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Coalition Skewers U.S. Negotiators For Lack of Transparency in Trans-Pacific Trade Talks


TPP summit hosted outside Washington, DC is met with protest
 
WHAT: More than fifty labor, environmental, public health and community organizations, including Occupy Wall Street, will hold a rally outside the Lansdowne Resort on Sunday, September 9 demanding a public voice in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations taking place inside.
WHO: Allison Chin, President, Sierra Club, Ron Collins, Chief of Staff, Communications Workers of America, Matthew Kavanaugh, Director of U.S. Advocacy, HealthGAP. Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth US, Occupy Wall Street, and over 50 organizations.
WHERE: Outside the Lansdowne Resort, 44050 Woodridge Parkway, Lansdowne, VA  20176
WHEN: Sunday, September 9, 3:00pm

Leesburg -More than fifty labor, environmental, public health and community organizations gathered outside the Lansdowne Resort on Sunday afternoon for a rally demanding a public voice in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place inside.  The secretive pact is poised to become the largest free trade agreement in U.S. history, and is expected to affect the economy, the environment and consumer safety in Virginia and beyond. The secretive TPP is poised to become the largest free trade agreement in U.S. history, and is expected to affect the economy, the environment and consumer safety in Virginia and beyond.  “The TPP is shaping up to become one of the biggest and most destructive trade agreements because it could lead to even more offshoring of our manufacturing and service sector jobs, downward pressure on wages and benefits, and the subversion of our labor rights and environmental protections. But the public is unaware that the TPP even exists because neg
 otiators are keeping their proposals hidden,” said Ron Collins, chief of staff for the Communications Workers of America.  “Americans deserve the right to know what’s being proposed in our names.” 

“The TPP would allow transnational corporations to challenge environmental laws that protect our air, land and water. The TPP could lead to an explosion in natural gas and other energy exports — something that would expand dangerous fracking and accelerate global warming,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth US.  “With such dire environmental impacts, it is no wonder U.S. trade negotiators want to prevent this pact from being debated in the open.”

The Leesburg TPP summit is the fourteenth major round of negotiations on the proposed trade and investment pact between the U.S. and countries throughout the Pacific Rim.  To date, the U.S. Trade Representative has refused to publicly release the texts of any of the proposals its office has made for a reported 26 separate chapters, covering everything from financial regulations and government procurement to food safety and the environment.  Meanwhile, approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been granted access to the negotiating documents.  This is a rollback in transparency from many past trade negotiations.  The World Trade Organization publishes draft texts on its website, for example, and the Bush administration publicly released draft texts of the Free Trade Area of the Americas back in 2001.

“It’s outrageous that middlemen like Cargill and Land O’ Lakes are provided ongoing access to the negotiating texts, while the family farmers whose livelihoods will be affected by the TPP are being barred from commenting on specific texts until after the negotiations have concluded,” said Katherine Ozer, executive director of the National Family Farm Coalition.  “It’s only reasonable to expect farmers, consumers and the environment to suffer under such an imbalanced negotiating process.”

“Leaked texts reveal that U.S. negotiators are pushing for TPP provisions that would reduce access to lifesaving, generic medications — jacking up healthcare costs here at home and becoming a literal death sentence for people with AIDS and other treatable diseases in much of the world,” said Matthew Kavanagh, Director of U.S. Advocacy for HealthGAP.  “If I were a negotiator trying to ram through despicable provisions like that behind closed doors, I’d be afraid to let the public know what I was doing, too.”

Countries represented in this month’s negotiations are the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, but the TPP is also explicitly intended as a “docking agreement” that other nations will join over time.  Canada and Mexico will be joining during the December round of negotiations, and Japan and other countries have also expressed some interest in joining in the future.  The U.S. had been pushing to conclude the TPP negotiations this year, but they are now widely expected to continue into early 2013.  The U.S. Trade Representative has said that he expects Congress to grant “Fast Track” authority in order to speed the TPP through Congress outside of normal review, amendment and debate procedures. 

Sunday’s rally was endorsed by Amazon Watch, American Jobs Alliance, American Medical Student Association, Bergen County Green Party, Borneo Project, Bronx Greens, Brooklyn For Peace, Cheri Honkala (Green Party vice-presidential nominee), Citizens Trade Campaign, Communication Workers of America, Doctors for the 99%, Fair World Project, Family Farm Defenders, Frack Free Genesse, Friends of Animals United NY/NJ, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, Gas Free Seneca, Global Justice for Animals and the Environment, Gronowicz for Congress, Healthcare for the 99%, Health Global Access Project, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Itsoureconomy.org, Jill Stein (Green Party presidential nominee), Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, Manhattan Greens, Mingas Network, National Family Farm Coalition, NY Committee in Solidarity w/ the People of El Salvador, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, Occupy Astoria LIC, Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity, Occupy Wall Street Labor Outreach Committee, Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice, October2011.org, Organic Consumers Association, Penley Global Law, Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition, Peruvians in Action NY, Public Citizen, Queerocracy, Rainforest Action Network, Rainforest Relief, NY Whale and Dolphin Action League, Sierra Club, TradeJustice NY Metro, United Students Against Sweatshops, West Queens Greens, and Wetlands Activism Collective. In solidarity: Occupy Queens
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For a reporters’ memo on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, visit:  http://tinyurl.com/TPPLeesburg

This "trade deal" STINKS! FLUSH the TPP dot ORG REPORT from the frontline of the battle for human dignity over the lust for power....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

FLUSHtheTPP.orgI'm writing from Baltimore after a few days of preparation for operation FLUSH the TPP!

The TPP is a "trade agreement" to hijack our social contract and replace it with corporate courts, of by and for the the mega-corporations, uber-persons-become-uber-citizens, while humanity is to be further commodified and reduced to lab rats in an experiment in greed.

The TPP rally in Leesburg, VA is tomorrow, TODAY! Saturday's Backbone Artful Activism workshop was fruitful. Trainer of trainers, Kim Marks gave a tour of the art of beautiful mischief, with Backbone amplifying and reinforcing with a verve we are very proud of.

I feel deeply grateful to the web of collaborators we have locked arms with.

Please pitch in to support our work in the coming week.

In collaboration and gratitude,

Bill Moyer

 

 

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