FEATURED:

Labor, environmental groups call on Congress to oppose TPP

Labor, environmental groups call on Congress to oppose TPP

Labor unions and environmental groups are among the more than 1,500 organizations calling on Congress to reject a sweeping Pacific Rim trade deal.

The groups, which include faith and advocacy organizations, argued in a letter sent to Capitol Hill on Monday that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would kill U.S. jobs, hurt the environment and endanger food safety.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The TPP would make it even easier to ship American jobs overseas to wherever labor is the most exploited and environmental regulations are the weakest, so it’s little surprise that certain corporations support this pact,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign, which organized the letter.  

“Civil society is unprecedentedly united against the TPP, however, due to the pact’s significant threats to jobs and wages, food safety, public health and the environment," Stamoulis said. 

In a separate letter sent earlier Monday, more than 400 businesses in 10 states signed off in calling for lawmakers to support and pass the trade pact. 

"The questions policymakers should be asking about these rules is whether, on the whole, they would create American jobs, raise our wages, enhance environmental sustainability, improve public health and advance human rights and democracy," the letter said.  

"After careful consideration, we believe you will agree, the answer to these questions is no," the letter said.

The letter called the TPP’s labor standards "grossly inadequate to the task of protecting human rights abroad and jobs here at home."

The groups also argue that the 12-nation deal doesn't include enforceable currency manipulation provisions that many in Congress have demanded and would wipe out an benefits from reduced tariffs, they wrote. 

The TPP deal does include a side agreement on currency that would require the 12 nations to confer about exchange rates and urge corrections when issues arise.

Supporters of the agreement say the side deal is adequate, while those who oppose the TPP say the agreement needs a more formal policy to punish nations that deliberately manipulate their currency to gain a global trade advantage. 

The groups also say that the investor-state dispute settlement system would enable foreign investors to challenge U.S. laws and strip vital regulations that protect the environment and financial system, among other areas.

"The TPP does not deserve your support," the letter said. "Now that fast-track authority is in place for it, Congress is left with no means of adequately amending the agreement without rejecting it entirely. We respectfully ask that you do just that."