Washington D.C.–Following an intense lobbying campaign, the Senate today caved in to demands from the Obama administration and GOP leadership and gave Trade Promotion Authority six years of life support. Better known as Fast Track, this legislation means that Congress has forfeited its right to amend any international trade agreement for the next six years; all it can do is vote the proposed agreement up or down.
“While Fast Track’s fate has been decided, the fate of the trade bills themselves has not. Fast Track will grease the skids for secretly negotiated trade agreements, but what it will not do is shut up millions of Americans who will fight for a thumbs down vote” says Juliette Majot, President of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
“This isn’t over yet. The real danger comes next, as the talks will turn to packaging the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in ways that favor agribusinesses over farmers and consumers. Rules in TTIP on food safety, pesticides and buy local programs, for example, could undo decades of work by farm and food movements to rebuild our food system.”
The passage of Fast Track has set the stage for an all-out battle over the future of TPP and TTIP. The fight over Fast Track demonstrates that the future of free trade agreements designed to manage trade and investment for global corporations will be hotly contested. IATP will continue working with farmers, ranchers, peasants and rural people around the world to stop free trade and to build alternatives that advance democracy and food sovereignty.