Jan. 25 - Public Citizen Comments Regarding the Proposed United States-Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement
Statement of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
Public Citizen welcomes the opportunity to comment on the proposal by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to enter into negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement (TPP) with Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The TPP negotiations would be the first entered into by the new administration. For that reason, they provide the opportunity for the administration to translate into action President Obama’s campaign commitments to reform the past U.S. trade agreement model so that pacts can deliver benefits to more people, and so that the various problems he identified with the past model's foreign investor, procurement, import safety, service-sector, procurement and other provisions are remedied. Indeed, TPP negotiations could be used to correct these problems with respect to past Clinton and Bush administration-negotiated U.S. "Free Trade Agreements" (FTAs) with Australia, Chile, Peru and Singapore.
It is critical to establish early on to both the American public and our prospective TPP negotiating partners that there will be a new Obama administration approach to the TPP, given that the Bush administration initiated the U.S. involvement in the talks. Starting in February 2008, the Bush administration participated in three TPP negotiating rounds. These talks presumably followed the past U.S. trade agreement model opposed by many in Congress, Public Citizen and diverse U.S. labor, consumer, environmental, development, farm and faith organizations, and – according to polling data – a majority of Americans. Indeed, the Obama administration's notice to Congress and Federal Register posting follows on similar notices already given by the Bush administration in 2008. Shortly after President Obama's inauguration in 2009, USTR continued on with the Bush-initiated process by requesting comments on the TPP and giving notice of a public hearing it then conducted. Given the expectation by the American public and Congress that the Obama administration was committed to breaking with the failed Bush trade agenda, many were pleased with the late February 2009 Obama administration request of TPP countries to delay negotiations scheduled for March 30, 2009, so that the new administration could appoint trade officials and review its trade policy.
Because Public Citizen does not accept funds from corporations, professional associations or government agencies, we can remain independent and follow the truth wherever it may lead. But that means we depend on the generosity of concerned citizens like you for the resources to fight on behalf of the public interest. If you would like to help us in our fight, click here.
|Join | Contact PC | Contribute | Site Map | Careers/Internships| Privacy Statement.|