Thank you. Your hard work — coupled with that of millions of other grassroots activists across the United States and the world — is what pulled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) out of the shadows and derailed the TPP corporate power grab.
TPP negotiations were concluded in 2015 and the deal was signed in the first week of February 2016. It would have been approved by Congress shortly thereafter if the votes were there to pass it. It was your work that ensured the TPP was a non-starter in Congress last year, and that it has remained that way ever since.
Looking ahead, Donald Trump has promised to formally withdraw from the TPP on his first day in office. Saying he won’t attempt to revive a deal that you’ve already ensured has no chance of passing Congress isn’t enough.
The incoming President’s real test on trade isn’t what he does with the already defunct TPP. Instead, it’s whether he announces an end to negotiations now underway to establish more TPP-style pacts — the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty. And, whether he replaces NAFTA and other existing pacts with trade policies that put working people, the environment and healthy communities ahead of corporate profits.
As a first step upon taking office, the Trump administration should immediately do two things: end the TTIP, TiSA and U.S.-China treaty negotiations and notify Mexico and Canada that the United States will withdraw from NAFTA unless the pact’s many harmful provisions can be eliminated through a transparent renegotiation process within the first year of the Trump presidency.
The rubric for assessing a NAFTA renegotiation is clear: Does it put the needs of people and the planet over corporate profits? Does it support — not undermine — good jobs, public health and a more stable climate? If the Trump administration fails to achieve these fundamental goals, or delivers yet another corporate-favoring deal that threatens such priorities, we will oppose it at every step.
Here’s just some of what needs to happen to transform U.S. trade policy into a tool for creating good-paying jobs and defending human rights, consumers and the environment:
- Eliminate corporate the corporate privileges that incentivize job offshoring and empower multinational corporations to attack democratic policies in unaccountable tribunals.
- Add strong, binding and enforceable labor and environmental standards to the core text of any trade agreement to promote jobs, human rights and a healthy environment at home and abroad.
- Overhaul rules that undermine food safety, harm family farmers and cause forced migration.
- Eliminate terms that empower corporate interests to undermine our access to affordable medicine, that free Wall Street from oversight and that gut other public interest safeguards.
- Add broad protections that shield food safety, climate, health, labor and other public interest policies from overreaching trade pact rules.
To achieve such a transformation of U.S. trade policy, any NAFTA renegotiation process must be transparent and participatory — the complete opposite of the secretive and corporate-dominated negotiations that produced NAFTA and the TPP.
Will President Trump do this?
There’s good reason for skepticism. The new president has said American workers are overpaid, called climate change a “hoax,” exploited underpaid workers in other countries to produce Trump-branded goods and vowed to gut policies providing access to healthcare. That hardly builds expectations for a new trade model that prioritizes workers, the environment and healthy communities.
Plus, since the election, most of the people Trump has appointed to major administration posts are TPP supporters — some even lobbied for its approval!
These multimillionaires and billionaires are not the people to rewrite trade policy in the interests of working families and the environment — and, without real vigilance, there’s every reason to suspect they’ll try to dust off some of the very worst ideas from the TPP and insert them into new trade negotiations moving forward.
With your help, we stand ready to hold the incoming administration accountable. Put simply, we all deserve real change when it comes to NAFTA and other trade policies, and we won’t be distracted with half-measures or scapegoating.
While Trump has tried to frame the trade debate as the U.S. versus the rest of the world, we know that it’s really about multinational corporations versus the rest of us. Our opposition to corporate trade deals like the TPP has always been rooted in respect for workers’ rights across the globe, commitment to climate justice and dedication to a new model of trade based on our shared values. We remain more committed to this vision than ever.
Our beef has never been — and will never be — with workers from other countries. Rather, it’s with our own government bowing to the interests of corporate elites to make trade deals that only benefit them rather than meeting the shared needs of our communities. Please join us in reversing that dynamic.
As we head into a new year and beyond, let’s remember the lessons from our TPP victory: that by working together, across issue areas and across borders, we have the power to go up against the world’s most power corporate and political elites and win.