CLICK ON THE LINK TO DOWNLOAD: Fact Sheet Questions Congress Should Ask

Congress Needs to Demand Transparency and
Hold Hearings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership

There are many important questions Congress should be asking.  Here are some:

A September 2013 report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “Gains From Trade,” found: (1) The TPP would only increase the GDP by a tiny 0.1% annually.  (2) The TPP will continue the downward slide in US wages; 90% of Americans will see their incomes decrease.  Thus, the TPP will increase the US wealth divide and impoverish working Americans.

The TPP is ‘NAFTA on steroids’ because it follows the NAFTA model, but includes many more countries and more aspects of the economy.  NAFTA cost the US more than 600,000 jobs.  How are American workers going to compete with Vietnamese workers paid 30¢ per hour?  NAFTA spurred undocumented immigration because it ruined Mexico’s farms and lowered wages in Mexico. What will ‘NAFTA on steroids’ do to US jobs, wages and immigration?

TPP undermines laws and consumer choice. Millions of Americans seek to Buy Local, Buy American or Buy Green. These approaches are very popular with Americans who want to boost US products and support local, independent businesses rather than buying imported products that send dollars overseas causing a massive trade deficit. Americans will be angry with elected officials who allow this to happen.

TPP will undermine laws passed by Congress, state and local legislatures. It has 29 chapters only 5 on trade issues, like tariffs.  Others concern food, energy, labor, the Internet, finance, healthcare and public services like transportation and utilities, among others. TPP affects virtually every aspect of American lives. Congress needs to hold hearings, hear from experts and citizens and write amendments. Fast Track is inappropriate for such a broad agreement.

TPP binds us to decisions of an international Trade Tribunal, a parallel court that operates outside of traditional courts. This undermines US sovereignty. Trade Tribunal decisions are final, with no appeal in traditional courts. Judges will often be corporate lawyers, on leave from their job to make rulings and then return to their corporation. TPP allows corporations to sue in Trade Tribunals for expected lost profits, i.e. foreign corporations can sue the US or local governments for expected profits when environmental, consumer, labor or other laws are passed.  TPP makes corporations more powerful than government.

The media asked former US Trade Rep Ron Kirk “why the secrecy?”   He said TPP was secret because if the people knew what was in it, it would be so unpopular it could not become law. Congress must understand why the TPP would be so unpopular because they will be held responsible for its negative impacts.

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