North America Procurement Council Procurement News

Washington State Democrats Urge Congress To Block Trans-Pacific Partnership

April 8, 2016

On April 6, 23 House Representatives in the State of Washington sent a letter to the U.S. Congress, urging blocking of the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and rescinding U.S. support for the deal.

The letter was submitted directly to the “Washington State Members of Congress” as an urgent request.

In that letter, they state that “the TPP seriously compromises the ability of the Washington Legislature to enact and enforce statutes that bolster our local economy, guard our public health and safety, and protect our natural resources”.

As further specifics, they express their concerns “about the impact of", among other items:

“Expanded intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical companies that ensure rising drug costs and decreased availability of life-saving medications.

“Weaker Rules of Origin which will have a deleterious effect on our aerospace manufacturing jobs as content required to qualify for tariff reductions is much lower than under NAFTA.

“Failure to include mechanisms for ensuring compliance, much less enforcement, of labor standards and failure to include a commitment to human rights standards.

And

“Government procurement language which impedes our ability to promote state and local vendors.”

The State Representatives also raise major questions about the TTP agreement’s “Investor State Dispute Settlement System  (ISDS)” system which “empowers foreign corporations to file claims against nations for unlimited monetary awards” in “private tribunals” with no accountability to existing “laws, regulations, and government actions/inactions”.  The decisions made by these tribunals are also not bound by any previous precedent and cannot be appealed based on the merits of the cases involved. 

A copy of the full letter is available at: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2791272/TPP-Letter-of-Concern.pdf?platform=hootsuite .

The charges the State Representatives have stated are serious and very much in alignment with previous concerns brought up by many others who have actually read through the entire agreement.

It is unclear what will happen as a result of the letter.  In the meantime, those who agree with the letter’s contents are strongly urged to contact their own state’s representatives to demand that the trade agreement be stopped from going any further.

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