The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
We need your help to shape ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) starting June 14th.
During his campaign, President Barack Obama outlined a bold vision for trade reform. He committed to create a new model for American trade agreements that would put working people, the environment, family farms and consumers first.
We need your help to realize this vision, and to bring about the Obama promise on trade reform.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) involves seven Asian and Latin American countries, providing a long-overdue opportunity for us to address trade failures of the past, and to lay out a new framework for the future.
But we cannot be too optimistic. TPP negotiations present both possibilities and peril.
If corporations get thier way, a future TPP will include the worst copy-cat provisions cloned from NAFTA and CAFTA. This pro-status-quo pact would mirror much of the proposed Bush FTA agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea. These failed attempts represent an ending point for the last administration, not a starting point for the new one.
We want to help the President craft a trade agreement that can last, rather than fighting against one that looks like the past.
We need to make clear we need a new deal, or there’s no deal, when it comes to the TPP.
Write to your elected representatives, and urge them to support the President’s trade reform commitments. Ask them to demand a TPP that ditches the NAFTA model and crafts a new agenda that works for all of us. Request that they usw the TRADE Act as a roadmap to do it right this time.
Three different ways to contact elected officials
1) By Internet: Contact your elected officials using our online form. Enter your zip code, and then personalize a message based on their voting records.
2) By Phone: Call (202) 224-3121 and ask the switchboard operator to connect you to your member’s office. Confidently ask to speak to the "Trade Staffer". Make the points in the letter below, including that any new TPP trade deal must ditch the NAFTA model and use the TRADE Act as a roadmap for negotiations. Ask for a written response about whether the official agrees with your “new deal or no deal” approach, and what he or she will do to help deliver on it. Be sure to leave your address.
3) By Mail: If you want to go old school, visit www.congress.org to send paper snail mail. Type in your zip code, click on representative, and go to the "contact" tab. Send a postcard or letter to the Washington D.C. postal address.
More Background on TPP and the TRADE Act
Blueprint for Negotiations, and a Roadmap to a Better Way
If we work hard to support Obama’s trade reform commitments, and to push back those who would ignore them, we can shape a new model that serves workers, the environment, family farmers, and consumers worldwide. With our support, the administration can craft a trade policy that creates - not destroys - the dreams of America's working families.
The comprehensive reform outlined in the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act can serve as a roadmap for negotiations, and a blueprint for building a successful TPP. It now enjoys the support of over 140 members of both parties, including a majority of House Democrats.
Establishing that President Obama’s reform commitments provide the basis for TPP negotiations is critical, considering the Bush administration first initiated American involvement in the TPP process in February 2008. Bush’s staff participated in three negotiating rounds, promoting past trade agreement terms opposed by many congressional Democrats, our organizations and according to polling data, a majority of voters.
With a growing consensus that the TRADE Act is the best pathway out of our job-killing trade policy past, it also serve as a starting point for the future - and a path for enacting Obama promises into our negotiating position.
Translating Trade Reform into Reality
The faith, labor, family farm, consumer, environmental and social justice organizations in Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC) have rolled up their sleeves, and are pushing to bring about President Obama’s campaign commitments.
We applaud Ambassador Kirk's promises for a serious consultation process on TPP talks to achieve “a robust U.S. view that seeks the highest economic benefit for America's workers, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and service providers, and reflects our shared values on labor, the environment, and other key issues.”
At the June TPP meeting, it is critical that partner countries understand there are certain provisions that must be included in any future U.S trade agreement for it to obtain public and congressional support. Done right, we can expand trade under terms that deliver benefits to more people, and can craft a deal that will gain the support of a majority in Congress.
We strongly back the President’s view, including his language in the platform that "Democracies are our best trading partners, our most valuable allies, and the nations with which we share our deepest values . . . The United States must be a relentless advocate for democracy and put forward a vision of democracy that goes beyond the ballot box."
Promoting a Democracy Clause
Several of our prospective TPP FTA partners are members of the Commonwealth whose charter includes the following democracy clause language that could be incorporated into the TPP: “We believe in… the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political processes in framing the society in which he or she lives.” The TRADE Act includes readiness criteria requiring prospective partners to have a democratic form of government.
The TPP negotiators must be relentless advocates for democracy, and put forward a vision that goes beyond the ballot box. They should increase our support for strong legislatures, independent judiciaries, free press, vibrant civil society, honest police forces, religious freedom, equality for women and minorities, and the rule of law. In new democracies, they should support the development of civil society and representative institutions that can protect fundamental human rights and improve the quality of life for all citizens, including independent and democratic unions. (Language taken from the party platform.)
One of the seven countries proposed as a TPP partner, Vietnam, does not have a market economy, while both Vietnam and Brunei have authoritarian governments. These challenges, however, represent opportunities for the new Administration. We should work to obtain a Democracy Clause in the TPP, and help bring democracy to those nations.