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It is simply unacceptable for the United States to bind itself into a close and enduring relationship with a country that is enacting such policies... The administration has claimed that the TPP will be a high-standard 21st century agreement. But clearly no 21st century agreement can include a country that has imposed 5th century laws that deny women, LGBT people and others their basic human rights.
A bipartisan group of House Representatives, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), have also opposed the TPP, highlighting in particular that the TPP is largely a secret deal, negotiated without sufficient transparency. "Right now, lead negotiators from the 12 nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership are meeting behind closed doors and without input or oversight from members of Congress," DeLauro said in a statement released to coincide with the DC negotiations. "The Administration has repeatedly refused to take into account the deeply harmful impact the TPP would have on workers and families, food safety, intellectual property, financial regulations, the environment and access to medicine. The American people want confidence that international trade creates jobs and grows the economy. Instead, we know that corporate interests are driving these negotiations."
In the nearly five-year history of the talks there has been limited, if any, participation by public stakeholders or elected officials. However, multinational corporate interests have been thoroughly represented by "trade advisers," leading some critics to characterize the TPP as a "backroom trade deal" that favors the 1 percent.
House members have also stressed that negotiations with known labor rights offenders sends a conflicting message to the world about the United States' commitment to the rights of working people. In a letter to the US Trade Representative Michael Froman, Reps. DeLauro, George Miller (D-CA-11), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-46), and Mark Pocan (D-WI-2) warned, "Free trade agreements with nations that violate international child labor and forced labor standards not only undermine our moral authority, but they also capitalize on the lack of oversight and regulation in developing nations." The group cited the Department of Labor's International Labor Affairs Bureau's (ILAB) annual report that has cited one-third of the TPP countries for labor abuses. In particular, Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, and Malaysia have all faced charges of labor violations. In ILAB's 2014 report, Vietnam was one of only four countries in the world cited in the report for both child and forced labor abuses.
The countries represented in the TPP negotiations are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The deal would set rules governing roughly 40 percent of the global economy, while impacting everything from the cost of healthcare, deregulation of food and drug safety, environmental policy, and FCC rules.
Media Resources: Public Citizen; MarketPulse 12/8/14; Ms. Magazine Fall 2014; Feminist Newswire 7/9/14, 6/9/14; Office of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro 12/8/14, 12/4/14; Center for American Progress 3/25/14
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