To the editor:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is shrouded in secrecy to lawmakers and the general public. It is also known as fast-track through Congress, meaning TPP-supported legislation will be pushed through within 90 days without discussion by Congress. Albeit Congress and government can be slow, but this allows corporations and TPP member countries to control us. One reason it is shrouded in secrecy.
Supporters of TPP tout it to support trade and it is sound reasoning, but dangerous because TPP agreements overrule our government. That is one of the conditions for signature, that whatever the TPP agreeing partners decide is what a TPP member government must follow. This takes away our democracy and we let other countries control us, perhaps much worse, corporations.
One example is lowering of environmental standards that took centuries of knowledge and know-how to protect good uses of resources, like we use in everyday farming. This example sounds exotic but does affect us because of lack of bargaining power. The desire for shark-fin soup, a delicacy, causes Asian TPP-member countries to put pressure on other potential TPP members (the United States included) to lower international regulations and standards thus permitting sharks to be scalped of their fins and placed back in the sea to die.
This next example affects us directly. TPP member's Vietnamese wages are $1.90 an hour. By signing we agree to allow member countries to do more than trade with us. This of course affects a corporations' bottom line and protects investors. What about the American worker and American jobs?
These are two examples of how signing this agreement lowers our standards.
Lowering our standards, affects wages, but also creates a culture potentially for more chemical spills like we just had down river. House Speaker John Boehner says existing government standards and regulation protect us, in Cincinnati, from water contamination. Perhaps because they knew it was coming down the river. What about the next spill? What will it be and where? Maybe up river from us.
The standards set to protect us are for active production of chemical sites but not for storage facilities. Boehner calls this enough? I think not. If a company is not willing to pay decent wages they don't care about a rotting facility.
Supporting TPP lowers our standards in an already tasked, stretched and rotting infrastructure. Sounds like something is rotting here, not in the State of Denmark. Members of Congress on the committee to review TP are sworn to secrecy.
Please call members of Congress and tell them not to sign on to TPP until it is transparent to us a few years from now. Let the other already signed members start it and let it run its course. The United States can always sign on at a future time. Being a strong economy, we are in a position to call shots not acquiesce to them.
If you don't believe me that we need to wait, read more from Lori Wallach, USA Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch director.