SEATTLE (March 18, 2015) — The national debate over a proposed trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) drew passionate testimony and action from Seattle city leaders on Tuesday. The Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Sustainability committee passed a resolution expressing opposition to Trade Promotion Authority (“Fast Track”) bill in Congress and strong concerns about the TPP. The resolution will be forwarded to the full council for a vote on Monday, March 30.
TAKE A STAND — On Monday, March 30, the full council will hear and vote on the resolution. They need to hear from you. Call or email city council members today. Call 206-684-8566 and/or email them at email@example.com. Tell them that you oppose both Fast Track and the TPP and urge them to pass the committee’s resolution with no further amendments. Congress could introduce Fast Track next month. Now is the time to send a clear message that we are holding all of our elected officials accountable for upholding democratic processes and ensuring trade agreements are by, of, and for, the people.
Compelling testimony from labor, retiree, environmental, food justice, and other civic organizations described the negative impact of status quo trade agreements on our economy and governments’ ability to pass legislation that protects the environment, labor standards, food safety and other consumer safeguards.
“We can have good trade agreements that make the lives of people around the world better,” said Lynne Dodson, Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “The TPP is not such an agreement. As economist Joseph Stiglitz said, the TPP is ‘of the 1%, by the 1%, and for the 1%’.”
Council member Mike O’Brien introduced the resolution, which expresses opposition to Fast Track, and strong concerns with the TPP. O’Brien, and council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata, described how Fast Track thwarts the democratic process by failing to allow time for constituents to weigh in with their representatives in Congress on the trade deal, and stifles thorough debate and amendments.
“Trade agreements can, and should, serve the interests of people and civil societies,” Dodson said. “There is no evidence that the TPP will do so, and plenty of evidence that similar trade agreements are destructive to our communities, and promote the mass displacement and exploitation of people in countries with whom we have the trade agreements. We can do better.”