The Obama Administration is negotiating a massive commercial agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 other Pacific Rim nations: Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore,Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Brunei. They are asking Congress to approve a “Fast Track” procedure for the TPP.

Please email or phone (202-224-5244) Senator Wyden and urge him to insist that any Trade Agreements are widely publicized and open to public discussion and input well before they get to the stage of “Fast Track.”

The TPP negotiations have been kept secret, even from most members of Congress. But some 600 “Trade Advisors,” consisting mostly of multinational corporations, have had full access to the texts. However, Wikileaks has publicized the text dealing with intellectual property. The TPP is rumored to include mechanisms for Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) similar to those previously set up by NAFTA, the WTO and other trade agreements.  ISDS  allows a corporation to sue a country to overturn  laws or regulations which the corporation feels limit its ability to make maximum profits. This system allows the interests of private corporations to trump the national interests of countries.

The Administration wants to have Fast Track authority, which would allow the President to sign a trade agreement  before Congress sees it. Congress would then have 90 days to hold an up-or-down vote on the agreement with no amendments allowed. In early 2014, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) joined hundreds of other Members of Congress in opposing Fast Track legislation introduced by Utah’s senator, Orrin Hatch, the senior Republican in the Senate. We commended Senator Wyden for opposing the Hatch Fast Track bill in 2014. But now, inexplicably, he is actively working with Hatch on new Fast Track legislation that will likely be introduced this month!

In his recent Town Hall in Beaverton, Senator Wyden stated that he favored “trade done right,”  and that he also favored transparency in trade agreements and opposed restrictions on internet freedom. But he also said that some sort of “Fast Track” procedure was necessary in order to have any hope of instituting large multinational trade agreements. We need to convince the Senator that the history of the TPP negotiations is not “trade done right,” and that the public has an urgent need to see and to comment on the proposed agreements before they go to Congress. Not a single Democrat still in office was willing to put their name on the Hatch Fast Track bill in 2014.  As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Wyden’s support for it now could send a signal to some corporate-minded Democrats that Fast Track is suddenly safe to support.  Let’s disabuse everyone of that notion by convincing Senator Wyden to publicly oppose the Hatch Fast Track proposal once again.

Please email or phone (202-224-5244) Senator Wyden and urge him to insist that any Trade Agreements are widely publicized and open to public discussion and input well before they get to the stage of “Fast Track.”

Posted to in Past Action  Past Economy

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