Tell U.S. Senators Wyden & Klobuchar to Oppose Fast Track
Calls are needed NOW! A top priority for many multinational corporations is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement, which encompasses 12 countries located around the Pacific Ocean: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and Brunei. Although the TPP is presented as a way to increase exports by eliminating trade barriers, the reality is that this trade agreement goes far beyond that by granting unwarranted privileges to huge corporations, undermining local safeguards and threatening our food system.
• A Lack of Transparency: Currently, the TPP is being negotiated in secret. None of the text has been made publicly available by the negotiators involved — details have only come out through leaked documents. Only government trade officials and some 600 mostly “corporate advisers” have access to the text. Even our members of Congress are without a seat at the table. So while the corporate elite have full access, the American people have been completely shut out.
• Limiting the Voice of American People: To make matters worse, President Barack Obama is seeking “fast track” authority to speed up negotiations and further limit public input. Fast track would remove Congress’ ability to change the TPP, if it’s ever finalized, and only allow for a “yes” or “no” vote on whatever is developed, with almost no public scrutiny. Forcing Congress to vote on an agreement this complex without adequate time for open hearings, review and public scrutiny will only ensure that this agreement is designed to favor multinational corporations — not farmers, workers or consumers.
• Undermining Local Control and the Democratic Process: One of the most troublesome aspects of the TPP is a clause called the “investor state dispute resolution.” Through this clause, corporations could be granted the legal authority, just like a country, to file a lawsuit against government municipalities if that corporation felt local laws impeded “expected future profits.” That means if local ordinances or state laws that protect our health, property and way of life are "standing in the way" of corporate profits, that corporation could sue for millions of taxpayer dollars in private international trade courts. In Minnesota, this could mean frac sand companies would have the legal authority to sue counties or townships for ordinances restricting frac sand mining. This clause undermines our local democracy and gives multinational corporations increased power over the rights of citizens.
• A Threat to the Food System: Many of the nations in the TPP produce food with chemicals and antibiotics that are prohibited in the U.S., and are already shipped with minimal safety inspections. TPP would require that countries only enact “scientifically justifiable” food safety regulation, making it harder for countries to restrict the use of pesticides and food additives based on the precautionary principle. Under the TPP, food labels such as Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), “Union Made,” “No Antibiotics,” or “Minnesota Grown” could be challenged as so-called "trade barriers" rather than being recognized as legitimate information designed to protect public health or support local industry. Even farm-to-school programs that give preference to locally grown food could be challenged as a barrier to international trade. It is also important to note that, historically, international trade agreements have been devastating to people in developing countries, forcing countless family farmers off their land and encouraging a global race to the bottom in acceptable working conditions as corporations relocate to improve their bottom line.
Congress ultimately decides if any trade agreement is enacted. The biggest concern is that corporate lobbyists and their allies in Congress will use every means necessary to pass fast track and the TPP. It is very likely that fast track is being pushed RIGHT NOW as Congress returns to the nation's Capitol after the Easter recess, so now is the time to make your voice heard. LSP will be tracking this issue closely and will let you know when and if fast track hits the floor of Congress. Right now, we need your help to tell Congress that TPP should NOT be fast tracked.
There are two key players who need to hear from you today:
1. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, where the Senate fast track bill would be introduced. He has a significant amount of influence over the outcome of fast track.
2. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has not decided which way to vote on fast track. Her vote is especially important because she sits on the President's Export Council of the International Trade Administration.
Call Senator Ron Wyden and Amy Klobuchar NOW!
• Senator Ron Wyden: 202-224-5244
Here is a suggested message: I am calling to leave a message for Senator Wyden. My name is ___________ and I live in _________ and I want him to oppose any "fast track" authority provided to the Obama Administration for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I'm opposed to this trade agreement because it has been done in secret, undermines labor rights and threatens food safety. It would also take away the rights of people to have a say over the decisions that affect them and their communities. As a concerned citizen, I urge Senator Wyden to oppose both fast track and the TPP.
• Senator Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244
Here is a suggested message: I am calling to leave a message for Senator Klobuchar. My name is ______________ and I live in __________________ and I want her to vote against any “fast track” authority provided to the Obama Administration for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. I’m opposed to this trade agreement because it has been done in secret, undermines labor rights and threatens food safety. It would also take away the rights of people to have a say over the decisions that affect them and their communities. As a concerned citizen of Minnesota, I urge Senator Klobuchar to side with the people, rather than corporations, and publicly oppose both fast track and TPP.
TAKE ACTION. Make these calls TODAY!
Are you interested in doing more to oppose fast track?
Join Land Stewardship Project allies Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition and Communication Workers of America union to spread the word about fast track on Saturday, April 18.
- What: Handing out educational information to the public.
- Where: Outside of the Twins Stadium by the entrance near the light rail.
- When: Saturday April 18, from 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Kaela Berg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-669-8662.
For more on TPP visit www.landstewardshipproject.org/organizingforchange/tpp or call the Land Stewardship Project at 612-722-6377.