For Immediate Release
December 15, 2009
Press Statement on the White House Plan to Negotiate a Pacific Rim Trade Agreement
by Arthur Stamoulis, Director, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign
“The Obama administration’s notice to Congress of its intent to negotiate a regional trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership failed to address any of the trade reforms the President promised to champion while he was on the campaign trail.
“While repeating platitudes about the need for business ‘competitiveness,’ the White House letter makes no mention of human rights, labor standards, environmental protection, consumer safety or any of the other issues President Obama pledged to address in future trade policies.
“I hope these disheartening omissions were simply an oversight, and that the President will work with Congress to create the type of new trade policy that is so desperately needed by working people in Oregon and around the world. Already, Congress has made important progress on this front, with approximately half of the Democratic Caucus in the House cosponsoring serious trade reform legislation called the TRADE Act.”
BACKGROUND: U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk sent a two-page letter to Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd on December 14, 2009 notifying Congress of the President’s intent to negotiate a regional trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations. Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, are initially being conducted between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with an expressed desire to expand to other nations.
President Obama’s views on trade as expressed to the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign in a May 2008 candidate questionnaire can be found online at:
The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign is a statewide coalition of labor, environmental and human rights organizations working together to improve U.S. trade policy.