Halt Fast Track and Support Fair Trade Across the Pacific
Halt Fast Track and
Support Fair Trade Across the Pacific
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free-trade agreement currently in
development between the United States and eleven other countries that make
up the Pacific Rim. Although the actual text of the agreement is unknown to
most Americans (save a small slew of corporate negotiators) the agreement
will have a widespread global impact. Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile,
Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan have all
participated in negations for the agreement. Together, this partnership
will encompass 40% of all global trade.
To expedite the process of passing this agreement, Congress will be voting
on whether or not to grant President Obama "Fast Track" or Trade
Promotion Authority (TPA) to pass the agreement with limited congressional
review. Created by Richard Nixon's administration in 1974, Fast Track
authority grants the president special privileges to write and sign trade
legislation that Congress cannot amend or filibuster. This legislation
strips Congress of its constitutional authority to "regulate commerce
with foreign nations."
If Congress chooses to grant the president Fast Track authority on this
issue, only the president and certain corporate advisors will have the
power to negotiate this impactful piece of legislation. Although trade
partnerships are usually driven by economic incentives, agreements of this
scale can have severe effects that extend beyond trade and commerce.
Partnerships such as the TPP intertwine global markets, strengthen
relationships as a step forward towards globalization, and affect the daily
lives of billions of people worldwide. The General Assembly has recognized
these wide-ranging effects, and stresses that "globalization [also]
includes spiritual, cultural, political, and human welfare
dimensions." Thus, the Presbyterian Church calls upon the leading
countries of the world to engage in transparent and fair trade agreements
that will ensure "a particular kind of globalization that reflects
justice, community, and sustainability for all creation" (http://pc-biz.org/Explorer.aspx?id=907).
The president has indicated that he would like to conclude TPP negotiations
this fall, and a vote on granting the president Trade Promotion Authority
may be coming in the near future. If Congress agrees to provide the
president with this authority, the United States will enter into the
Trans-Pacific Partnership without a proper consideration of the terms of
the agreement and virtually zero transparency for the American public.
We believe that granting Fast Track authority to the president could make
our country enter into a calamitous agreement that will violate the
sovereignty of other governments as well as our own. If this agreement
follows the path of former agreements, it will authorize the validity of
investor-state disputes where foreign corporations can sue governments for
passing legislation that is harmful to their profits. Along with the
potential damage from investor-state disputes, the partnership will most
likely continue to increase the export of American jobs overseas.
To truly know what the text of the partnership entails, it is necessary for
Congress to deny the president Fast Track authority over this partnership
and enable a dialogue among citizens and legislators about what the
American people want out of our foreign trade relations.
action to halt "Fast Track" Trade Promotion Authority on this
issue. Let your members of Congress know your concerns and urge them to
support an option that is actually free, fair, and transparent!
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