Yesterday, a dozen TPP trade ministers inked the final pact at a posh casino hotel in New Zealand as thousands of nonviolent protesters blocked access to the summit and snarled Auckland traffic. Food & Water Watch and labor, faith and environmental allies held rallies and press conferences across the United States this week highlighting the broad-based opposition to the flawed trade deal that will cost jobs, exacerbate economic inequality and threaten U.S. environmental, public health and food safety laws and regulations.
The TPP has tougher language than prior trade deals making it easier to attack and overturn commonsense regulatory safeguards. As Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said on the Senate floor yesterday, “most of the TPP is about letting multinational corporations rig the rules – on everything from patent protection to food safety standards — all to benefit themselves.”
These trade attacks on U.S. laws are not theoretical. Last year, Congress repealed country of origin meat labels because of a World Trade Organization tribunal. This January, TransCanada brought a $15 billion NAFTA lawsuit against the United States for rejecting the environmentally destructive KeystoneXL pipeline.
Previous trade deals like NAFTA offshored millions of jobs that had provided economic security for working families. The TPP is expected to continue that trend. This month, a new Tufts University study found that the TPP would cost 450,000 American jobs and widen the income gulf between working families and the economic elites. Further, Malaysia and Vietnam are included in the agreement—both countries pay pittance wages and have histories of labor and human rights abuses.
The Deal Is Signed, But The Fight is Just Beginning
Yesterday’s TPP signing finalizes the deal, but the political fight has just begun. President Obama must submit the 6,000-page deal to Congress, which then has 90 days to vote the deal up or down. The TPP bill would also include implementing legislation that brings federal laws and regulations into TPP compliance.
The TPP faces an extremely uncertain future in Congress, especially during this polarizing election season. Republican leaders, once the stalwart backers of the corporate trade agenda, have given the TPP a surprisingly lukewarm reception. Widespread opposition to the deal now permeates public discourse around the national election — the leading presidential candidates of both parties all oppose the controversial deal.
The White House will ramp up its charm offensive to scrounge for elusive TPP votes. The President won’t submit the TPP to Congress unless he thinks it will pass. Now it is up to us to make our voices heard and make Congress stand with the people and not the powerful. Stand with us against the TPP — send your message today.