The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement — a NAFTA-style trade deal covering 12 Pacific Rim nations — was supposed to be signed, sealed and delivered last month, but differences between the negotiating parties have delayed agreement. Trade negotiators have set a new deadline for the end of year to conclude the agreement.
The American people, by design, know very little about what U.S. negotiators are promising in closed-door talks with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam. But 600 corporate advisers have access to the text, reports the Alliance for Retired Americans, an allied group of the AFL-CIO
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), chair of the Senate Trade Subcommittee, told a group of Portland labor leaders in August that he would lead a fight this fall to make the talks more transparent. But Arthur Stamoulis, director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, says he’s unaware of any such campaign.
Stamoulis said his organization, a coalition of unions and environmental groups, is focusing on stopping “fast track.” Fast track is the name given to legislation that would tie Congress’ hands when trade agreements come up for approval: They could not be amended, and would have to be voted on with little debate. Fast track last expired in 2007 and has not yet been renewed by Congress.
But Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) have said they want to pass fast track by the end of the year.
For more about the trade deal, visit Public Citizen.