Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement10/5/15
WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement today after the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the United States has reached a deal with 11 other nations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“The deal announced today is the result of negotiations between corporate interests and trade representatives, which ignored the voices of working families in all twelve countries. While details are still emerging, we are concerned the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will destroy jobs and depress wages, threaten health and safety standards, harm our air, land and water, and make it harder for patients to access life-saving drugs.
“This deal is not ‘the most progressive trade deal ever.’ There is no indication that TPP will force countries with lax labor laws to improve their working conditions or standards. That means Americans will compete with workers who earn less than a dollar an hour. The deal also threatens the jobs of working families by supplementing protections against currency manipulators that undermine American exports, with an unenforceable side-deal.
“American families deserve trade deals that put them first. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not that deal.”
The Progressive Caucus has consistently raised concerns throughout this process about specific provisions – or the lack there of – that would make the difference between a good trade deal and bad. Our Progressive Principles for Tradeoutline provisions that would ensure trade deals benefit American workers. TPP fails to meet these principles:
- Protect Congress’ constitutionally mandated authority to set trade policy
- Restore balanced trade to address our growing trade deficit
- Put workers first by containing enforceable and robust labor protections
- Stop currency manipulation that devalues American exports
- Expand buy-America procurement practices to give priority to American businesses
- Protect the environment for future generations by respecting strong environmental standards
- Prioritize consumers above profits to allow countries to implement and retain policies to protect the health and safety of consumers
- Protect nationhood rights by prohibiting special corporate courts through Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions
- Secure affordable access to essential medicines and services
- Respect human rights and require signatories to be consistent with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Provide a safety net for vulnerable American workers who lose their jobs due to trade