Now it’s time to withdraw from TTIP and TiSA too.
From Arthur Stamoulis of Citizen’s Trade Campaign
Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch
Formally withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will bury the moldering corpse of a deal that couldn’t gain majority support in Congress, but the question is going forward will President Trump’s new trade policies create American jobs and reduce our damaging trade deficit while raising wages and protecting the environment and public health not just here but also in trade partner nations?
If President Trump intends to replace our failed trade policy, a first step must be to end negotiations now underway for more deals based on the damaging NAFTA/TPP model so its notable that today’s announcement did not end talks to establish the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement and the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty – all of which would replicate and expand the TPP/NAFTA model Trump says he is ending.
President Trump also repeatedly has said he would launch NAFTA renegotiations immediately and withdraw from NAFTA if he cannot make it “a lot better” for working people. NAFTA renegotiation could be an opportunity to create a new trade model that benefits more people, but if done wrong, it could increase job offshoring, push down wages and expand the protections NAFTA provides to the corporate interests that shaped the original deal.
Even with the Fast Track authority Trump inherits, to pass a NAFTA replacement he must ensure its terms enjoy support from most congressional Democrats and a subset of Republicans. Most congressional Republicans and many people Trump has named to senior positions passionately support the very agreements Trump opposes. Most congressional Democrats have opposed deals like TPP and NAFTA and for decades promoted alternatives that expand trade without undermining American jobs and wages, access to affordable medicine, food safety or environmental protections.
NAFTA is packed with incentives for job offshoring and protections for the corporate interests that helped to shape it, so to make NAFTA better for people and the planet will require it to be replaced, not tweaked. To remedy – not worsen – NAFTA’s damage, both the old negotiating process and the contents must be replaced. To put the needs of working people, their communities, the environment and public health over the demands of the special interests that have dominated U.S. trade policymaking, the 500 official U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests who called the shots on past agreements must be benched.
If corporate elites are allowed to dictate how NAFTA is renegotiated, the deal could become even more damaging to working people and the environment in the three countries. Absent high labor and environmental standards, requirements for more North American content in products could increase U.S. job offshoring. The corporate interests that have rigged past trade deals say NAFTA renegotiation is how they will revive the special protections they achieved in the TPP, for instance limits on competition from generic drugs so pharmaceutical firms can keep medicine prices high. (See Citizens Trade Campaign’s Jan. 13 letter to Trump and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s Jan. 3 letter to Trump on what must be in a NAFTA replacement for it to provide broad benefits.)
Sierra Club Statement on Trump’s Withdrawal from the TPP
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, as one of his first executive orders as President, Donald Trump formally withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
“Of course President Trump is giving himself credit for withdrawing from the defunct TPP, but the truth is that the deal was beaten by years of organizing from a broad, international coalition and millions of Americans who rejected corporate trade and fought against its threats to our families and our climate.
“The real question is, what comes next? Will Trump’s trade policy, including any renegotiation of NAFTA, benefit the billionaire class or working people, healthy communities, clean air and water, and a more stable climate? Will Trump halt all current negotiations of corporate trade deals? Given that Trump is working to stack his cabinet full of billionaire supporters of status-quo trade deals who believe that climate change is a hoax, there is reason to be more than skeptical.
“The era of corporate trade is ending, and it is up to us to create a new approach to trade that supports rather than undermines action on climate change, workers’ rights, and the health of communities. The Sierra Club will continue to work with our partners and mobilize our grassroots to advance a new vision for trade policy that will protect both people and the planet.”
OXFAM REACTION TO US WITHDRAWAL FROM TPP
In reaction to President Donald Trump’s executive order to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today, Oxfam America’s president, Raymond C. Offenheiser, made the following statement:
“The TPP was already doomed thanks to efforts by millions of Americans who demanded their Members of Congress oppose the trade deal last year. It is long overdue that political leaders take heed of the many voices in the US and in other countries against bad trade deals like the TPP.
“This moment is an opportunity to rethink what the US wants from trade agreements. Trade agreements of the past have not delivered on improved livelihoods and economic security, but they did put the interests of foreign investors and corporate profits at the forefront. The winners and losers from free trade agreements, like the TPP, are divided not along national lines, but rather along economic lines. Any future trade agreement must address growing inequality here and around the world.
“There is reason to be skeptical that a cabinet of millionaires and billionaires with strong corporate ties will chart a new course for trade deals that does not further entrench the interests of the richest, both here and worldwide.
“As a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty and injustice, we at Oxfam have always held that trade can be an engine for poverty reduction and shared prosperity, but only if the rules of trade enable working families and people living in poverty to benefit.
“Future trade agreements must put people before profits. That means prioritizing economic security and opportunity for working people, limiting pharmaceutical industry monopoly power that restricts access to affordable medicines and excluding investment rules that privilege the interests of foreign investors over the rights of local communities. Only then can trade help to build a human economy that benefits the 99 percent rather than serving the interests of a privileged few.”
Oxfam is a global movement of people working together to end the injustice of poverty. With 70 years of experience in more than 90 countries, Oxfam takes on the big issues that keep people poor: inequality, discrimination, and unequal access to resources including food, water, and land. We help people save lives in disasters, build stronger futures for themselves, and hold the powerful accountable.
Join us. www.oxfamamerica.org
Trump Administration Signals New Approach to Trade Policy
(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement from Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa on President Donald Trump signing an executive order to formally withdraw the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“Today, President Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With this decision, the president has taken the first step toward fixing 30 years of bad trade policies that have cost working Americans millions of good-paying jobs.
“The Teamsters Union has been on the frontline of the fight to stop destructive trade deals like the TPP, China PNTR, CAFTA and NAFTA for decades. Millions of working men and women saw their jobs leave the country as free trade policies undermined our manufacturing industry. We hope that President Trump’s meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Jan. 31 opens a real dialogue about fixing the flawed NAFTA.
“We take this development as a positive sign that President Trump will continue to fulfill his campaign promises in regard to trade policy reform and instruct the USTR to negotiate future agreements that protect American workers and industry.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
NFU Statement on U.S. Withdrawal from Trans-Pacific Partnership
WASHINGTON (January 23, 2017) – A staunch opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, National Farmers Union (NFU) applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the deeply flawed TPP trade agreement. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement in response:
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a continuance of our nation’s deeply flawed trade agenda, and we’re pleased that the Trump Administration has decided to formally withdraw the U.S. from the pact to prioritize a fair trade agenda.
“For too long, our nation’s trade negotiators have prioritized a free trade over a fair trade agenda, leading to a massive $531 billion trade deficit, lost jobs and lowered wages in rural communities across America. It’s time our country refocuses the trade agenda to prioritize balanced trade, U.S. sovereignty, and U.S. family farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The Trump Administration should look to do so with a level of tact that does not motivate our trade partners to take retaliatory actions or threaten the integrity of positive trade markets that American agriculture relies upon.
“NFU looks forward to working with the new administration and Congress to promote fair trade solutions that work for family farmers and ranchers and the U.S. economy.”
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.
Trade Agreements Must Put Environmental Safeguards First
January 23, 2017 Jake Schmidt
President Trump announced that he will formally withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He has also said that that he will attempt to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The real test on trade for President Trump is whether he secures trade agreements that put the environment, working families, and healthy communities first. We see no signs as of yet that Trump wants trade agreements that protect Americans from climate damages and ensure that our citizens are protected from environmental destruction.
The U.S. and eleven other countries finalized TPP last year. TPP would have been the biggest trade agreement in recent history. It would cover countries accounting for over forty percent of the world’s trade and economic output. The U.S. is a signatory to TPP, but the bill to enshrine it into law was going nowhere as a large number of Democrats were opposed to bill given the strong opposition from environmental, labor, faith-based, and other public interest groups. NRDC joined with these groups to oppose TPP as the final agreement “would allow foreign corporations to challenge our health, safety and environmental protections in a foreign tribunal outside our legal system, and it would weaken those bedrock safeguards in the United States”.
The TPP and other pending trade agreements at the time failed to address key concernsaround climate change, protection of our bedrock environmental safeguards, food safety, chemical protections, and other environmental challenges.
President Trump has also publicly said that he intends to renegotiate NAFTA. We see no signs that he will ensure that companies don’t have the ability to challenge our environmental and public health protections through secret courts. NAFTA, like TPP, includes a provision called “investor-state dispute settlement”. This provision allows companies the right to challenge our environmental laws in a special trade tribunal outside the U.S. court system. When a corporation feels that its investments have been impacted by the introduction of a new law or policy, this mechanism allows foreign firms to bypass domestic court systems and sue governments for financial compensation. A number of environmental protections have been threatened by this provision. And a leading labor group has outlined that the labor and environmental provisions of NAFTA are weak and poorly enforced.
Protecting the environment and public health must be at the center of any renegotiated trade agreements. We see no signs as of yet that these provisions will be at the center of his trade priorities.
January 23, 2017 | By Jeremy Malcolm
Does Trump’s Withdrawal From TPP Signal a New Approach to Trade Agreements?
Today, President Trump signed an executive order fulfilling his campaign promise to withdraw the signature of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP). Although EFF was a strong opponent of the TPP, President Trump’s reasons for withdrawal from the agreement are not EFF’s reasons for opposition to it. Whereas the President contended in his inauguration address that previous U.S. trade policies had “enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry,” he had nothing to say about EFF’s concerns such as the secrecy with which the pact was concluded, and its impacts on digital rights.
This means that the President’s withdrawal from the TPP may not have achieved a long-lasting victory on those underlying issues. In other words, when future trade deals led by the Trump administration come up—such as a revision of NAFTA, and new bilateral agreements—they may be just as secretive, and equally harmful to Internet users’ rights, as the TPP.
Ten days ago EFF held a roundtable on trade transparency to try to avert that outcome, by gathering experts from across government and civil society to make the case for a new, more transparent and inclusive approach to trade negotiations. Today, we are publicly releasing the text of five simple recommendations that came out of that meeting:
On January 13, 2017 we the undersigned participants at a Trade Transparency Roundtable presented the following recommendations to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for the reform of its current trade negotiation practices, which we observe as lacking in public transparency and openness.
- Publish U.S. textual proposals on rules in ongoing international trade negotiations
USTR should immediately make available on its website the textual proposals related to rules that it has already tabled to its negotiating partners in the context of the TTIP, TiSA, and any other bilateral, regional, or multilateral trade and investment negotiations it undertakes.
- Publish consolidated texts after each round of ongoing negotiations
USTR should impose as a prerequisite to any new or continuing trade negotiations that all parties agree to publish consolidated draft texts on rules after each negotiating round, including negotiations conducted on the entire agreement or a specific element or chapter and among trade ministers or other officials of every party to such negotiations or of a subgroup of the parties to such negotiations.
- Appoint a “transparency officer” who does not have structural conflicts of interest in promoting transparency at the agency
USTR should immediately appoint a transparency officer who does not have any structural conflicts of interest in promoting transparency at the agency.
- Open up textual proposals to a notice and comment and public hearing process
USTR should initiate on-the-record public notice and comment and public hearing processes—at least equivalent to that normally required for other public rulemaking processes—at relevant points during the generation of government positions.
- Make Trade Advisory Committees more broadly inclusive
If proposed U.S. texts and draft texts from negotiations are made publicly available, the main official advantage of the Trade Advisory Committee system – access to that information – would disappear. However, if Trade Advisory Committees are to be retained in addition to public notice and comment and public hearing processes, then resources must be devoted to making membership and effective participation in these committees more accessible to all affected stakeholder groups, including non-industry groups.
We submit these recommendations in the firm belief that that such reforms will be essential in enabling the successful conclusion of future trade agreements, particularly those that contain provisions relating to the digital and online environment.
These five recommendations have also been endorsed by the Sunlight Foundation and the Association of Research Libraries, and we will be updating this post with further organizational endorsements as we receive them.
The President also stated in his inauguration speech last week that henceforth “every decision on trade…will be made to benefit American workers and American families.” If that is so, then one such decision should be to ensure that these American workers and families have access to the text of the proposed trade rules that will affect their lives, and that there is a better way of ensuring that their opinions, rather than just those of industry lobbyists, are reflected in U.S. trade policy. Indeed, however U.S. trade rules may change going forward, better transparency in developing those rules makes sense for this and every future U.S. administration.
The five simple recommendations above are a good first start, and currently EFF’s top priority on trade and your rights. We will be transmitting them to the United States Trade Representative and to other key offices within the administration, and following up throughout the year.
Press Release: CPA Supports President Trump’s Executive Order to Withdraw US from TPP
Washington~ In his first day of office, President Trump signed an executive order to withdraw the US from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
“It’s a great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” said President Trump while signing order.
This executive order fulfills a campaign promise to rewrite America’s trade policy during his first days as president. CPA supports the executive order and applauds President Trump for holding true to his campaign promises.
“President Trump’s fulfillment of his campaign promise to withdraw from the TPP shows he is serious about trade reform,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of CPA. “We look forward to working with the administration to balance trade, grow our manufacturing and agricultural supply chains and protect our sovereignty.”
“This is very good news as a first step on a long road for bringing jobs in the factory and the farm back to the USA,” said Brian O’Shaughnessy, CPA Chief Co-Chair and Co-Chair for Mfg. “The TPP has no language to offset currency manipulation, border adjustable tariffs and extends the power of foreign tribunals to force our country to change our laws to conform to their wishes.”
“TPP would be a ‘more of the same’ in a long line failed trade deals,” said Dan DiMicco, CPA Board of Director. “Trump is right to withdraw and it should not be resurrected.”
CPA and other organizations have drafted a document listing 13 principles that should be included in all future trade agreements:
1. Balanced Trade:Trade agreements must contribute to a national goal of achieving a manageable balance of trade over time.
2. National Trade, Economic and Security Strategy:Trade agreements must strive to optimize value added supply sustained growth
3. Reciprocity:Trade agreements must ensure that foreign country policies and practices as well as their tariff and non-tariff barriers provide fully reciprocal access for U.S. goods and services. The agreements must provide that no new barriers or subsidies outside the scope of the agreement nullify or impair the concessions bargained for.
4. State Owned Commercial Enterprises:Trade agreements must encourage the transformation of state owned and state controlled commercial enterprises (SOEs) to private sector enterprises. In the interim, trade agreements must ensure that SOEs do not distort the free and fair flow of trade – throughout supply chains – and investment between the countries.
5. Currency:Trade agreements must classify prolonged currency undervaluation as a per se violation of the agreement without the need to show injury or intent.
6. Rules of origin:Trade agreements must include rules of origin to maximize benefits for U.S. based supply chains and minimize free ridership by third parties. Further, all products must be labeled or marked as to country(s) of origin as a condition of entry.
7. Enforcement:Trade agreements must provide effective and timely enforcement mechanisms, including expedited adjudication and provisional remedies. Such provisional remedies must be permitted where the country deems that a clear breach has occurred which causes or threatens injury, and should be subject to review under the agreements’ established dispute settlement mechanisms.
8. Border Adjustable Taxes:Trade agreements must neutralize the subsidy and tariff impact of the border adjustment of foreign consumption taxes.
9. Perishable and Cyclical Products:Trade agreements must include special safeguard mechanisms to address import surges in perishable and seasonal agricultural product markets, including livestock markets.
10. Food and Product Safety and Quality:Trade agreements must ensure import compliance with existing U.S. food and product safety and quality standards and must not inhibit changes to or improvements in U.S. standards. The standards must be effectively enforced at U.S. ports.
11. Domestic Procurement:Trade agreements must preserve the ability of federal, state and local governments to favor domestic producers in government, or government funded, procurement.
12. Temporary vs. Permanent Agreements:Trade agreements must be subject to renegotiation and renewal. Renewal must not occur if the balance of benefits cannot be restored.
13. Labor:Trade agreements must include enforceable labor provisions to ensure that lax labor standards and enforcement by contracting countries do not result in hidden subsidies to the detriment of U.S.-based workers and producers.
The Coalition for a Prosperous America is a nonprofit organization representing the interests of 2.7 million households through our agricultural, manufacturing and labor members.
Richard Neal (D-MA), Ranking Member
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) today released the following statements after the Administration announced that the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement:
“The TPP agreement was flawed in many respects, as all of the major presidential candidates recognized last year. But withdrawing from the TPP must be a first step, not a last one,” said Ranking Member Neal. “We need new rules and better enforcement to make trade a two-way street, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. I look forward to working with the President, my Congressional colleagues, and stakeholders as we develop a new trade policy that focuses on improving the lives of American families and workers.”
“The TPP had already failed from lack of Congressional and public support. Going forward, the U.S. needs a new direction for trade – one that creates jobs in America, reduces our trade deficit, raises wages and protects the environment, consumer safety, and public health,” said Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Pascrell. “Most congressional Republicans supported the trade agreements President Trump now says he wants to abandon. While Democrats have spent decades fighting bad trade deals, this is a Johnny-come-lately moment for the Republican party. I look forward to bringing them into the fold of fighting for American workers. Now is as good a time as any to start.”