A block away from a major trade negotiating summit taking place in downtown Miami, elected officials and community leaders held a press event on October 21, 2015 to demand greater transparency in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other secretive trade pacts that affect south Florida’s economy, environment and public health. The press event comes just over a week since City of Miami Commissioners unanimously passed as resolution opposing secrecy in trade deals.
“I remain opposed to the recently-completed TPP agreement and the TTIP — agreements conducted in secret with little or not input from those it will affect most,” said Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-20) in a letter read at the event.
“I have continually called for any trade deal to meet strict labor and environmental standards, and have a consistent record of standing up for fair trade. Once the TTIP agreement is released, if it falls short of these standards, I will oppose it as I have with TPA and TTP deals that did not meet this threshold,” said Florida Congressman Patrick Murphy (CD-18) in a written statement.
Speakers at the event included former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Natacha Seijas; Bishop James Adams of the St. Johns Institutional Baptist Church; Father Frank Corbishley of the St. Bede Episcopal Church and South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice; and representatives of Friends of the Earth US and the Communications Workers of America.
“Massive trade agreements that will have a real effect on jobs, wages, the environment and public health in our communities should not be negotiated in the shadows,” said Fred Frost of the Communication Workers of America. “The American people deserve to know what U.S. negotiators have been proposing in our names, and that’s what we’re here to demand.”
“We want TTIP negotiators to release all texts now because we’re worried what they’re negotiating will undermine the regulation of toxic chemicals, which would threaten our public health and could lead to increased rates of cancer and other chronic illnesses,” said Jenny Bock of Friends of the Earth US. “We cannot afford for life-altering policy decisions to be made behind closed doors, with industry lobbyists granted privileged access to negotiating documents while environmental advocates and the public are shut out.”
Unlike European negotiators, who have made their TTIP proposals public, U.S. negotiators have flatly refused to make their proposals for both the TTIP, as well as the just–completed, but still secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) available for public scrutiny. They have likewise blocked composite texts from being published. Meanwhile, they have granted hundreds of corporate lobbyist’s special “cleared advisor” status that provides them with access to negotiating texts.
“We know that the Europeans have made proposals that would threaten segments of Miami’s workforce with procurement provisions that force us to waive ‘Buy American’ and ‘Buy Local’ requirements,” said Deborah Dion, Florida director of Citizens Trade Campaign. “Europeans have also proposed establishing an ‘Investment Court System’ that could subject Miami and Florida laws and regulations on the environment, food safety and more to attack in international bodies that circumvent our own judicial system. These are matters the public should be able to investigate and have a say over before the ink on the deal is dry.”
The Miami resolution passed unanimously on October 8th calls on President Obama and Congress to “provide transparent, public participation and collaboration” on both TTIP and the TPP. Similar resolutions have also been passed in the City of South Miami, City of Hialeah Gardens, and the City of Hallandale Beach.
“I do not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. I believe it will only benefit big global business while hurting our U.S. workers,” said Mayor Joy Cooper, City of Hallandale Beach.
During the week’s TTIP negotiations at the Hyatt Regency Miami (October 19-23), unions, faith leaders, elected officials, consumer groups, environmental organizations and community activists will be holding a variety of events to shine a spotlight on TTIP and other secretive trade proposals.