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 BlumenauerFifth Dem announces plan to boycott Trump's State of the Union Maxine Waters to skip Trump's State of the Union People with addiction issues should be able to control their own health data MORE (Ore.), Suzan DelBeneSuzan Kay DelBeneDem seeks to curb tax breaks for employee buyouts over sexual misconduct Modernizing NAFTA can benefit American workers A tax reform idea that works for all Americans 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 B.G. 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 KindRonald (Ron) James KindAmericans worried about retirement should look to employee ownership House passes concealed carry gun bill Congress barreling toward explosive immigration fight 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.