Washington, D.C. – Today, 132 Members of Congress delivered a letter to United States Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk pressing him to support transparency and openness in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The Members called for stronger congressional consultations and access to documents, and greater public transparency on the proposals.
Read the letter here: http://cwafiles.org/national/News/Release/TP_Ltr_Final.pdf
If ratified, TPP will be the biggest free trade agreement in the world, yet the negotiations are being held in secret with no public input on the impact on workers, jobs, communities and the environment.
In their letter to Ambassador Kirk, Congressional leaders noted that “under the current U.S. trade advisory system, hundreds of business representatives have cleared access to both USTR negotiators and the negotiating text. However, American small business, civil society, and other interests who have a direct and long-term interest in the outcome of these negotiations have little meaningful input…If Congress and the public are not informed of the exact terms of the agreement until the conclusion of the process, then any opportunity for meaningful input is lost. A trade agreement that cannot stand up to public scrutiny should not be negotiated in the name of U.S. citizens.” The letter signing was organized by House Democratic Leaders Rosa DeLauro (CT) and George Miller (CA),
This lack of transparency, accountability and public access has already raised serious concerns from labor, environmental groups and consumer organizations.
"The 1% has total access to all negotiating documents, while the 99% is shut out. This is not what democracy looks like," said CWA President Larry Cohen. "The 1% will lower labor standards and eliminate environmental safeguards, further chaining our economy to that of Vietnam which has one of the worst labor rights records in the world. It's important to negotiate a trade agreement that protects U.S. workers and our environment."
The USTR has given some 600 corporate lobbyists and representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce regular online access to the TPP negotiating drafts as "cleared advisors," but continues to block and restrict access to Members of Congress and the public who will be hit hard by this deal.
The next round of negotiations is set for July 2 – 10 in San Diego, CA. Once again, the public will be locked out of the discussions. CWA is working with our allies to spotlight the dangers of TPP, including the possibility that it will put an end to “Buy American” policies and dramatically increase the offshoring their work. During the last round of negotiations in Texas, nearly 400 protestors marched outside the host hotel, and delivered 42,000 petitions to Ambassador Kirk.