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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, nearly 600 organizations led by the Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, the Citizens Trade Campaign, and Public Citizen sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) firmly rejecting fast-track trade promotion authority and calling for a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership should not be under consideration for Fast Track. The trade agreement is being negotiated between the United States, Mexico, Canada and several countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Passage of TPP is an Obama administration goal; it has been discussed and altered for years.
Union representatives from affiliates of Public Services International (PSI), including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, will make their case mid-week to Finance Committee Democrats that pending trade agreements are presenting a threat to workers in public service sectors by opening them up to privatization through multinational companies.
It is clear that politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are likely to face difficulties in getting an agreement on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) through the relevant legislative bodies. In both Europe and the United States there is considerable suspicion of trade pacts in general, based on a history in which the benefits of such deals were grossly oversold. There is also opposition from many segments in society based on parts of deals which are likely to weaken consumer, environmental or worker protections.
Yet more secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are underway today in Washington. Thanks to some hearty protestors braving the heat and humidity to hold a location pointer out in front of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the word got out. For TPP negotiations launched in 2008 on a deal that was supposed to be done in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively, the sell-by date has long passed on this sort of closed-door diplomatic legislating.