Pro-trade Dems want green goals in TPP

Pro-trade Dems want green goals in TPP

A group of pro-trade House Democrats penned a letter on Wednesday calling on the Obama administration to lock in strong environmental provisions as part of a massive Asia-Pacific trade deal.

Reps. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerA unifying cause in Congress: animal protection House Dem seeks to create commission on 'presidential capacity' Medical marijuana supporters hopeful about government funding bill MORE (Ore.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan DelBeneOvernight Healthcare: House held back ObamaCare bill for potential second vote | Lobby groups to watch in health fight | Dems seek meeting with Ivanka Trump on women's health Dems ask to meet with Ivanka Trump on women's healthcare issues Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump launches tech advisory council | Lawmakers offer IT modernization bill | Spending deal boosts DHS cyber funds MORE (Wash.), Scott Peters (Calif.) and 16 other Democrats who supported President Obama’s trade agenda argue that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) presents a unique chance to raise global environmental standards.

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“The TPP presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections to a degree that no amount of foreign aid could ever bring,” said Blumenauer, who helped spearhead the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE.

“Environmental miscreants are not going to unilaterally disarm,” he said.

“A negotiated approach, using the economic incentives in a trade agreement, is the best way to turn bad actors into violators of enforceable commitments aimed at protecting our natural resources and stopping egregious practices like whaling, shark finning, illegal logging and wildlife trafficking.”

A flurry of letters to Froman from Capitol Hill come as U.S.trade officials and leaders from 11 other Pacific Rim nations meet in Hawaii this week in an effort to close talks on the TPP.

“Strong, enforceable environmental protections will not only help protect our planet for future generations, it will also level the playing field for small-and-medium-sized U.S. businesses by raising environmental standards,” DelBene said.

On Tuesday, a group of 18 House Democrats who supported fast-track legislation — led by Blumenauer and Rep. Ron KindRon KindCongress should prioritize small farmers and taxpayers over Big Ag Why Trump is fighting Canada on softwood lumber and dairy Lawmakers targeted as district politics shift MORE (Wis.) — said their support for the TPP depends on whether the Obama administration can ensure the enforcement of global trade rules.

“We understand the process of enforcing treaty obligations is complex, expensive and time consuming, which makes it essential that we send a clear signal to our trading partners about enforcement now,” they wrote.

They specifically urged Froman to look into whether Peru, a member of the TPP, is violating trade rules by engaging in illegal logging practices.