Treaty’s consequences

EDITOR: Dismantling of the popular legislation known as Country of Origin Labeling was not mentioned in the Washington Post editorial you published about the federal spending bill (“A case of misguided bipartisanship,” Monday).

The legislation, supported by 92 percent of the public, informs consumers where beef and pork are born, raised and slaughtered. NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada challenged the law as a barrier to trade that would place an undue burden on livestock producers and processors, resulting in loss of profits.

The World Trade Organization recently ruled against the U.S., authorizing annual retaliatory tariffs of more than $1 billion. To avoid the public’s wrath, Congress decided to overturn the law through the omnibus budget bill.
Despite President Barack Obama’s assertion to the contrary, this ruling makes clear that trade treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership can — and do — threaten even our most favored consumer and environmental protections. Indeed, the Trans-Pacific Partnership opens the door to more challenges by foreign and multinational corporations through the expanded investor-state dispute settlement provision.

It is vitally important that Sonoma County residents educate themselves to the fact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade treaties represent a threat to our welfare, the environment and our democratic way of life.