CAGJ joins over 400 Groups to Urge New Direction in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

CAGJ joined members of the WA Fair Trade Coalition and over 400 other organizations (see all signers below) in signing on to this letter to Congress, delivered this week!  Excerpt: “Instead of delegating Congress’ exclusive constitutional authority to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” to the executive branch through the reinstatement of outdated and extreme procedures like Fast Track “Trade Promotion Authority,” we urge you to support a new American trade agreement negotiation and approval process…”

Dear Member of Congress:

As U.S. trade negotiators seek to conclude a standard-setting new trade and investment pact for the Asia-Pacific region by this October and consider launching another with the European Union, we write on behalf of our combined millions of members and supporters to share our expectations regarding commercial agreements in the 21st Century and the congressional oversight role needed to transform past U.S. trade policy into a tool that helps build a more just and sustainable global economy.

We find it troubling that, even as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement enters its 16th major round of negotiations this March in Singapore, U.S. negotiators still refuse to inform the American public what they have been proposing in our names.  Shielding not only proposals, but agreed-upon texts from public view until after negotiations have concluded and the pact is finalized is not consistent with democratic principles.  In this regard, the TPP appears to be even less transparent than some past trade negotiations.  For example, in 2001, the United States joined with 33 other countries in releasing draft text of the Free Trade Area of the Americans, and draft texts within the World Trade Organization are frequently made available.

Issues that must be addressed so that a TPP, a European Union-U.S. Agreement or any other U.S. trade pact actually improves the quality of life for Americans and people throughout the world include:

Prioritization of human and labor rights.  Too many existing trade policies go to great lengths to protect the rights of investors, while ignoring or glossing over issues of forced labor, child labor, sweatshop working conditions, political violence, environmental degradation, violations of indigenous peoples’ sovereignty and government suppression of such basic freedoms as speech, assembly, movement and the rights to form independent trade unions and bargain collectively.  Human and labor rights must be front-and-center in any trade agreement if it is to help reverse the global race to the bottom in working conditions and environmental practices.

Respect for local development goals and the procurement policies that deliver on them.  Trade agreements should not impede governments from spending taxpayer funds in ways that prioritize local development, environmental or social goals.  The procurement provisions of trade pacts must maintain existing “Buy American” preferences, as well as prevailing wage requirements, green preferences, sweat-free preferences, human rights preferences and policies designed to address long-standing inequalities.

No elevation of corporations to equal terms with governments.  Trade agreements should not grant individual corporations and investors special powers to privately enforce agreement terms by challenging laws, regulations and court decisions through tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems.  The “investor-state” tribunal system that allows panels of three private sector lawyers to order unlimited taxpayer compensation for foreign firms who claim that a country’s laws undermine their expected future profits must be eliminated.  International investment rules must also be revised to more narrowly define terms including “investment,” “expropriation” and “minimum standard of treatment” in order to safeguard the ability of governments to regulate in the public interest.

Protect food sovereignty.  Trade agreements should respect governments’ ability to implement programs that ensure farmers and other food workers receive fair compensation and that consumers have access to safe and affordable foods.  Likewise, nations must be able to protect themselves from dumping and other unfair trade practices that force farmers off their land.

Access to affordable medicine.  Maintaining access to affordable, generic medications is critical to reducing health care costs in the United States and to saving lives throughout the world.  Trade agreements are an inappropriate vehicle for extending the length of drug patents, and U.S. policies should explicitly uphold the standards set forth in the Doha Declaration on access to medicine.

Safeguards against currency manipulation.  Trade agreements should include measures that allow the United States and other governments to take measures to counteract trade-distorting currency manipulation.  Agreements should also include strong rule of origin provisions to ensure that the benefits of the agreement go to those countries that agree to meet its rules.

Space for robust financial regulations and public services.  Trade pacts should set floors, not ceilings, when it comes to the regulation of banks, insurance companies, hedge funds and other financial service providers.  Trade agreements’ services provisions should contain clear and specific language stating that nothing in the agreement should be interpreted as requiring deregulation or privatization of any private or public service.
Improved consumer and environmental standards.  Likewise, trade agreements should set floors, rather than ceilings, when it comes to environmental, food and product safety and consumer right-to-know measures.

We believe a much greater degree of public and congressional oversight is needed if the TPP and other pacts are to achieve these high standards.  Before granting the Obama administration any special trade policymaking authority, please request that it make the draft TPP texts public.

Instead of delegating Congress’ exclusive constitutional authority to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” to the executive branch through the reinstatement of outdated and extreme procedures like Fast Track “Trade Promotion Authority,” we urge you to support a new American trade agreement negotiation and approval process that:
Requires that Office of the U.S. Trade Representative consult with all interested stakeholders, participate in hearings with all committees of jurisdiction over matters affected by trade agreements and provide a thorough and public assessment of what specific job creation and export expansion opportunities each prospective trade partner would provide and how a proposed agreement would impact human and labor rights, the environment, food sovereignty, access to medicine, currency manipulation and balance of trade among the countries involved — beginning this expanded engagement process with the TPP as soon as possible;

Sets up an objective process to verify that negotiating objectives set by Congress are actually achieved in the final agreement; and

Includes a process by which a majority of the Congress must vote to certify that a proposed agreement is in the public interest and that Congress’ negotiating objectives have been met before the executive branch can sign the agreement and bind the United States to its terms.
Only through this type of robust oversight and public participation can we forge a new national and global consensus on trade policy that works for all.


Citizens Trade Campaign
8th Day Center for Justice
ActionAid USA
Alliance for Democracy
Alliance for Global Justice
Alliance for Retired Americans
American Federation of Government Employees
American Friends Service Committee
American Medical Student Association
American Postal Workers Union
Americans for Democratic Action
Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers (AWPPW) International Union
Campaign for America’s Future
Campaign for Labor Rights and Nicaragua Network
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH)
Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras
Coalitions of Mutual Endeavor
Colombia Support Network
Communications Workers of America
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, General Council
Corporate Accountability International
Cultural Survival
Democracy for America
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)
Educating for Justice
Energy Action Coalition
Engineers and Scientists for Animal Rights
Equal Exchange
Fair World Project
Family Farm Defenders
Food & Water Watch
Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)
Friends of the Earth US
Global Coalition of Women Against AIDS in Uganda
Global Exchange
Global Justice for Animals and the Environment
Grassroots International
Green Party of the United States
Guatemala Human Rights Commission
Health GAP
Holy Cross International Justice Office
Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK)
Inlandboatmens Union of the Pacific
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
Institute for Local Self Reliance
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Labor Rights Forum
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Intersect Worldwide
It’s Our Economy
Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work
Just Foreign Policy
Labor Network for Sustainability
League of Rural Voters
Maquiladora Health & Safety Support Network
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
MDM Inc.
Medical Mission Sisters’ Alliance for Justice
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Justice, Peace/Integrity of Creation Office
Moana Nui Action Alliance
Move To Amend
National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC)
National Consumers League
National Family Farm Coalition
National Farmers Union
National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association
National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices
National Nurses United
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
New Rules for Global Finance Coalition
North American Intertribal Missions
Pax Christi
Peace Action
Peaceroots Alliance
Presbyterian Church USA
Progressive Agriculture Organization
Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)
Public Citizen
Public Knowledge
Rainforest Action Network
Real Food Generation
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural
School of the Americas Watch
Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation
Sierra Club
Sisters of the Holy Cross Congregation Justice Committee
Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA)
Student Global AIDS Campaign
SweatFree Communities
Take Back America for the People
Unitarian Universalist Association
United Brotherhood of Carpenters
United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
United for Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
United Mine Workers of America
United Steelworkers
United Students Against Sweatshops
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines
US Human Rights Network
US Labor Education in the Americas Project
Veterans For Peace
Witness for Peace
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section

Regional, State and Local Organizations
A. Philip Randolph Institute (WA)
AfroColombia NY
All Souls Bethlehem Church (NY)
Alliance for Democracy – Oregon
Allyship (WA)
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 (MN)
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) 3937 (WA)
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council 220 (MD)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3336 (OR)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 5 (MN)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 3214 (OR)
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 34 (MN)
American Federation of Teachers, Seattle Community College Local 1789 (WA)
American Friends Service Committee – Pacific NW
American Postal Workers Union, Minneapolis Area Local
American University Student Worker Alliance
Americans for Democratic Action of Northeast Ohio
Austin Central Labor Council (TX)
Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (TX)
Azatlan Media Kollective (CA)
Backbone Campaign (WA)
Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) Local 167Gl (MN)
Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) Local 369G (MN)
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (MN)
Blue Green Alliance – Minnesota
Bronx Greens (NY)
Brooklyn For Peace (NY)
Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition (PA)
California Dairy Campaign
Capitol City and Minneapolis Metal Workers Lodge 459 (MN)
Caring Activists Against Fur (NJ)
Carpenters Local 322 (MN)
Carpenters Local 361 (MN)
Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy (NY)
Cement Masons and Plasters Local 633
Center for Community, Democracy and Ecology (CCDE) (MN)
Center for Natural Health (NH)
Central Co-Op/Madison Market (WA)
Central Florida Labor Council
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL) (MN)
Chicago Fair Trade (IL)
Chicago Political Economy Group (IL)
Christ in Action-Prosperity Services
Church Council of Greater Seattle (WA)
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Cleveland Jobs with Jusice (OH)
Columbia University Partnership for International Development-CUPID (NY)
Coalition Against the Rockaway Pipeline (NY)
Columbia-Pacific Alliance for Social Justice (OR)
Comite Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social (WA)
Communication Workers of America District 7 (MN)
Communication Workers of America Local 6215 (TX)
Communications Workers of America District 4 (WI)
Communications Workers of America Local 7901 (OR)
Communications Workers of America Minnesota State Council
Community Alliance for Global Justice (WA)
Community Alliance of Lane County (OR)
Community for Earth First Unitarian Church – Portland OR
Community Organizing Center
Community to Community Development Projects (WA)
Compassion for All Animals (KS)
Dakota Resource Council
Dakota Rural Action
Dallas AFL-CIO Central Labor Council (TX)
Dallas Building Trades Council (TX)
Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (PA and NY)
Dawson Resource Council (MT)
DC Time Bank
Delmont Progressive Democrats of America (PA)
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), San Diego Local Chapter (CA)
Denver Justice & Peace Committee (CO)
Doctors Council (TX)
Eastern Maine Labor Council
Eco-Logic, WBAI-FM (NY)
EcoEmm Fair Trade (NY)
Economic Justice Action Group, First Unitarian Church (OR)
Elevator Constructors Local 9 (MN)
Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network-ESSN, A Jobs with Justice Chapter (OR)
Expand the Love (FL)
FACE Faith Action for Community Equity (HI)
Fair Trade at UMass Boston (MA)
Fair Trade Penn State (PA)
Fair Trade University at CSU (CO)
Faith Action Network (WA)
Farms Not Arms (CA)
Florida Immigrant Coalition
Fort Worth Building Trades Council (TX)
Green Party of Florida
Green Sanctuary Committee, Community Church of New York, Unitarian Universalist
Harris County AFL-CIO Council (TX)
Heartwood (IN)
Hofstra Progressive Student Union (NY)
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Minneapolis (MN)
Houston Peace and Justice Center (TX)
Inland Boatman’s Union (WA)
Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center – Cincinnati (OH)
Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (MI)
I.N.T.A.C.T. Community Development Corporation (NY)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Airline Local 1833 (MN)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District 751 (WA)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 112 (MN)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local Lodge 623 (MN)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Minnesota State Council (MN)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 3rd District (PA)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 112 (WA)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 191 (WA)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 46 (WA)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 278 (WA)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 681 (TX)
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) – Puget Sound District Council (WA)
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 23 (WA)
International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 23 (WA)
International Transport Worker’s Federation of North America-West Coast
International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 21 (TX)
International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 81 (TX)
InterReligious Task Force on Central America (OH)
Ironworkers Local 263 (TX)
Ironworkers Local 84 (TX)
IUE-CWA Local 1140 (MN)
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center (MT)
JOBS NOW Coalition (MN)
Jubilee Northwest
Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) (CA)
Labor Outreach Committee of Occupy Wall Street (NY)
Laborers District Council of Minnesota & North Dakota
Land Stewardship Project (MN)
League of Rural Voters – Minnesota
Lehigh Valley Gas Truth (PA)
Linn-Benton-Lincoln Central Labor Council (OR)
Lipari Renewables, Inc. (MN)
Live Real
Lone Star Earth First (TX)
Lubbock Central Labor Council (TX)
M. L. King County Labor Council (WA)
Maine Fair Trade Campaign
Maine’s People’s Alliance
Malama Kauai (HI)
Maryland United for Peace and Justice, Inc.
Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (MN)
Minnesota AFL-CIO
Minnesota Building and Construction Trades
Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition
Minnesota Farmers Union
Minnesota Industrial Union Council
Minnesota Nurses Association
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
Minnesota State Council of Machinists
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Montana Human Rights Network
Mothers on the Move / Madres en Movimiento (NY)
Move to Amend – Portland (OR)
Move to Amend – Rochester (NY)
Movement In Motion (NY)
New York Climate Action Group
Newground Social Investment (WA)
NH Veterans for Peace
Nicaragua Center for Community Action (CA)
NJ Youth United Against War and Imperialism
Nodutdol for Korean Community Development (NY)
North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
North Coast Veterans for Peace Chapter (OR)
North East Area Labor Council (MN)
North Texas Jobs with Justice
Northern Plains Resource Council (MT)
Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NY)
Northwest Oregon Labor Council
NYC Friends of Clearwater (NY)
Occupy Coachella Valley (CA)
Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity (NY)
Occupy Wall Street Outreach Working Group (NY)
Occupy Wall Street Special Projects Affinity Group (NY)
Occupy Wall Street Trade Justice Working Group (NY)
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 12 (MN)
Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 8 (WA)
Operative Plasters & Cement Masons  Local 783 (TX)
Oregon AFL-CIO
Oregon AFSCME Council 75
Oregon Alliance for Progress
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
Oregon Machinist Council
PA 12CD Chapter of Progressive Democrats of American (PDA)
PA Fair Trade Coaltion
PA Progressive Democrats of America
PA State Electrical Workers Assoc.
Peace House (OR)
Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air
Pennsylvania Council of Churches
Peopletech (FL)
Philippine US Solidarity Organization (PUSO) (WA)
Pierce County Central Labor Council (WA)
Pittsburgh Anti Sweatshop Community Alliance  c/o Thomas Merton Center (PA)
Plumbers Local 68 (TX)
Portland Central Amercian Solidarity Committee (OR)
Portland Jobs with Justice (OR)
Presbytery of the Twin Cities (MN)
Presentation Sisters, Aberdeen, SD
Professional and Technical Employees (PTE) Local 17 (WA)
Protest Barrick (PA)
Puget Sound Alliance for Retired Americans (WA)
Queerocracy (NY)
Racine Dominicans (MD)
Real Food Challenge (MA)
Regla do Oro (MN)
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center (CO)
Rubaga Exchange on AIDS and Livelihood Support Group
Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO (MN)
San Antonio Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO (TX)
Sane Energy Project (NY)
Santa Barbara Progressive Coalition (CA)
Seattle CISPES (WA)
Seattle Education Association (WA)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 503, OPEU (OR)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199NW (WA)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 6 (WA)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 63 (MN)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 775NW (WA)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council
Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 (MN)
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter (TX)
Sierra Club Long Island Group (NY)
Sierra Club North Star Chapter (MN)
Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter (CA)
Sister of the Presentation, Fargo (ND)
SMART Sheet Metal Workers’ Local Union 68 (TX)
Snohomish County Labor Council (WA)
Sol Fair Trade (WA)
South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign (WA)
Southeast Minnesota Alliance of Peace Makers
Southeast Minnesota Area Labor Council
Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice
Southwest Laborers’ District Council (SWLDC) (OK)
Southwest Pipe Trades Association
Spirit Wolf Ranch, LLC (CO)
Spokane Regional Labor Council (WA)
St. Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America (MO)
St. Paul Regional Labor Federation (MN)
St. Paul Area Local American Postal Workers Union (MN)
St. Pete for Peace (FL)
Stephanie Low Artists Inc. (NY)
Students for Labor and Economic Justice (CA)
Stulips Dance (OR)
Tarrant County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO (TX)
Texas American Federation of Teachers
Texas Fair Trade Coalition
Texas Political & Legislative Committee
Texas State Association of Electrical Workers
Texas State Building and Construction Trades Council
Texas state council of machinists
The Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America (IL)
The Forest Foundation
Trade Justice New York – Metro
Traditions Fair Trade (WA)
UNITE-HERE Minnesota
United Auto Workers Local 879 (MN)
United Auto Workers State CAP Council – Minnesota
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1189 (MN)
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21 (WA)
United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) 1189 (MN)
United Steel Workers District 11 (MN)
United Steel Workers Local 11-75 (MN)
United Steel Workers Local 2002 (MN)
United Steel Workers Local 264 (MN)
United Steel Workers Local 6115 (MN)
United Steel Workers Local 7263 (MN)
United Steelworkers 1188 (ME)
United Steelworkers District 12 (WA)
United Steelworkers Local 1016 (PA)
United Steelworkers Local 1688 (PA)
United Steelworkers Local 2599-06 (PA)
United Steelworkers Local 404 (PA)
United Steelworkers Oregon L & E Committee
United Steelworkers SOAR Chapter 10-1 (PA)
United Students Against Sweatshops –  University of Texas
United Transportation Union, Minnesota Legislative District
University of MN Labor Education Service
Veterans for Peace, Austin, Chapter 66 (TX)
Veterans For Peace 071 (CA)
Veterans for Peace 115 (MN)
Veterans for Peace 159 (OR)
Vibrant Public Lands Project (NY)
Washington Community Action Network
Washington Fair Trade Coalition
Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club
Washington State Labor Council
Washington Toxics Coalition
WashTech/CWA (WA)
Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC)
Wetlands Activism Collective (NY)
Whatcom County Green Party (WA)
Wisconsin Fair Trade Coalition
Wisconsin State Council of Carpenters
Witness for Peace Northwest
Witness for Peace Southeast
Witness for Peace Upper Midwest
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Portland, OR Branch
Worldview (NH)

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