SCCDP Supports Responsible Fair Trade
This month, the Santa Clara County Democratic Party passed a resolution opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership TPP); the California Democratic Party recently passed a similar resolution. Local representatives Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren have joined the opposition and are urging their colleagues to oppose the TPP and the Fast-Track negotiation process. Congress may vote on the TPP as early as October 1st this year.
The precedent set by NAFTA and other more recent trade agreements illustrate the problem of hastily sacrificing our domestic sovereignty to the tribunals set up by so-called “free trade” institutions like the World Trade Organization. Under NAFTA, for example, important health and safety safeguards have been sacrificed, while multi-national corporations enjoy the benefits of a race to the bottom in terms of wages and worker protection. The supposed economic benefits are also a sham: Under the last three free trade agreements (with Korea, Colombia and Panama), combined U.S. exports to these countries actually fell by four percent. Our bilateral trade deficit with South Korea actually increased by 30 percent its first year. And jobs? These free trade agreements have proven as adept at creating new jobs as massive tax cuts were at sparking the economy. Just look at the latest unemployment figures to see how that’s worked out.
Even worse, Wall Street has pushed for financial services agreements within TPP that limit necessary regulation like firewalls between different types of banking, protections against “too big to fail,” and banning risky financial products – the same type of banking practices that blew up the world economy in 2008 and whose fallout we still suffer today. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has slammed the TPP for extending restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe and for its lack of transparency.
Indeed, TPP’s lack of transparency is a huge concern, especially under a “Fast Track” negotiation process. Fast Track allows the executive branch to complete negotiations in secret, sign the pact, and present it to Congress as is, with no avenue for meaningful public input or debate.
What would be better than a Fast-Tracked TPP? A new trade agreement negotiation and approval process that restores a robust role for Congress, secures prosperity for the greatest number of Americans, and preserves the vital tenets of American democracy in the era of globalization.
Here’s a great place to start if you’d like to learn more about TPP and what it means for our country – and our democracy.