Say no to ‘fast track’

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Why we need ‘fast track,’ ” Ed­i­to­rial, June 10

Con­trary to the im­pres­sion that read­ers of this ed­i­to­rial may get, I am pro-trade. I want a fair trade deal. But “fast track” leg­is­la­tion for the pro­posed Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) will likely re­sult in a bad trade deal that hurts Amer­i­can work­ers. It’s been es­ti­mated that the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment re­sulted in the loss of more than 800,000 U.S. man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

The text of the House fast-track mea­sure ties the hands of the pres­i­dent, not al­low­ing him to con­sider cli­mate change or im­mi­gra­tion is­sues when ne­go­ti­at­ing deals. Ad­di­tion­ally, it hurts hu­man rights by dras­ti­cally weak­en­ing hu­man traf­fick­ing pro­tec­tions.

If the pres­i­dent gets fast-track author­ity, then my only role as a mem­ber of Congress would be to vote up or down on a trade deal. I don’t want to vote against a trade deal. I want to shape a fair deal that does not hurt Amer­i­can work­ers and that I can vote for.

Rep. Jan­ice Hahn

(D-San Pe­dro)

The Times ed­i­to­ri­al­izes that “state and lo­cal of­fi­cials are con­spic­u­ously si­lent” on the (TPP) — and af­ter all, it’s daunt­ing to op­pose a pres­i­den­tial trade ini­tia­tive. Nonethe­less, there are many rea­sons for great con­cern.

The TPP will al­low multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions to un­der­mine la­bor safe­guards, civil rights, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and health­care — and will se­ri­ously de­rail ur­gent ef­forts at fight­ing cli­mate change.

Cal­i­for­nia leads the na­tion on cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion leg­is­la­tion, and its ef­forts must not be un­der­cut. Yet sim­i­lar trade deals have gut­ted ef­forts in other coun­tries through pro­vi­sions al­low­ing cor­po­ra­tions and in­vestors to sue cities, states and na­tions over leg­isla­tive and ad­min­is­tra­tive rules in transna­tional tri­bunals.

In Canada, for in­stance, the prov­ince of On­tario’s “buy lo­cal so­lar and wind” pro­gram was un­der­mined by the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which cited Ja­pan’s com­plaints that a re­quire­ment for “made in On­tario” parts breached in­ter­na­tional trade law. Cor­po­ra­tions like Exxon Mo­bil and Dow Chem­i­cal have launched hun­dreds of cases against 95 gov­ern­ments over com­mon-sense en­vi­ron­men­tal laws and reg­u­la­tions.

We shouldn’t en­able as­saults by multi­na­tional fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies on Cal­i­for­nia’s land­mark cli­mate change leg­is­la­tion. That’s just one cru­cial rea­son among many why the TPP must be stopped.

Paul Koretz

Los An­ge­les The writer is a mem­ber of the L.A. City Coun­cil.

Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

A DEMON­STRA­TOR in Wash­ing­ton last month protests against “fast track” trade leg­is­la­tion.


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