URGENT ACTION ALERT!

 

Please take immediate action on Fast Track!


Greetings!

Please call your Representative by noon on Wednesday to oppose Fast Track trade authority as the first step in opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP). DJPC is part of a national coalition concentrating its efforts on Democratic members of the House. (A quick primer on Fast Track and the TPP follow this action alert if you are not familiar with them.)

Fast Track delegates away Congress’ Constitutional trade authority. It is crucial that our Representatives be able to consider and debate trade agreements that impact jobs, health, environment, etc. It is also critical that we ensure a fair deal for the people most affected in the countries of our trading partners. DJPC stands for human rights and economic justice throughout the Americas.

The pitch is simple:  “I am calling to ask Rep. _______ to join more than 120 other House Democrats and sign Congresswoman DeLauro and Congressman Miller’s letter opposing Fast Track trade authority by the end of business on Wednesday.  It is anticipated that the administration will request this authority soon.  I am making this request so that when the TPP and similar trade agreements come up for a vote, real debates can be held on them.  Thank you for taking my comment.”

Rep. Diana DeGette 202-225-4431

Rep. Jared Polis 202-225-2161

Rep. Ed Perlmutter 202-225-2645

U.S. Capitol switchboard 202-225-3121

Please ask to speak with the trade staffer in your Representative’s office. Thank you!

Fast Track Authority

Fast Track Authority” (aka Trade Promotion Authority) is being requested by the administration as a way to move a massive new free trade proposal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPA), quickly through Congress without amendment and little discussion. Here’s what you might want to know about “Fast Track”:

  • Fast Track” is a power that has been given to the President to negotiate international trade agreements in the past. With Fast Track, Congress would simply give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to the agreement with no amendments and little debate allowed.

  • Fast Track has been used in the past. In fact, it was in effect from 1974 through 1994 which made it possible to pass NAFTA and several other free trade agreements as well as create the World Trade Organization in 1994. It was defeated by House Republicans during the Clinton administration but renewed (by one vote!) under George W. Bush in 2002. It expired in 2007.

  • Fast Track is favored by the over 600 corporate interests, including Halliburton and Monsanto, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. All have all been advisors in the negotiation of the TPP, a 12-country agreement that would comprise 40% of the world’s economy. The Obama administration has indicated that renewal is a requirement for passage of the TPP.

  • Fast Track is opposed by over two-thirds of freshmen Democrats in the House, some 400 civil society organizations representing labor, family farms, human rights, environmental and consumer interests, indigenous groups, and public health, along with many state and local groups.

  • The U.S. Constitution expressly charges Congress with the responsibility for regulating commerce with foreign nations through Article 1, Section 8. This puts the very constitutionality of “Fast Track” in question. As Public Citizen points out, “There is no way to fix Fast Track. Its very design forecloses meaningful congressional oversight – or control.” We need to subject our trade pacts to open public debate so that the majority gains the full benefit.

For a complete analysis of Fast Track, please visit DJPC’s website at http://denjustpeace.org/51/economic-justice-globalization-information/fast-track/.

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and

how does it relate to Latin America?

The TPP is a multilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and other Pacific Rim nations, which combined make up approximately 40% of the global economy. The TPP includes the Latin American nations of Mexico, Peru and Chile. (Colombia has expressed interest in joining at a later date.) Negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative and the Obama administration, it could be brought to Congressional vote by the end of 2013.

What are the issues of concern for human rights, economic justice and lasting peace in Latin America within the TPP?

DJPC has questions and major concerns regarding:

  • protections for organized labor and children

  • the undermining and displacement of small farmers

  • increased repression of indigenous communities

The TPP’s reach goes beyond concerns of trade, with chapters that include:

  • investor-state” dispute resolution mechanisms favoring corporations over nation-states and their citizens. For a discussion of “investor-state” issues, please visit http://bit.ly/1ausI1D.

  • restrictions of internet access/freedom of speech

  • policies that may compromise public health issues by restricting access to cheaper generic drugs to combat major illnesses/diseases

  • challenging a domestic government’s right and ability to enforce environmental protection standards—from mining to fracking.

To put the ramifications of “free” trade agreements (FTA) into perspective…More than one year after the U.S. ratified and implemented a bilateral FTA with Colombia and despite last minute inclusions for human rights considerations, Colombia continues to be the deadliest location in the world to be a union member. Mass, forced internal displacement rose and the agricultural sector as it concerns small farmers has been crippled.

The Colombia FTA followed the neoliberal model of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In the current discussion, the TPP has been referred to as “NAFTA on steroids.” The TPP has been negotiated in secret, even to the exclusion of U.S. Congressional members and without the input of broader civil society. Compounding on this lack of transparency—negotiating sessions have been moved to remote locations and hidden, due to international public outcry.

For more information on just trade, please see DJPC’s position paper on trade available at http://denjustpeace.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Trade.pdf.


We hope that this information has been helpful in your understanding of the issues involved in the current trade debate. As you are aware, DJPC is a grass roots organization that depends upon the support of its members and followers. If you are able to help with a contribution at this time, please visit
https://denjustpeace.ejoinme.org/MyPages/DonationPage/tabid/54861/Default.aspx and ensure the continuation of our work. Muchisimas gracias!

DJPC’s Advocacy committee

Denver Justice & Peace Committee
P.O. Box 12403
Denver, Colorado 80212 USA
Tel. 303-623-1463
www.denjustpeace.org
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