Congress: No backroom ‘free trade’ deals for the 1%

UPDATE (June 19) — On Monday, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2nd) became the first member of Washington’s Congressional delegation to sign on to a letter calling on the White House to end the undemocratic secrecy of Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. So keep contacting Congress and urging your representative to sign the DeLauro-Miller letter that says: “No backroom trade deal for the 1%!”

The latest leak of documents from the secret TPP talks, Congress has begun to take notice. With Larsen’s signature, more than 90 U.S. Representatives have now signed the letter by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) pointing out the precedents for draft trade negotiating texts being shared with the public; expressing strong concern about needless secrecy and over-classification in the TPP; and demanding greater information-sharing with the public and the U.S. Congress.

The thirteenth major round of TPP negotiations — and perhaps one of the last — is taking place July 2-10 in San Diego, and time is running out for U.S. Representatives to sign the letter. So, especially if your Representative is U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7th) or Adam Smith (D-9th), contact Congress TODAY.

(June 15, 2012) — This week, a critical document was leaked from the Obama Administration’s secret negotiations with eight Pacific nations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the latest sweeping so-called “free trade” agreement aggressively pushed by U.S. and international corporate interests. The document indicates that U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk is offering to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, powers that sacrifice U.S. sovereignty and directly contradict President Obama’s prior promises.

The leak comes as some members of Congress have complained about the secrecy surrounding the negotiations for this “NAFTA for Asia” and that they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive. The USTR’s office has granted approximately 600 corporate lobbyists special “cleared advisor” status that allows them to comment on TPP negotiating texts — but the American public and most members of Congress have been barred from seeing them.

TAKE A STAND! This is not democracy and our representatives in Congress need to hear from us! The American people demand greater transparency and Congressional oversight in these critical TPP negotiations. Click here to tell Congress: “No backroom deals for the 1%!”

The leaked document reveals that the USTR is pushing to grant special rights for corporations, above the laws in the nine countries which are party to the agreement. Corporations would be granted the extraordinary ability to sue countries in special tribunals that are not grounded in the legal system of any country or the United Nations.

Here’s how Wednesday’s Huffington Post report describes it:

Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.

In 2008, President Obama and the Democratic Party promised:

We will not negotiate bilateral trade agreements that stop the government from protecting the environment, food safety, or the health of its citizens; give greater rights to foreign investors than to U.S. investors; require the privatization of our vital public services; or prevent developing country governments from adopting humanitarian licensing policies to improve access to life-saving medications.

TAKE A STAND! It’s time to hold Democrats to their promises! And that begins with demanding greater transparency and Congressional oversight in the TPP negotiations. Click here to tell Congress: “No backroom deals for the 1%!”

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