Communication Workers and Teamsters Warn: No Matter What US Trade Rep Says In Singapore, TPP is Far From Settled
This weekend, trade negotiators from the 12 countries negotiating the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are meeting in Singapore for the latest round of negotiations. Joining them, as normal, will be representatives from the corporate world who have been granted more access at seeing and shaping the bill than elected members of Congress. But this time members of the media are also being wooed as it is widely expected that negotiators will announce the framework of a final deal.
No matter what the trade negotiators in Singapore say or how they spin it, this trade deal is far from settled. In fact, concern against the deal at home is both broad and deep. While they will want to call it a done deal, there is significant concern about the TPP at home and abroad. Congress has the chance to stand up for American business owners, workers and families by taking a full look at the secretive text and not grant fast-track trade authority.
Recently, 194 Congressmen from both parties signaled their opposition to granting fast track trade authorization. This was just the latest example of the broad range of voices that are expressing their concern to the proposed trade deal. The ongoing opposition underscores that, as the Washington Post reported in October, even more than three years into the effort, “the Obama administration is facing a difficult sales job at home as key industries and unions grow cautious, domestic manufacturers move to protect their markets, and trade skeptics amp up their opposition.”
- Massive bi-partisan opposition on Capitol Hill to fast track trade authority – “But in order to secure the deal, President Barack Obama says he needs Congress to grant him permission to sign the final trade agreement, which Congress has not yet seen, without congressional input. A coalition of about 174 conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats in the House signaled this week they would likely vote against giving those trade powers to the president.”
- Concerns to rewarding countries that abuse human and worker rights by including them in the TPP – “A coalition of labor and human rights groups on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to suspend free trade negotiations with Vietnam because of concerns over that country’s treatment of workers and people who criticize the government.”
- Concerns over currency manipulation – “When 60 Senators from both major parties last week sent a letter to the administration demanding that the issue of currency manipulation be included in the agenda of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, they joined a bipartisan majority of members of the lower house who earlier this year sought the same…on Capitol Hill, legislators and aides from both parties insist that the administration will at the very least have to insert some language on currency manipulation in any TPP agreement. The risk of ignoring 60 senators would be that, without a reference to currency, any TPP deal could fail to pass Congress.”
- Highlighting empty promises of past trade deals and job creation – “Secretary of State John F. Kerry claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would “support American jobs,” set “high labor and environmental standards” and protect human rights. While Kerry mentions the right buzzwords, lessons from past trade pacts show why we deserve more than empty promises.”
- Undemocratic and secretive TPP negotiations – “The United States appears to be using the non-transparent Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations as a deliberate end run around Congress on intellectual property, to achieve a presumably unpopular set of policy goals.”