Washington, D.C. -- Following is a statement by CWA President Chris Shelton on the announcement that negotiators have reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Negotiators from the 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal countries, meeting in Atlanta, have announced an agreement. Despite all the hype, and given what we’ve learned over the past many months and years of negotiations, it’s clear that this TPP remains a bad deal for working families and communities.
The corporate lobbyists who make up the majority of U.S. trade advisors have been pushing hard for an agreement, mainly because they’ve known all along that what’s in the TPP represents a sweet deal for multinational corporations and the 1 percent. For the rest of us – U.S. working families and communities, and workers in the other TPP countries – this agreement is bad news.
Despite broad promises from the Obama administration and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that the deal would deliver for middle-class families, working people know that TPP would be a disaster. It would continue the offshoring of jobs and weakening of our communities that started under the North American Free Trade Agreement and hasn’t stopped. It would mean labor and environmental standards that look good on paper but fall flat when it comes to enforcement. It’s a corporate dream but a nightmare for those of us on Main Street.
We’re still very concerned about the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process. The window dressing changes adopted in Atlanta don’t change the fact that corporations still have an extra-judicial process – ISDS -- to enforce their rights. That’s not the case for labor and environmental standards.
And we’re concerned that the protections given to pharmaceutical companies will mean that life-saving drugs won’t be affordable for millions.
Before the TPP is put to a full vote in Congress, there must be adequate time for full review and discussion. Even on the quickest timetable, a vote that can’t happen until early 2016. Few members of Congress will want to vote in an election year on the mass giveaway of U.S. jobs that this TPP allows.
CWA and our allies will be certain to hold accountable those members of Congress who support this giveaway to the 1 percent.