Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

July 11, 2012

ACTION ALERT

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership are at an advanced stage. Write to the United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk and urge him to disclose the negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and inform the public on its’ content. Time is running out!

BACKGROUND

“Open your mouth for the speechless […] Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Prov. 31:8-9).

The negotiations of what is today the Trans-Pacific Partnership started in the P4 or the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership which included only 4 countries in 2005 (Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore). As of today, the TPP is at an advanced stage of negotiations and encompasses 12 members including the countries where the Columbans are involved; Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Peru. The 13th round of negotiations is set for San Diego, California on July 2-10.

Even though the Office of the United States Trade Representative is in consultation with stakeholders all around the United States to make sure the interests of the country are well represented, the negotiations are behind closed doors. As it is planned, the TPP is projected to yield annual global income gains of $295 billion with a share of $78 billion for the U.S.

The economies among members of the agreement are diverse, on one hand there are developed nations like the U.S. with advantages in services, investment and property rights. On the other hand, most of the Asian nations participating in the agreement are developing economies with a strong emphasis on manufactured goods. It is important to make sure that the conditions negotiated under the agreement are fair to all members; even if the potential gains for the U.S. are wide in terms of jobs creation, increase in exports, and economic recovery; the U.S. growth cannot be at the expense of economically poorer countries in development. That is the reason why it is essential to have a public negotiation of the agreement, so the people can watch closely and look after fair trade practices.

As a consequence, we call for transparency in negotiations. Recently, some parts of the investment chapter leaked to the public and many organizations like Citizens Trade Campaign denounced the special rights the TPP would give to corporations with the ability to challenge countries’ laws and regulations. In other words this would translate into diminishing the rights of the consumers and leave local governments with little tools to protect their natural resources.

ACTION REQUESTED

Let your voice be heard…WRITE TO THE U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE KIRK TODAY!

SAMPLE LETTER OR SAMPLE SCRIPT

Office of the United States Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20508
USA

Dear Ambassador Kirk,

I understand the importance of the economy in these times of crisis, and I value all of the efforts and projects meant for its recovery and to its improvement in the long term. I also understand that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a part of these efforts, and that the U.S. Government sees this agreement as an opportunity to improve its trading relationships with the Asia-Pacific Region as it is a chance to open new markets for all kinds of services that our companies can provide abroad.

Nevertheless, the negotiations of the agreement are held behind closed doors. It is vital for all the possible stakeholders, including the civil society, to have access to these negotiations so that an agreement can be reached which is just sustainable for all. This is also important for the societies abroad, so we can ensure that every sector in our society and in our trading partners’ societies are getting fair terms and improving their conditions instead of being diminished.

We request that you Ambassador Kirk will provide more information on the TPP for the public and disclose the negotiations, so we can have a clearer, fairer and more legitimate process.

Sincerely,

(NAME)
(ADDRESS)
(EMAIL)

CONTACT INFORMATION

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Amy Woolam Echeverria
Telephone: 301.565.4547
amywe@columban.org