Highlighting just how deeply engrained opposition is to Fast Track legislation, Seattle City Council passed a resolution opposing Fast Track for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other pending trade agreements with a unanimous 9-to-0 vote, despite lobbying against the measure by big business and the White House.
“International trade is vitally important to Seattle’s economy,” said Council President Tim Burgess. “The City Council strongly supports trade done right — trade that improves quality of life in all signatory countries, protects workers, enforces environmental standards, and maintains our judicial system and local regulatory authority. We’re asking our federal government for an updated and transparent process that can lead to an agreement that upholds these values.”
“I am pro-trade. And I believe the U.S. can negotiate truly progressive trade deals,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien, the resolution’s co-sponsor. “But I oppose Fast Track for the TPP because Seattle has some of the highest environmental and labor standards in the country, and it is critical that multinational corporations do not have the power to undermine our laws or values.”
“Thank you to Councilmembers O’Brien and Burgess for sponsoring the legislation and to the full city council for standing with workers, public health and the environment,” added Gillian Locascio, director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition.
“The massive 12-country TPP will impact every resident in Seattle in when it comes to our future labor rights and environmental sustainability,” said Dave Freiboth, Executive Secretary of the King County Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “We applaud the Seattle City Council for saying ‘no’ to Fast Track and saying ‘yes’ to open debate about a different trade policy that will balance trade, combat income inequality and lift standards around the world.”
The Seattle resolution comes as corporate interests pushing the TPP are increasingly urging Congress to pass Fast Track legislation that would allow the pact and other trade proposals to circumvent ordinary Congressional review, amendment and debate procedures.
“The White House and the multinational corporations based in Washington state worked to derail this resolution, but the public opposition to Fast Track and the TPP is strong in Washington state, a place where trade is a big deal. Bad trade deals mean lost jobs, lower wages and a ravaged environment,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
“Few things counterpose the interests of multinational corporations to the interests of workers, the environment, and democracy as sharply as trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Councilmember Kshama Sawant, another resolution co-sponsor. “I am excited to support environmental activists, labor unions and social justice organizations that have brought to light what big business always intended to be a secret trade treaty.”
The Seattle resolution comes on the heels of a resolution opposing Fast Track unanimously passed by the Bellingham City Council the week previous.