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May 13, 2009

Free Trade Agreements

Humane Society International

Illegal wildlife trade is rampant, forests and natural habitats are disappearing, ocean stocks are plummeting, and climate change poses grave risks to humans and animals alike.  These are just a few animal issues impacted by increasing globalization.  Many nations have acknowledged the link between international trade and environmental and animal protection concerns by including specific provisions in bilateral and regional free trade agreements. 

Because free trade agreements are ultimately tied to economic considerations, they can be used to elevate social and environmental issues that would not otherwise receive significant attention.  They also provide an additional enforcement tool that is often even stronger than those in national environmental laws and international environmental treaties. 

Over the last decade, global awareness of environmental and animal protection issues has intensified, prompting more frequent inclusion of these issues – and stronger levels of protection - in free trade agreements.  HSI has been on the frontlines of this movement as a leading non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating for strong environmental and animal protection provisions in all free trade agreements. 

For example, HSI is a member of the Trade and Environmental Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC), which advises the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on environmental matters arising during free trade agreement negotiations.  HSI also testifies before and submits comments to USTR and the U.S. Congress on trade and environment matters.

HSI Latin America also participates in shaping international trade policy in Central America, a region involved in an existing free trade agreement with the United States, and engaged in negotiations towards future agreements with Canada and the European Union.  HSI's policy work in Central America is complemented by its successful on-the-ground trade capacity building programs focused on wildlife protection and enforcement, and the improvement of animal welfare standards to increase access to markets requiring high standards of food safety, quality, and humane treatment.

Read HSI's comments on the following Free Trade Agreements by clicking on the title and downloading the PDF.

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