WASHINGTON: United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman today announced that Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute (WRI), has accepted an appointment to chair the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee (TEPAC), a federally-chartered committee that provides advice to USTR and EPA on policy issues involving trade and the environment.
Jonathan Lash, a widely respected figure in the environmental community, has led the WRI as its president since 1993. He is a current member of TEPAC and has also served on various national and international committees, including Co-Chair of the President's Council on Sustainable Development, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) High-Level Advisory Group on Environment, and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.
Ambassador Zoellick stated, "I am enormously pleased that Jonathan Lash has accepted the invitation to chair this important advisory committee, in light of his extensive experience and WRI's mission to provide information, ideas, and solutions to global environmental problems. Input from TEPAC and from the environmental community is essential to formulating trade policies that are compatible with sustainable development, and to pursuing win-win opportunities for trade and the environment."
"Trade and investment policy affect the environment, here at home and around the world. Understanding this linkage, taking advantage of its strengths, and addressing the concerns it raises are critical, especially as the pace of globalization increases. Mr. Lash's knowledge and
experience will be invaluable as TEPAC provides advice on how trade policies affect the U.S. and the environment," said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.
Jonathan Lash stated, "Trade and environment issues are contentious and important. I welcome Ambassador Zoellick's and Administrator Whitman's openness to discussion of the issues and hope that the TEPAC will help create fair and effective solutions."
Recently, USTR announced that it will conduct environmental reviews of major trade agreements, including the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the negotiations on agriculture and services underway in the World Trade Organization (WTO). These reviews are an important means of involving the public in the development of trade policy and providing negotiators with timely information on the environmental implications of trade agreements. TEPAC contributed significantly to the development of USTR's environmental reviews policy and plays an active role in the reviews process.
TEPAC is part of the private sector trade advisory committee system, established by the Congress under the Trade Act of 1974. The advisory committee system was created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect U.S. interests. The advisory committees assist the Executive Branch in soliciting and obtaining advice from industry, agriculture, environmental, labor, and other non-governmental organizations throughout the trade policy process. TEPAC is a CEO-level committee primarily composed of environmental and non-industry interests.
Lash's organization, the World Resources Institute, is an environmental think tank that finds practical ways to protect the earth and improve people's lives. WRI works with partners in more than 50 countries to expand people's access to information and decisions about the environment and the use of natural resources, building collaboration among political, business, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders around the world. WRI's website is http://www.wri.org/wri.