Seattle Times LTE: Trade policy: Open TPP negotiations to protect labor and the environment


Stan Sorscher is the president of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and sits on the Board of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

Congress’ vote on fast-track authority is historic [“Reps. Denny Heck and Adam Smith wrongly oppose Obama’s trade ambitions,” Opinion, June 12]. We should congratulate U.S. Reps. Adam Smith, Denny Heck and Jim McDermott for their clear judgment and political courage. All three have recognized that our trade policy has failed, and they are ready to stand up for a better trade policy.

[Reposted from The Seattle Times  |  Stan Sorscher  |  June 12, 2015]

Start with the negotiations process: Corporate advisers worked with our negotiators in secret for five years to optimize an agreement that could serve the interests of global businesses. Such a distorted process has worked very well for global corporations. It has done nothing for workers, communities or the environment.

In their news releases, Smith and Heck showed exactly what is wrong with our trade policy, and they point to practical, meaningful changes we should take immediately.

This is not that hard to figure out. If we let an open, transparent and inclusive political process work, we could have the benefits of trade and meaningful protections for labor and environment. And we could put an end to currency manipulation, which costs us billions of dollars per year. And we could balance investor interests with public interests. And we could retain policy options to deal with climate change. And we could share the gains from globalization.

Our current trade policy gives real benefits to global business and lip service to civil society. The only way we could improve our trade policy is to prevent fast-track authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership from locking in our current failed policies for the next generation.

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