Letter from Cong. Susan Davis re: Fast Track and the TPA

August 14, 2015


A CPA member wrote to Cong. Susan Davis to ask her to oppose Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.  He received this note in response.

Thank you for writing to me about your concemswith the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is an incredibly important issue, and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

I share your concerns about past trade agreements, as they have not always lived up to their full potential. That is why it is important that we improve upon the labor and enviromnental flaws of NAFTA and include provisions that bring the authority back to Congress if trade deals don't match our priorities. I believe the bipartisan TP A bill drafted by Senators Wyden and Hatch is a significant improvement over past TP A bills, especially as it relates to Congressional oversight.

But there is still more that can be done, which is why I continue to work closely with my colleagues to improve the legislation that was recently introduced, but has yet to come to the floor for a vote. The US has a unique opportunity to set high standards for enviromnental and labor rights throughout Asia if this deal is done correctly. With this opportunity, however, comes an enormous responsibility, which is why I am taking my time to make sure we get the best deal we can.

Once again, thank you for contacting me. As your representative, I both need and value your perspective.

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  • No treaty will reverse the de-industrialization of America that has resulted from the Free Trade policy and FTAs that define it. Instead of attempting to “fix” the expansion of this global governance, we should fight to restore American national and popular sovereignty.

    Sovereign Acts of Congress through Customs laws can be used to ban imports of any goods we deem to be harmful to our national interests (such as dumped or even just excessively cheap goods that undermine our domestic industries) or that we deem to be harmful to the global environment (such as rain forest timber). Chasing a chimeric environmental silver lining of these treaties only legitimizes corporate globalization using these treaties against us.

    As for standards: imposing international standards is beyond the Constitutional mandate or practical capability of the US government. A much better way is through more sovereign Acts of Congress, ie, strong Customs laws that impose countervailing duties or prohibitions on imports whose production does not meet our standards. Senator Warren has documented in her report Broken Promises that virtually none of the labor, environmental or human rights “standards” in our existing trade treaties have been enforced by our trade partners. But the American government surely has the power and the duty to enforce our own standards through strong Customs laws.

    In fact, a unilateral and sovereign US Customs approach to standards might actually put more pressure on our trade partners to raise their standards than treaties have done. This is because, even after we adopt a Balanced Trade policy that limits our imports to the same value as our exports, the US market would still be the third largest importer in the world (after China and the European Union). Any country or foreign operation that wants to export their goods to the USA would at least take careful notice of our Customs standards. And our own domestic industries and American workers would finally be protected from competing against impossibly low foreign standards.
  • correction this not the luke response we expect or need. Real decisive reposes.
  • This is not the luke warm response we must have. Its way too Washington, not boots on the ground!.
  • This is not the luke warm response we must have. Its way too Washington, not boots on the ground!.