For Immediate Release
Texans demand a public voice in secretive Trans-Pacific trade negotiations
Trade summit hosted by former mayor Ron Kirk is met with protest
ADDISON, Texas — Texans representing more than twenty different labor, environmental and community organizations gathered in Addison Circle Park this afternoon for a rally demanding a public voice in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement negotiations. Protesters then marched to the nearby Intercontinental Dallas Hotel, where negotiations hosted by top U.S. trade official and former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk are currently underway.
“Past trade agreements have been a disaster for working people in Texas and around the world,” said Becky Moeller, president of the Texas AFL-CIO. “When negotiators refuse to share their proposals with the American public, I can’t help but ask, ‘What are they trying to hide?’”
The Dallas TPP summit is the 12th 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 Kirk has refused to publicly release the texts of any of the proposals his 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.
“Texans are rightly worried about the effect the TPP could have on jobs and wages in their communities,” said Brent Taylor, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 745 and Joint Council 80. “People should be skeptical of a negotiating process that gives Wall Street banks and corporate lobbyists a seat at the table, while shutting out ordinary working families.”
“The world can’t afford a ‘NAFTA of the Pacific,’” said Nancy Hall, executive vice president of Communications Workers of America Local 6215. “If Wall Street banks and big corporations continue to be the main parties influencing the TPP negotiations, expect another pact that puts corporate interests ahead of working people and the environment.”
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, Japan and Mexico have already indicated their interest in doing so.
“The TPP is supposed to set a new standard for trade and investment globally. A pact this far-reaching should not be written in the shadows,” said Ilana Solomon, trade representative for the Sierra Club. “The TPP could literally affect the air with breathe, the food we eat and the types of employment available to our children and grandchildren. It should be crafted with complete transparency and public participation.”
USTR Kirk is pushing for the TPP negotiations to conclude this year, and has already indicated that he wants Congress to grant him “Fast Track” authority in order to speed the TPP through Congress outside of normal review, amendment and debate procedures.
“If U.S. negotiators get their way, the public will be barred from reviewing anything until negotiations are over and it would be virtually impossible to make changes, which is a serious problem because the U.S. is proposing to ban Buy American procurement policies, increase medicine prices, undermine financial regulation, limit food safety and subject our laws to attack in foreign tribunals,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “The secretive process of TPP negotiations reinforces the worst public perceptions about government not serving the 99% but rather only representing the interests of the 1%.”
Saturday’s rally and march were endorsed by the Citizens Trade Campaign, Code Pink, Communications Workers of America, Dallas AFL-CIO Council, Dallas Peace Center, Friends of the Earth, International Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, MoveOn.org Dallas, National Family Farm Coalition, North Texas Jobs with Justice, Occupy Texas, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Texas AFL-CIO, Texas Fair Trade Coalition, Texas State Building Trades Council, United Students Against Sweatshops, Welcoming Immigrants Network and others.
For more information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, visit: