Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement signed in Auckland; UN independent expert calls on states to safeguard regulatory space

On February 4, 2016, trade ministers from twelve Pacific Rim nations met in Auckland, New Zealand, to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

On the eve of the meeting, UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, called on governments to issue an interpretative declaration on TPP, reaffirming their commitments to human rights obligations and to the Sustainable Development Goals.

In his statement of February 2, 2016, Zayas indicated that the TPP “is fundamentally flawed and should not be signed or ratified unless provision is made to guarantee the regulatory space of States.” He recalled that the agreement resulted from “secret negotiations without multi-stakeholder democratic consultation,” and would be signed despite “enormous opposition by civil society worldwide.” The expert said that the agreement’s compatibility with international law should be challenged before the International Court of Justice.

In a report published in August 2015, Zayas had recommended abolishing the existing investor–state dispute settlement (ISDS) system.

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