Promoting sustainable economic development and maintaining high levels of environmental protection are key aspects of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership(CPTPP).

Commitment to environment

The Environment chapter includes two key general commitments that underpin mutually supportive trade and environmental policies. CPTPP Parties will:

  • effectively enforce their environmental laws; and
  • ensure they do not waive or otherwise derogate from such laws in a manner that weakens or reduces the protections afforded in those laws in order to gain trade or investment advantage.

These obligations are consistent with New Zealand’s existing domestic legal settings and international legal commitments.

New Zealand can continue to adopt policies that protect our human, animal, and plant life and health. Provisions in CPTPP focus on ensuring biosecurity and food safety risks are effectively assessed, communicated and managed between CPTPP economies. 

CPTPP does not require New Zealand to adopt or modify its laws, regulations, and policies for the control of products of modern biotechnology such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) within New Zealand.

Obligations to protect wild flora and fauna

CPTPP includes an obligation that requires each Party to adopt measures to protect and conserve wild flora and fauna within its territory, and to combat the illegal take of, and trade in, wild flora and fauna.

New disciplines and transparency requirements with respect to fish

CPTPP includes disciplines and transparency requirements in relation to fish subsidies that contribute to overfishing and overcapacity and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This is a meaningful contribution to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14 (on fish subsidies and addressing collapsing fishing stocks before 2020).

Voluntary mechanisms to protect the environment

CPTPP Parties have agreed to encourage the development and use of flexible voluntary mechanisms to protect natural resources and the environment, recognising that such development or use should be transparent and not create unnecessary barriers to trade. The aim is to support and guide private sector use of such mechanisms in ways that are consistent with both environmental and trade objectives.

Relationships to other international environmental commitments

CPTPP reinforces a number of other international commitments that have a particular trade and environment dimension, including the 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). 

These include commitments relating to:

  • controlling the production and consumption and trade in substances that deplete the ozone layer
  • preventing the pollution of the marine environment from ships; and
  • adopting, maintaining and implementing laws, regulations and any other measures to fulfil each Party’s obligations under CITES.

Cooperation and disputes

Specific institutional mechanisms are established under the chapter to assist in its implementation. The Chapter provides for cooperation between the Parties on agreed matters of common interest. Stakeholders are to be consulted and, as appropriate, involved in cooperative activities.

All the commitments in CPTPP's Environment chapter are subject to dispute settlement which can result in trade disciplines, fines and trade sanctions. As in the Labour chapter, there are specific procedures requiring consultation that must be used before the dispute settlement provisions of CPTPP are employed.

Environment chapter: public submissions

Further to Article 20.9 of the CPTPP Environment Chapter, a copy of the guidelines for the receipt of written public submissions on matters regarding the implementation of the CPTPP Environment Chapter is linked here [PDF, 87 KB].