Re "Forging a Pacific future," Opinion, Oct. 18
Secretary of State John F. Kerry claims that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would "support American jobs," set "high labor and environmental standards" and protect human rights. While Kerry mentions the right buzzwords, lessons from past trade pacts show why we deserve more than empty promises.
An analysis by the liberal Economic Policy Institute found that the U.S. lost 680,000 jobs to Mexico after the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect, and more than 40,000 jobs to South Korea after the U.S.-Korea deal, despite predictions of U.S. job creation.
The TPP also would extend trade preferences to such countries as Vietnam instead of holding them accountable for their deplorable human rights and worker records. And the TPP would enable polluting corporations to challenge clean air and water policies if they interfered with expected profits.
We need a full debate on TPP, not more empty promises. We cannot afford another NAFTA.
Michael Brune, Alameda, Calif.
Larry Cohen, Washington
Brune is the Sierra Club's executive director; Cohen is president of the Communications Workers of America.
Kerry's piece on the importance of the TPP being negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries should serve as a wakeup call to the public and the media that there has been little discussion of its implications.
The issues discussed in this agreement will have far-reaching effects on most Americans in the areas of jobs, labor laws, environmental regulations, food safety, communications and even copyrights and patents.
Much of the trade discussion has been done in secret, and the news media and our elected representatives have been kept largely in the dark. I urge media organizations to help bring transparency to these negotiations.
The implications of the TPP are too significant to remain secret.
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