ORFTC Fair Trade Monitor
Fair trade update from the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, May 2016
In this issue:
- The US International Trade Commission report on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- Labor and Human Rights forums
- Bad Trade Kills Good Jobs tour coming to Portland and Beaverton!
- Upcoming events in June and beyond
1. The US ITC report on the TPP
In late May the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) released “the” big, government study about the projected effects of the TPP — something that’s already gotten considerable attention from Congress and the media. Despite a long history of grossly overestimating the benefits and underestimating the costs of proposed trade agreements, the ITC’s projections show significant costs associated with the TPP and almost non-existent benefits. That the ITC is saying this should be a major red flag.
Among the ITC’s findings are that:
- The TPP would increase the U.S. global trade deficit by $21.7 billion by 2032.
- That TPP would worsen the balance of trade for 65% of the U.S. economic sectors it chose to feature, including vehicles, wheat, corn, auto parts, titanium products, chemicals, seafood, textiles and apparel, rice and even financial services. While manufacturing would take a major wallop, even the overall U.S. services trade balance is projected to worsen, with losses in the majority of service industries.
- The projected economic gains under the TPP are a minuscule 0.15% by the year 2032, which some have called the equivalent of a rounding error. Put another way, the ITC projects that the United States would be as wealthy on January 1, 2032 with the TPP as it would be on February 15, 2032 without it.
Members of Congress need to be asked whether a trade agreement that the ITC, with its record of overestimating the benefits of trade agreements, finds will have almost no benefits, weighs against the shared concerns being raised by civil society organizations about the TPP’s very real threats to jobs and wages, inequality, the environment, food safety and public health.
Call your Representative today at 202.225.3121. Remind them that the ITC report is damning to the TPP and ask them to commit to vote no on the deal. You can also email your Congress people here.
For more analysis of the ITC report, check out Global Trade Watch’s detailed press release
2. Labor and Human Rights Forums
On May 14th, activists and organizers from El Salvador to Oregon to the Philippines gathered to share their stories of struggle and resistance against human rights violations fueled by free trade agreements. In unity, the panel declared the Trans-Pacific Partnership disastrous for human rights, as past free trade agreements have pushed indigenous people from their land and forced migration, something the TPP will intensify all while limiting access to medicine and making no improvement in anti-LGBTQ government policies.
One of the speakers, Monico Ito Cayog, a Bagobo elder from Davao del Sur, Southern Phillipines gave these helpful inspiring words as a call to action: “Indigenous people are like small fish in our traditional ways that are constantly being eaten by bigger fish. Wisdom tells us we must join together and become a big fish to defeat the other fish.” Drew Elizarde-Miller, Human RIghts Intern, ORFTC
On May 7th, leaders from AWPPW, ILWU, UA Local 290, Oregon Tradeswomen, and Portland Jobs with Justice came together with Oregon Fair Trade Campaign for Our Jobs, Our Economy: Labor and the TPP. Watch the forum online here. Thank you to David Delk for filming and editing! Thank you to Local 290 for hosting us!
3. Bad Trade Kills Good Jobs tour coming to Oregon
By allowing big corporations to pit local workers against highly-exploited workers abroad making less than 65 cents an hour, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement threatens to offshore jobs and drive down wages. Please join displaced workers and community leaders in calling on Congress to oppose the job-killing TPP at either of these events…
Beaverton Rally * Bad Trade Kills Good Jobs
Monday, June 27 * 10:30am * Outside Rep. Bonamici’s office 12725 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton
Portland Rally * Bad Trade Kills Good Jobs
Tuesday, June 28, 2016 * 12 noon * Outside Rep. Blumenauer’s office 911 NE 11th Ave St, Portland
4. June Events
At noon on June 17th join ORFTC and allies to kick off Portland Pride weekend by sending a loud and proud message to Rep Blumenauer: No to the TPP! Did you know that in Brunei, a TPP country, that the government sanctioned punishment for same-sex relationships is death by stoning? We stand with our LGBTTQ brothers, sisters, and siblings in saying no to preferential trading with countries that do not recognize basic human rights. Join us to kick off PRIDE weekend with action!
Our ally Common Cause teamed up with environmental activists to investigate one question: How do fossil fuel companies try to buy Oregon’s democracy? Now they want to share our findings with you. Join them as they go in depth to show how the energy industry tries to buy our elections, influence lawmakers, and prevent Oregon from confronting the threat of climate change. More information and to RSVP click here.
Portland’s monthly Trade Justice meetings are held the 4th Wednesday at 6pm of every month at the ORFTC office in downtown Portland. We have a lot of great ideas for summer and we need your help to make them happen. Interested in more information? Can’t make meetings but want to get more involved? Interested in starting a Trade Justice group in your community? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org