Readers React

Why California Democrats don't want to 'fast track' the TPP

To the editor: Contrary to the impression that readers of the editorial may get, I am pro-trade. I want a fair trade deal. ("Why 'fast track' bill on trade makes sense," editorial, June 10)

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)

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To the editor: 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.

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