Miami Speaks Out Against Trade Secrecy

Miami ResolutionCity of Miami Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, October 8, 2015, calling for greater transparency in trade policymaking that affects south Florida’s economy, environment and public health.  Their action comes just ten days before trade negotiators from the United States and European Union meet in Miami for their 11th round of talks on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a companion to the just-completed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), whose text still remains secret.

“These massive trade agreements have a very real effect on jobs, wages, the environment and public health in our communities,” said Deborah Dion, Florida State Director, Citizens Trade Campaign. “The American people deserve to know what negotiators have been proposing in our names.”

“We suspect both the Pacific and Atlantic trade deals will threaten segments of Miami’s work force with procurement provisions that force us to waive ‘Buy American’ and ‘Buy Local’ requirements, as well as other provisions that reduce risks and offer incentives to corporations that offshore U.S. jobs,” said Gayle Martin, Florida Progressive Democrats.  “At the same time, both pacts are rumored to contain provisions that could subject the city’s laws and regulations on a wide variety of matters to challenge in international tribunals.  These are matters we should be able to investigate and debate publicly before the ink on the deals is dry.”

Unlike European negotiators, who have been their TTIP proposal public, U.S. negotiators for both TTIP and the TPP have flatly refused to make their proposals available for public scrutiny.  They have likewise blocked composite texts from being published.  Meanwhile, they have granted hundreds of corporate lobbyists special “cleared advisor” status that provides them with access to negotiating texts.

The Miami resolution calls on President Obama and Congress to “provide transparency, public participation and collaboration” on both the TPP and TTIP.   Similar resolutions have also been passed in the City of South Miami, City of Hialeah Gardens and the City of Hallandale Beach.

“It’s shameful that Europeans can learn what their government is proposing, but Americans cannot,” said Fred Frost, Campaign Lead, CWA International Union.  “Government just works better when there’s a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration.”

“The TPP negotiating process was a disaster.  It provided corporate special interests preferred access to the texts throughout the negotiations, while barring the public from knowing what was being proposed during the pact’s entire formative stages,” said David Diaz, Executive Board Member, AFSCME Local  3292.  “Policies that affect Floridians daily lives shouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors.  The TPP and TTIP texts should both be released immediately.”

During the upcoming TTIP negotiations in downtown Miami (October 19-23), unions, faith leaders, elected officials, consumer and environmental groups, and community activists will be holding protests, press conferences and briefings to shine a spotlight on the TTIP and other secretive trade deals.


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