Urge your representatives in Congress to defeat Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement
Many Americans know little about legislation currently pending in Congress called, “fast track” authority. This legislation centers around the latest “free” trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) that the Obama administration has been negotiating in a shroud of secrecy for the last five years with 11 Pacific Rim countries.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was signed by President Clinton with the firm promise that this agreement would create 170,000 American jobs per year, reduce the U.S. trade deficit, and strengthen and grow our economy.
A recent report release by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch shows that NAFTA is directly responsible for the loss of 1 million American jobs, increasing the U.S. trade deficit, causing instability in Mexico, and driving down Americans' wages.
Leaked documents and information indicate that the magnitude of the TPP trade agreement on the U.S. economy, job creation, and the trade deficit would be much worse than NAFTA. Many economists refer to the TPP as “NAFTA on steroids” and claim this agreement would devastate our economy and serve only the profit-interests of multinational corporations and foreign investors.
If the TPP becomes law, corporations would be given “investor-state autonomy” that would allow them to sue a participating country in a foreign tribunal (outside U.S. courts), if it is proven that it could affect their expected future profits. That means corporations could disregard U.S. law in the name of their profits. America’s laws that protect our environment, farmlands, waterways, workers, and communities would be at risk from foreign invaders. Also, Kevin Zeese, co-director of It’s Our Economy, in an interview with The Real News Network, claims that under TPP, 90 percent of Americans would see their wealth and income reduced. Furthermore, many of provisions in the 23 chapters of the TPP have nothing to do with trade, with many of the provisions written to protect corporate monopolies.
Fast Track authority would restrict members of Congress to an up (yes) or down (no) vote when, or if, TPP comes to the floor of Congress. Under Fast Track authority, our elected members of Congress will have no opportunity to analyze, critique, hold hearings, or amend the terms of the TPP. I prefer my elected representatives in Congress to exercise their constitutional authority and obligation, not passing a Fast Track law taking them away.
There will be a big fight in Congress over Fast Track authority because if Fast Track fails in Congress, so goes the TPP. Unfortunately, there has been very little coverage by corporate main street media on this issue. Nonetheless, I implore every American to educate themselves on Fast Track authority and the TPP and contact your representatives in Congress. Tell your representatives to vote against Fast Track/TPP and save our economy and protect American jobs.
The writer is president of the Schenectady Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO.