Civil Society Reacts to Finally-Released TPP Text

The United States formally entered into negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in February 2008. For years afterwards, the public had to rely on leaked documents to learn what U.S. negotiators were proposing in our names.

On November 5, 2015, text for the TPP was officially released for the first time. Within hours, a broad range of civil society organizations representing the labor, environmental, family farm, consumer, LGBT and other social movements issued statements opposing the TPP. Here are some examples.

“It is clear that the threats of this expansive new agreement outweigh its benefits — for good jobs, for democracy, for affordable medicines, for consumer safety, and for the environment. The hardworking families of the AFL-CIO will join with our allies to defeat the TPP.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

“Even a cursory review demonstrates how this trade deal fails working families. It forces U.S. workers to compete with the 65-cent an hour wages of Vietnamese workers and the slave labor employed in Malaysia. It allows multinational corporations to challenge environmental, financial, consumer and other regulations through international tribunals – and outside the court systems of member countries. It pays lip service to addressing real concerns about currency manipulation that costs American jobs and leads to more jobs being sent offshore. And it allies the U.S. with countries that abuse their own citizens, including Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.”
CWA President Chris Shelton

“Trade between countries is essential, but this deal hands extensive and unacceptable rights and privileges to multinational corporations to protect their own investments at the expense of the basic principles of democracy.  It fails to protect workers and it fails to protect the environment. Business will rule itself, and be able to wield a big stick over governments, while workers are left out in the cold.  It’s no wonder that people in countries across the world reject lop-sided agreements like the TPP.”
ITUC General Secretary Sharon Barrow

“On nearly all matters of immediate relevance to American working families and their communities, this agreement fails to deliver. Not only are the labor provisions warmed over language from failed past agreements, but the agreement actually takes a giant step backward, with the inclusion of Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Mexico. Additionally, investors and corporations can still challenge basic worker and environmental protections while rules of origin are weaker than even the ones found in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and there are no provisions to bring currency manipulation under control.”
Machinists President Tom Buffenbarger

“Americans’ fears over how the TPP will tamp down on wages, allow foreign companies to sue governments and create even larger trade deficits due to a lack of currency manipulation controls are very real and justified. And because Congress approved fast track trade promotion authority earlier this year, there’s not a damn thing elected officials can do about it except oppose ratification of this bad deal when it comes to a vote.”
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

“Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton don’t agree on much, but both believe that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a terrible trade deal for America… Our message to Members of Congress is a simple one – listen to the concerns of UFCW members, everyday Americans and even the leading voices in the current Presidential race – and defeat the TPP once and for all.”
UFCW International President Marc Perrone

“The USW is unalterably opposed to the TPP because it’s a dagger twisting in the heart of American manufacturing. Even the Wall Street Journal predicted the deal would cause a massive trade deficit in manufacturing which would result in hundreds of thousands of job losses. This sector has yet to share broadly in the economic recovery and is shedding good, family supportive jobs at an ever-increasing pace.”
United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard

“The TPP will increase the volume of imported and potentially risky foods coming into the United States, but tie the hands of the border inspectors who are the last line of defense between the shipper and the supermarket. The TPP gives companies new powers to second guess inspectors and push uninspected food onto the market.”
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

“For years we’ve warned that the excessive secrecy around the TPP would lead to an agreement that ignored Internet users, artists, and creators in favour of laws that benefit only the giant media conglomerates. Now that we know just how bad the TPP really is, we’ll be redoubling our efforts to put a stop to this costly Internet censorship plan.”
OpenMedia Campaigns Manager Josh Tabish

“Apparently, the TPP’s proponents resorted to such extreme secrecy during negotiations because the text shows TPP would offshore more American jobs, lower our wages, flood us with unsafe imported food and expose our laws to attack in foreign tribunals. When the administration says it used the TPP to renegotiate NAFTA, few expected that meant doubling down on the worst job-killing, wage-suppressing NAFTA terms, expanding limits on food safety and rolling back past reforms on environmental standards and access to affordable drugs.”
Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach

“The TPP is an act of climate denial. While the text is full of handouts to the fossil fuel industry, it doesn’t mention the words climate change once. The agreement would give fossil fuel companies the extraordinary ability to sue local governments that try and keep fossil fuels in the ground… As the world accelerates towards a clean energy future, the TPP is a dangerous detour that must be avoided.” Policy Director Jason Kowalski

“We continue to emphasize that the TPP is the wrong model; it’s a belching Model T in an era of clean energy and new opportunities. The TPP is not acceptable because it promotes unsustainable and unhealthy trade in a number of goods and services, doesn’t take climate change into consideration, and facilitates a massive increase in toxic natural gas exports when we should be keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”
Center for Biological Diversity Senior Counsel Bill Snape

“Now that the text of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership is available to the public, it is disappointingly clear that this is not the tougher language we had hoped for. The environment chapter is weak and fails to provide the necessary requirements and stronger penalties desperately needed to better fight poaching, protect wildlife habitat and shut down the illegal wildlife trade. The agreement also leaves our own domestic environmental laws vulnerable to legal challenge internationally, outside of our own judiciary system.”
Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark

“EIA remains extremely concerned that the FTA as a whole will make it more difficult for countries around the world to effectively manage their resources and protect the global environment.”
EIA Executive Director Alexander von Bismark

“The Trans Pacific Partnership fails President Obama’s pledge to make the TPP an environmentally sound trade agreement.  Frankly this is not surprising; the text of this Trans Pacific trade deal was negotiated in secret by Mike Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, a former Citibank executive and Obama fundraiser. Froman took care of his friends on Wall Street and in corporate board rooms at the expense of sound environmental and climate policy. Congress must reject the TPP deal.”
Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica

“The long awaited public release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership confirms our concerns that this deal will be a race to the bottom on regulatory standards intended to protect people, the environment, and our food system. The United States Trade Representatives have negotiated a deal that benefits the top polluters in this country while failing to institute any meaningful commitments to mitigate climate change.”
Green America Executive Co-Director Todd Larsen

“As should be expected from any secretive negotiating process, the TPP text released by the White House today makes clear that this agreement is a threat to communities and the environment, and should be rejected by Congress when it comes up for a vote. The text includes toothless ocean conservation provisions with slippery language that encourages but does not require bans on trade in illegal timber, shark finning, commercial whaling and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”
Greenpeace USA Research Specialist Charlie Cray

“This trade agreement would allow foreign corporations to challenge our health, safety and environmental protections in a foreign tribunal outside our legal system, and it would weaken those bedrock safeguards in the United States. While there are some positive conservation measures, the agreement’s substantial shortcomings should lead Congress to reject it.”
NRDC International Program Director Jake Schmidt

“Nobody can call the TPP a win for the environment with a straight face. The text doesn’t even mention the words ‘climate change,’ and the deal would require the US Department of Energy to rubber-stamp exports of natural gas, at the very moment we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”
Oil Change International Founder Steve Kretzmann

“It’s no surprise that the deal is rife with polluter giveaways that would undermine decades of environmental progress, threaten our climate, and fail to adequately protect wildlife because big polluters helped write the deal… Many provisions in the deal’s environment chapter are toothless and fail to offer any of the protections proponents of this deal have touted. Some provisions even fail to meet the minimum standards of environmental protection established in the ‘fast-track’ law and included in past trade deals negotiated under the George W. Bush administration.”
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

“The TPP would double the number of corporations empowered to challenge existing climate policies at all levels of government. Congress must reject the TPP and work for trade agreements that ensure a stable climate and a just transition to 100% renewable energy.”
SustainUS Chair Adam Hsaz

“The final TPP text confirms what we all suspected based on the process, the TPP is a handout to corporate interests and a sellout of “we the people.” The TPP would give new rights to foreign fossil fuel companies to challenge hard fought U.S. environmental and climate policies and gives U.S. corporations the right to do the same abroad… At a time when every policy we propose must be moving us forward towards a just and livable future, the TPP moves us back.”
US Climate Plan Executive Director Evan Weber

“This agreement has been peddled to farmers and ranchers as a potential goldmine for farm exports. But as with other trade deals, these benefits are likely to be overshadowed by increased competition from abroad, paired with an uneven playing field that will not only reduce revenues for farmers and ranchers but will also speed the loss of U.S. jobs… While NFU will continue to analyze the text of the agreement, we already know TPP includes no enforceable language to address currency manipulation, an effective maneuver used by our competitors to immediately tilt the playing field in their favor, even after signing an agreement of this scope and magnitude, having the potential to completely wipe out any gains.”
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson

“The TPP will continue to drive the U.S. cattle and sheep industry’s untenable trade deficits to new heights. The cattle industry is already burdened by an accumulated deficit of $46.1 billion with the 20 countries that we already have free trade agreements with…. The TPP will expand the multinational meatpackers’ practice of cherry-picking low-cost cattle and sheep production from around the world, allowing them to strategically ship those animals and meat products into the United States duty free to create even more market volatility and to drive domestic prices even lower.”
R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America CEO Bill Bullard

“It is troubling that the United States would bring countries such as Brunei and Malaysia, with their state-sponsored persecution of LGBT individuals, into the fold of the TPP. But it is unconscionable that our nation would not use the leverage of the TPP negotiations to insist that these nations make improvements on ending LGBT persecution and discrimination.”
Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis

“We know that seniors are right to be worried about the agreement’s effect on prescription drug prices. Indeed, the deal would keep lower cost generics drugs off the market and line the pockets of pharmaceutical industry executives.”
Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Richard Fiesta

“The TPP is a bad deal for medicine: it’s bad for humanitarian medical treatment providers such as MSF, and it’s bad for people who need access to affordable medicines around the world, including in the United States. At a time when the high price of life-saving medicines and vaccines is increasingly recognized as a barrier to effective medical care, it is very concerning to see that the U.S. government and pharmaceutical companies have succeeded in locking in rules that will keep medicine prices high for longer and limit the tools that governments and civil society have to try to increase generic competition.”
Doctors without Borders (MSF) Campaign Manager Judit Rius Sanjuan

“These gifts to the billionaire drug companies are a cruel and disgraceful threat to the lives of millions of people… This agreement is an all out assault on not only health and safety but also on the democratic rights of the American people to pass public protections. It’s another reminder that the pharmaceutical industry and other corporate lobbyists, who wrote many of these provisions, continue to dominate and corrupt our political system.”
National Nurses United Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro

“NETWORK uses the same measure to evaluate all legislation: whether or not it will improve the lives of people at the margins of society… Today’s release of a secretive document reveals the worst part of politics, that a large- scale trade deal was crafted without input from the communities that would be most harmed by the policies.”
NETWORK Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell

“The TPP agreement violates a basic command of the Bible: that human beings must protect and act as stewards for the earth. Instead, it provides a path for corporations to overturn the most moderate environmental restraints on corporate avarice, much less the far more stringent actions that environmentalists tell us are needed to even begin to reverse climate change and preserve the earth for future generations. This is selfishness and materialism taken to a new height, and every religious community should stand up against it.”
Network of Spiritual Progressives Chair Rabbi Michael Lerner