Tell Congress to Side Track “Fast Track” Legislation

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to give the President “Fast Track” power to sign international trade deals with virtually no input from Congress. The legislation, if passed, would immediately permit the controversial and super-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be signed by the White House without the public knowing its full contents, and then pushed through Congress with limited debate, no hearings and no amendments — simply an up or down vote.

The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) is a massive international trade proposal encompassing 12 US and Pacific Rim countries in Latin America and Asia. It would establish a huge “free trade” zone that would, if enacted, include 40% of the world’s population and 60% of global GDP. The TPP is designed explicitly to exclude China, the region’s second largest economy. This factor threatens to increase US-China tensions at a time when militarization is already posing a growing threat.

TPP negotiations have been kept secret from Congress and the American people. Six hundred (600) transnational corporations, however, have been involved in the deliberations.

The TPP would permit corporations to sue governments in undemocratic international trade “tribunals” whose laws would reduce “expected future profits.” Such democatically-enacted laws include those addressing wages and worker safety, health care, financial regulation, “buy local” preferences, food safety, environmental protection and other issues that AFSC works on both domestically and within the nations included in the proposed trade agreement. The TPP is the ultimate attempt at corporate rule — on a global scale.

This view counters AFSC’s with respect to trade. “[T]rade policies should be evaluated not just on how much they may contribute to economic growth, but whether such growth assures basic needs and other economic rights, sustains the environment and reinforces dignity,” as stated in AFSC’s 2005 report, “Putting Dignity & Rights at the Heart of the Global Economy.”

Moreover, Based on our own experience supporting factory workers in Mexican cities along the U.S.-Mexico border before and during the first 15 years of NAFTA, we can attest that that deal did not improve the living and working conditions of those workers’ communities. We fear much the same results if the TPP is enacted.

“Fast Track” (also called “Trade Promotion Authority”) undermines our system of checks and balances and usurps democracy. It prevents the public an opportunity to learn about and meaningfully express their views to their Congressional representatives. Without “Fast Track,” the public and Congress would have more time to learn and discuss the proposed provisions of this secret treaty — significantly reducing the likelihood it would pass on its own meets.

AFSC background article on the TPP http://afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/AFSC%20Trans%20Pacific%20Partnership_1.pdf

Contact both your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative. Tell them to “Side Track Fast Track” and vote No.

Senator Rob Portman: 513-684-3265 or https://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

Senator Sherrod Brown: (216) 522-7272 or http://www.brown.senate.gov/contact

Find your congressperson here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

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