A secret draft of what would be Australia's biggest trade agreement shows it will be toothless in enforcing environmental agreements.
The draft environment chapter of the twelve-nation Trans Pacific Partnership agreement published by WikiLeaks proposes next to no enforcement mechanisms with those that are suggested opposed by each of the 12 nations other than the United Stastes.
A summary on the WikiLeaks website says the draft makes use of the 'get out clause' approximately 43 times, using language such as: "Where possible and appropriate, the Parties shall seek to complement and utilise their existing cooperation mechanisms and take into account relevant work of regional and international organisations."
The word "may" is also found 43 times in the 23-page draft.
Governments are urged to "...make every effort to arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution...", "...take measures to prevent...", "...make best efforts...", "...exercise restraint in taking recourse...", and retain "the right to make decisions...".
WikiLeaks says other favourite words are "enhance" (12), "consider" (12), "encourage" (11), "address" (10), "endeavour" (9) and "seek" (9).
A report from the chairpersons of the environment section of the agreement despairs at ever getting meaningful agreement saying the so-called "red line" or non-negotiable positions appear irreconcilable."Many of the red lines for some parties were in direct opposition to the red lines expressed by other parties," it says.
"It bears emphasising that it is these differences that have prevented the environment working group from reaching agreement on all aspects of the chapter."
Australia is siding with Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam in opposing US moves to give the resolutions of biodiversity, climate change, fisheries and conservation more force.
The environment chapter is the second published by WikiLeaks. The first, on intellectual property showed the US with Australian support attempting to impose on other countries tougher rules that would have strengthened the hand of copyright owners in disputes with consumers.
Each of the negotiating parties has resolved to keep the draft chapters secret until the negotiations are completed, meaning the chapters published by WikiLeaks are the only parts of the agreement in the public domain.