Crista Huff: Activist guide to oppose fast track trade Authority.

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Reasons to Oppose President Obama’s Intent

to Fast Track (TPA) the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement

(a summary)

  • The TPP provision for an Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) allows foreign nations & companies to sue U.S. states and municipalities in global courts.
  • ISDS provisions within the TPP also give global courts authority to override federal, state, and local laws.
  • The TPP has no provision to address currency manipulation.
  • The TPP forces the U.S. to import food & products with dramatically lower, unsafe, and unhealthy quality standards.
  • The TPP forces the U.S. to do business with 8 of the world’s top 12 human rights violators.
  • The TPP prohibits the use of country-of-origin labeling on food & products, bans the promotion of local or American products, and bans RFP preferences to local businesses.
  • The TPP forces all participating countries to accept GMO products, and bans the labeling of such products.
  • Fast Track trade authority strips Congress of the “regular order” of voting.
  • Fast Track trade authority removes Congress as a protector of states’ rights.
  • Fast Track trade authority strips Congress of its obligation to regulate foreign commerce.

Reasons to Oppose President Obama’s Intent

to Fast Track (TPA) the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement

ISDS – Investor-State Dispute Settlement

ISDS allows a foreign owner of U.S. property (land, businesses, stocks, bonds) to sue U.S. state and local governments in a global court, before a panel of private arbitrators.  This ability to bypass the Federal government, to sue state governments, appears to be an attempt to protect Federal coffers. 

*  The global court has authority to override US laws, and to award large sums of money to foreign interests, including for the nebulous claim that their “profit expectations” were not met. 

*  One individual loss in global court could easily bankrupt a state or local government.  Through NAFTA, such awards against the Federal government have run well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.  There is no subsequent way to appeal. 

*  The  D.O.J. currently loses 90% of its cases with the WTO.  It is unrealistic to expect state and local governments to fare any better.

*  Article:  “What is ISDS?”  http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/What-Is-ISDS

Currency Manipulation issues

  • 7 of the world’s top 10 currency manipulators are parties to the TPP.
  • China, the world’s biggest currency manipulator, can be added to the trade agreement (via “docking”) after the agreement is finalized.
  • USTR Michael Froman – top TPP negotiator, and President Obama’s law school buddy -- has publicly stated that the TPP does not address currency manipulation.
  • Currency manipulation is a way to increase profits in a transaction, while decreasing your trade partner’s profits.
  • Currency manipulation, in harming corporate profits, also directly harms their stock prices, and the overall stock market.  Stocks essentially rise and fall based on corporate profits.  If those profits dimish, or fall, stock prices will follow suit, affecting every taxpaying household in America.
  • article:  What is Currency Manipulation?  http://ourfuture.org/20140622/what-is-currency-manipulation

Fast Track (TPA) the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)                                         

Food & Health Safety Standards

  1. The USTR has agreed to accept other countries’ food safety standards, as long as the other countries have written standards which they deem good enough for their own people.  In essence, this decision lowers the participating countries’ food & product standards to that of the lowest common denominator within the trade agreement, and floods the U.S. with unsafe food & products. 
  2. An example or poor food quality standards is shrimp from Malaysia and Vietnam, and Chinese shrimp coming through Malaysia. 
  3. Article:  Southern Shrimp Alliance’s website discussion, and their letter to the USTR  http://www.shrimpalliance.com/new//wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Letter-to-USTR-re-TPP.pdf
  4. Quality problems include raw sewage; banned pesticides, herbicides & antibiotics; mercury levels; and filth (rats, feces) on shipping vessels.
  5. Additional problems stem from country of origin labelling issues (below) and ISDS issues (above) 

Human Rights Violators

  • 8 of the 12 TPP Partner countries are human rights violators, including human trafficking, sex slavery, slave ships, and Sharia Law (beheading Christians, stoning rape victims, and hanging homosexuals).

Country of Origin Labeling – Banned

  • The TPP prohibits country-of-origin labeling on food & products.  For example, consumers will not be able to choose Gulf shrimp over Malaysian shrimp, because they will not know where their food was produced.  American producers of high quality products will suffer at the presence of inferior imports at much lower prices.
  • All existing preferential programs which encourage consumers to buy local or American products will be banned.  In addition, RFP preferences to local businesses will also be banned.

Fast Track (TPA) the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)                                         

Any Opposition to GMO’s, and Restriction of GMO usage, is Banned

  • According to the TPP, no participating country may ban or restrict the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  The TPP will take precedence over any existing national restrictions or bans on GMOs.  (example: Japan currently has major regional restrictions on GMOs)
  • The labeling of food products to indicate the presence of GMOs will also be prohibited.

Constitutional issues

  • This global agreement would govern state policies, which are currently  protected by the 10th Amendment.  Also, the Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
  • Fast Track gives the Obama administration the power to circumvent the “regular order” of voting, including amending legislation, normal debate and cloture rules, and the Senate filibuster.  Fast Track also requires only a simple majority vote. 

“Docking” Agreement

  • Other countries (e.g. China and Thailand) can sign onto the treaty, once it’s in place.

Fast Track history

  • Fast Track has not been in force since 2007.
  • The Obama administration is operating as if they currently have Fast Track negotiating powers.
  • Several recent trade agreements have been negotiated under Fast Track trade authority, including NAFTA.  However, Ronald Reagan never used Fast Track.  He allowed Congress to rightfully do their job in negotiating trade agreements, using the “regular order” of Congressional voting.

Fast Track (TPA) the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)                                               

Timing in Congress

  • The Fast Track bill goes to Congress for limited debate, and a vote within 90 days, beginning approximately in late February

Aftermath of an Approved Trade Agreement

  • No aspect of the agreement can ever be changed, unless every country in the agreement agrees to the change.
  • Global courts can and do alter and add to international trade agreements.
  • Unlike Obamacare, Congress cannot decide that they made a mistake, and fix any portion of this trade agreement after its initial approval.

Related Media

Article:  Tea party, Dems join forces to put Obama’s Asia trade deal in jeopardy
http://linkis.com/washingtontimes.com/8PUg4

Article:  “Phyllis Schlafly Warns Against Giving Obama 'Fast-Track' Trade Power”
http://www.Newsmax.com/Newsfront/Phyllis-Schlafly-free-trade-Pacific-authority/2015/01/02/id/616154/#ixzz3RgqIJnog 

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This information was compiled by Crista Huff, in association with End Global Governance (www.EndGlobalGovernance.com).

You can reach Ms. Huff at cristahuff@gmail.com or at 303-250-9151.  Call her if you need ideas on how you can organize people to defeat TPA and/or TPP.


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