Press Release, AFL-CIO: USTR Must End Secrecy Surrounding TTIP Negotiations

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE       

Contact: Carolyn Bobb, 202-637-5018                                                                                                      

USTR Must End Secrecy Surrounding TTIP Negotiations

[A Press Release from the AFL-CIO  |  October 23, 2015]

(Washington, DC October 23, 2015) – On a conference call today, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (TX); Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Lorette Picciano, Executive Director of the Rural Coalition and Thea Lee, AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff called on the USTR to make the current discussions of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) the open and democratic process that the American public deserves.

The advocates for transparency in trade highlighted a letter sent to USTR Michael Froman by more than 75 U.S.-based groups and several academics asking the USTR to increase transparency in the trade, investment, and governance talks with the European Union and to immediately release its own proposals.

“If the EU is willing to publish its textual proposals, there is no reason why the U.S. cannot immediately release its own textual proposals as well,” the letter said. “This significant change from present practice would be a major step toward the release of composite draft texts after each round. It would also help produce trade negotiations guided by the principles of democracy, transparency, and political accountability.”

Numerous organizations and academics from across the political spectrum, united by interest in good governance and transparency, weighed in on this debate. All agree trade negotiations cannot continue to operate in the current manner if they are to create better trade policies with fair rules beneficial to all rather than a few.

“The U.S. must show its commitment to creating better trade deals and better lives by immediately releasing their TTIP proposals. Trade agreements negotiated in secret have had a devastating impact upon our families, our jobs, and this nation. Hard-working men and women simply cannot afford anything less than complete transparency when it comes to global trade.”

Marc Perrone, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Union

“Working families don’t like it when the rules of trade are negotiated in secret rooms we can’t enter.  The US and EU can avoid some of the problems the TPP has by bringing TTIP into the light and allowing hardworking Americans a chance to advocate for rules fair to all of us, not just to corporate elites—we call on USTR to make this happen.”

Celeste Drake, Trade & Globalization Policy Specialist, AFL-CIO

“Concerned communities around the world are demanding transparency for a deal that could affect access to clean energy, clean air and water, and climate action. We saw a quarter of a million people protest the TTIP in Berlin, and more and more of the Sierra Club's 2.4 million members and supporters are joining in the call for a new, transparent model of trade that puts people before polluter profits.”

Ilana Solomon, Director of Sierra Club's Responsible Trade Program

“Many of our organizations have been advocating for specific changes to the business as usual approach to free trade since the inception of these talks. Simply listening to and receiving comments isn’t anywhere near enough. USTR should publish the TTIP texts now.”

Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Director of International Strategies, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

“Complex trade agreements like TTIP have far reaching consequences for science-based policies.  We need real access to the details to understand and be fully engaged in the process of deciding if the agreement and its provisions are truly in the public interest.”

Andrew Rosenberg, Director, Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists

“Trade agreements are too consequential for the public, and too complex, to exclude everyone but a handful of bureaucrats and corporate lobbyists from having access to the details during the negotiations.   It is insulting beyond belief that policy makers think there is any justification for blocking public access to a text that is already shared with both negotiating parties and hundreds of lobbyists representing big corporations.”  

James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International

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