Letters to the Editor

Against Pacific trade partnership

Reasons I oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

1. The public can’t read it; Congress is forbidden to discuss it.

2. Tribunals of private sector attorneys settle claims brought by corporations against governments when policies threaten their profits. The public has no standing.

3. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement passed, the U.S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs, middle-class wages have declined, and the standard of living has deteriorated.

We’ve turned trade surpluses into trade deficits. Subsidized U.S. corn exports have decimated the income of over 2 million rural Mexican farmers and agricultural workers. I believe loss of livelihood is driving them northward.

Under NAFTA’s investor-state dispute resolution, foreign corporations have won over $360 million in claims with $12.3 billion pending, all relating to environmental, energy, land use, public health and transportation policies. Taxpayers foot the bill.

I believe this extra-judiciary system bolsters “corporate sovereignty,” giving special privileges to investors at the expense of national sovereignty. Polls show that most Americans want to renegotiate NAFTA or drop out entirely.

These trade agreements are not about “free trade.” I believe they are about corporations achieving their agendas without the messy business of citizen opposition.

Read Public Citizen’s report on NAFTA after 20 years to learn more.

Carol Kemp