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Obama to sign Customs Bill, contradicting commitment to Paris climate accord

Posted Feb. 17, 2016 / Posted by: Kate Colwell

Press Backgrounder

WASHINGTON, D.C – President Obama plans to soon sign a Customs Bill that undercuts his promise to implement the historic Paris accord on climate change. The Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act bars the United States Trade Representative from seeking to address climate change in trade agreements, as noted in a letter to Congress from several environmental organizations. Trade agreements can be effectively enforced by retaliatory trade sanctions like higher tariffs or awards of money damages of millions or billions of dollars. The Paris climate accord and other international environmental agreements contain no such effective enforcement mechanisms. The Customs Bill would bar effective climate language in the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement now under negotiation with the European Union.

Doug Norlen, director of Economic Policy at Friends of the Earth - U.S., issued the following statement:

By signing the Customs Bill, President Obama will once again allow trade policy to trump his commitment to action on climate change represented by the Paris accord. Despite the president’s promises in Paris, the Customs Bill will expand international trade and burning of dirty energy products such as tar sands oil, coal, and liquefied natural gas -- thereby accelerating global warming.

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Expert contact: Bill Waren, (202) 222-0746, wwaren@foe.org
Communications contact: Kate Colwell, (202) 222-0744, kcolwell@foe.org

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