Minneapolis – The derailment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the lame duck session of Congress marks powerful progress toward fair trade. Since 2010, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, working with a coalition of human rights, environmental, labor and family farm organizations—indeed, nearly all of civil society—has been raising concerns about the TPP. At first, we said this deal must be unlike any previous U.S. trade agreement. It must place the benefit of our communities ahead of corporate profit. TPP did not do that, so we opposed it in no uncertain terms. This work is not done. The worst aspects of TPP may still come back in new forms and with new threats. We must remain vigilant.
President-elect Donald Trump’s reckless threats to tear up trade agreements have included no actionable policy approaches to new trade agreements that will ensure jobs, improve peoples’ lives, prevent the destruction of our planet, or prevent the consolidation of power in the hands of a few corporate interests.
“TPP’s derailment is a victory, allowing another day to fight for trade agreements as instruments of democratic governance, rather than secret, corporate driven power grabs,” according to Juliette Majot, Executive Director of IATP.
“Rural communities, not just the administration’s corporate partners, must have a voice in determining what fair trade practices—and fair prices—look like. TPP was negotiated in secret, with corporate profits placed ahead of any benefit to farmers or the environment,” says Karen Hansen-Kuhn, Director of Trade and Global Governance at IATP.
Expanding export markets under the TPP and other free trade agreements have been falsely held out as a solution to plummeting crop prices, diminishing rural incomes and increasing hunger around the world. Family farmers and local foods movements in the U.S. and all of the TPP countries denounce these false notions and have exposed how TPP’s passage would endanger efforts to promote fair and sustainable food and farm systems.
Juliette Majot concludes, “Trade is an essential economic and political tool for improving peoples’ lives around the world. To be done right, it requires transparent, democratic, international institutions to govern it to ensure the provision of employment, product safety, fair and sustainable food systems, and environmental health, among other societal standards, for all the countries who participate in it. The TPP, from inception, through secret negotiation, and in its thousands of pages of non-trade related rules, works directly against those standards and the public good.”