Corporate Accountability International, January 9, 2014 (see original for several links)
In affront to lessons of NAFTA, Baucus moves TPA forward
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced legislation that would allow the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to pass through Congress without meaningful scrutiny. The legislation, dubbed “Fast Track,” has rightly been met with fierce opposition from both sides of the aisle; particularly in light of the secrecy shrouding the TPP’s negotiations and unprecedented corporate influence over its contents.
While Fast Track has been used in the past to ratify trade agreements, the TPP is unlike any trade agreement in history. The TPP reaches far beyond the confines of trade and threatens countries’ sovereign right to pass and defend public health and environmental policies by granting corporations legal authority to challenge them directly on trade grounds through the investor-state dispute mechanism. The negotiations, currently among 12 countries, are under the advisement of 28 committees made up of over 600 corporate representatives and trade associations.
Previous administrations have used Fast Track to blatantly ignore even “binding negotiating objectives” put forward by Congress before. “If Congress approves Fast Track, it’s not just delegating its trade authority to the White House, it’s effectively signaling its tacit approval to the largest corporate-driven trade agreement in U.S. history before even seeing it,” said Jesse Bragg, press secretary at Corporate Accountability International. “The TPP is a corporate wish list disguised as a trade agreement. The question we need to ask is: ‘Do we really want to blindly approve an agreement devised by the likes of Walmart, Big Tobacco, and Chevron without even being able to amend it?’”
On the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, that has resulted in a staggering trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, one million net U.S. jobs lost and more than $360 million paid out to corporations after investor-state attacks on sound public policies, Corporate Accountability International and its allies are calling for 21st century trade negotiations that put power back in the hands of people, not executives. They are also calling for a negotiating process that privileges the public interest, not the special interests of industries like Big Tobacco that continue to use trade to block and delay the passage of public health measures across the globe.