For Immediate Release
Statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
by Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director, Citizens Trade Campaign
This morning, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, along with other trade ministers from throughout the Pacific Rim, announced a deal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a trade and investment pact that would set rules governing approximately forty percent of the global economy. Citizens Trade Campaign’s executive director Arthur Stamoulis released the following statement in response:
Whatever deal trade ministers struck behind closed doors, the TPP continues to face serious trouble in Congress. Put simply, the political clock has run out for this pact. Heading into 2016 and beyond, Congress members know that American voters are not going to accept a massive trade agreement with undemocratic countries that offshores jobs and drives down wages.
For the better part of a decade, Americans have been telling the administration what sorts of provisions the TPP would need to ensure it benefits working families, instead of just corporate profits. Over all that time, negotiators have granted hundreds of well-connected corporate lobbyists access to TPP texts, but have refused to tell the American people what they’ve been proposing in our names. As such, we’ve had corporations guiding secret negotiations with human rights violators like Malaysia, where millions are victims of human trafficking, and Vietnam, where you can go to jail for requesting better working conditions — while the American people have been shut out of the process.
Now that a deal has reportedly been agreed upon, Congress should insist that it and the public receive immediate access to any and all TPP text.
The benchmarks Congress will now have to consider include: Does the TPP include labor and environmental standards, rules of origin and currency safeguards strong enough to protect human rights abroad and good-quality jobs here at home — or will the pact ship jobs overseas and reduce wages for American workers? Does it establish a floor, rather than a ceiling, when it comes to food and product safety — or will it expand imports from countries where food is often found to contain banned toxic chemicals? Does it make medicine more affordable — or will it increase the price of prescription drugs for seniors, veterans and others by enabling big pharmaceutical companies to prevent the sale of life-saving generic medications?
Leaked texts, and the TPP negotiating process itself, suggest the public is going to be unhappy with the answers to those questions. Americans have consistently demanded a “fair deal or no deal” on trans-Pacific trade. Given that the completed TPP agreement is unlikely to be fair to anyone but CEOs and Wall Street executives, expect a tidal wave of voters to demand “no deal."