Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter Chair, Hal Suter, helps deliver over 24,000 signatures calling for transparency in TPP negotiations.
For Immediate Release (Thursday, May 10, 2012):
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Coalition Demands Transparency in Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations
CWA, Sierra Club, Texas AFL-CIO, and Texas Fair Trade Coalition
gather at Dallas trade summit
ADDISON - May 8 - A diverse coalition of labor, environmental
and trade reform advocates presented a petition today signed
by over 24,000 Americans calling on the Office of the United
States Trade Representative (USTR) to publicly
release its proposals for the controversial new Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement. The petition was delivered
to USTR staff at the Dallas Intercontinental Hotel, where
top U.S. trade official and former Dallas mayor Kirk is
hosting an 8-day summit aimed at moving the secretive TPP
negotiations towards rapid completion.
“Americans have a right to know what U.S. representatives
are proposing in our names,” said Becky Moeller, president
of the Texas AFL-CIO. “A major international agreement that’s
expected to affect jobs, wages, the economy and more is far
too important to allow to be negotiated behind-closed-doors
without informed public input.”
The Dallas TPP summit is the 12th major round of negotiations
on the proposed trade and investment pact between the U.S.
and countries throughout the Pacific Rim. USTR has reportedly
proposed text for most, if not all, of some 26 separate chapters,
covering everything from financial regulations and government
procurement to consumer safety standards and the environment.
None of those proposals have been
officially released to the public.
“The people whose lives will be affected by these
decisions all deserve a chance to weigh in on TPP proposals
at a point when their ideas still have an opportunity to
be incorporated,” said
Hal Suter, executive committee chair of the Lone Star Chapter
of the Sierra Club. “That’s how policymaking
works in a democracy.”
“The world can’t afford a ‘NAFTA of the Pacific,’” said Nancy
Hall, executive vice president of Communications Workers
of America Local 6215. “If Wall Street
banks and big corporations continue to be the main parties
influencing the TPP negotiations, expect another pact that
puts corporate interests ahead of working people and the
The USTR has granted approximately 600 corporate lobbyists
official “cleared advisor” status that gives them access
to negotiating documents and negotiators. During a Senate
Finance Committee hearing in April, Ambassador Kirk claimed
that no countries would be willing to negotiate trade agreements
with the U.S. if negotiating drafts were shared with the
“Don’t be fooled into believing that the extreme
level of secrecy in the TPP negotiations is somehow the norm.
Plenty of international negotiations, including those at
the World Trade Organization, regularly publish draft texts
for public review,” said Bob Cash, director of the Texas Fair Trade
Coalition. “If the TPP negotiations can’t stand exposure
to the light of day, then they aren’t worth continuing.”
During a Global Business Dialogue Forum on the TPP in late
January, Gary Horlick, a former U.S. government trade official,
said, “This is the least transparent trade negotiation
I have ever seen.” The point has been raised by civil society
organizations in most of the nine current negotiating countries.
Texans will follow up the petition for transparency with
a “TPP: Out of the Shadows!” rally and march starting at
Addison Circle Park at 1:00pm on Saturday, May 12.
has been endorsed by the Citizens Trade Campaign, Code Pink,
Communications Workers of America, Dallas AFL-CIO Council,
Dallas Peace Center, Friends of the Earth, International
Association of Machinists, International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, National
Family Farm Coalition, North Texas Jobs with Justice, Occupy
Texas, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Texas AFL-CIO, Texas
Fair Trade Coalition, Texas State Building Trades Council,
United Students Against Sweatshops, Welcoming Immigrants
Network and others. For details visit: www.tppdallas.org.