WASHINGTON (July 28, 2003) – The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has appointed Joseph (Jerry) Block, an environmental and corporate defense partner at Washington law firm Venable LLP, to chair itsTrade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee(TEPAC).
TEPAC is at the forefront of the increasingly recognized nexus between trade and environment. The committee provides policy advice to USTR on a range of issues involving trade and the environment, and works to ensure that trade agreements ratified between the United States and other countries reflect strong environmental provisions mandated by Congress.
Increased trade can enhance economic growth, employment and wealth, and expand the opportunities to increase environmental protection. However, without adequate measures, a possible side effect can be environmental degradation. As an environmental advisor on US trade policy, TEPAC works to expand the opportunities to increase environmental protection with the United States' trading partners and limit any adverse effects.
The committee is the only federal advisory group specifically chartered to address the environmental aspects of foreign trade. TEPAC consists of representatives from a wide spectrum of corporate, environmental and preservation, consumer, and academic constituents, including: General Motors, The Humane Society, Garden Clubs of America, Agrisystems International, The Carlyle Group, the Center for International Environmental Law, Consumers Union, Resources for the Future, Endangered Species Coalition, and George Washington University Law School.
Committee members receive presidential appointments through USTR recommendations and report directly to US Trade RepresentativeRobert B. Zoellick. TEPAC provides advice to USTR and the Environmental Protection Agency, and TEPAC recommendations are also shared with other federal agencies.
Mr. Block, a former chief of the Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes Section, expects to be a proactive chair of TEPAC. He plans to use his DOJ experience to ensure that trade pacts “have an environmental component to maintain sustainable development. It is important that trading partners enforce their environmental laws, including penalties for noncompliance. All sides must live up to the responsibilities and commitments they have signed in an agreement,” Mr. Block said.
“Bilateral trade agreements must take into account not just the economic incentives for each trading partner, but also how to structure the agreement to protect the environment,” Mr. Block said. “Preserving the world’s environment while increasing global trade is a critical goal for US trade policy.”
As a member of TEPAC since 1995, Mr. Block has provided advice regarding the significant environmental measures in US free trade agreements signed with Jordan, Singapore, and Chile, serving as acting chairman of TEPAC during review of the latter two agreements. Other pacts are currently being negotiated with Morocco, Australia, southern Africa, and five Central American countries.
Mr. Block added that the committee will also deal extensively with questions of transparency in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in US trade policy generally. “All trade negotiations must receive and consider as much public and environmental input as feasible,” Mr. Block said. “These agreements benefit from open dialogue between US trade officials and the US public about environmental concerns and issues.”
The current membership of the TEPAC follows:
Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee
Joseph G. Block, chair
Nancy Zucker Boswell
Transparency International- USA
William A. Butler
Audubon Naturalist Society
Carrick Law Group
The Humane Society of the United States
Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal
Robert E. Grady
The Carlyle Group; board member, Environmental Defense
Frank H. Habicht
Global Environment & Technology Foundation
Thomas B. Harding
Former Assistant USTR for Environment
General Motors Corporation
Center for International Environmental Law
Hunton & Williams
World Environment Center
U.S. Council for International Business
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Anne Neal Petri
Garden Clubs of America and The Olmstead Society
Resources for the Future
Jeffrey J. Schott
Institute for International Ecomonics
Frances B. Smith
William J. Snape, III
Endangered Species Coalition
Irwin M. Stelzer
Alexander F. Watson
Hills & Company; board member, The Nature Conservancy
Hogan & Hartson
Michael K. Young
The George Washington University Law School
The Center for Governance and Sustainable Development