopt corporate social responsibility initiatives on labour issues.

Environment 

As part of the Environment chapter in CPTPP, the Parties agree to:

  • Make the environment provisions of CPTPP subject to dispute settlement so they can be enforced.
  • Prohibit subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing or that negatively affect over-fished stocks. This is a meaningful contribution to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (on dismantling fish subsidies and addressing collapsing fishing stocks before 2020).
  • Take action to address the illegal trade of wild flora and fauna.
  • Make sure they implement the commitments they have made under the following international environmental agreements:
    • Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
    • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and 
    • The UN Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). 
  • Co-operate on environmental matters of shared interest including :
    • the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and sharing the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources;
    • reducing carbon emissions;
    • the conservation and sustainable management of marine fisheries; and
    • liberalising trade in environmental goods and services.
  • Encourage the private sector to develop flexible voluntary mechanisms to protect natural resources and the environment in ways that are science-based, conform with international best practice, promote competition and innovation, and are not discriminatory