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Progressive Caucus Resolution 2016-01

Resolution Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

WHEREAS the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently under consideration in Congress was negotiated in secret by corporate trade representatives, lacking sufficient input from workers’ rights or environmental organizations, and without public disclosure of the provisions of the agreement even to members of Congress in violation of the democratic values of this country; and

WHEREAS only a few of the chapters of the TPP deal directly with trade, the bulk of the agreement instead establishing limits on food safety, health and environmental policies, expanding patents, and eviscerating financial regulations; and,

WHEREAS similar to NAFTA, the TPP includes an undemocratic system of corporate privileges including investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) under which individual foreign corporations are given equal status with the sovereign governments signing the deal; and,

WHEREAS ISDS allows corporate claimants to challenge governments’ health, environmental and other public interest policies before extra-judicial tribunals authorized to order unlimited compensation for lost profits to be paid for with taxpayer dollars; and,

WHEREAS the TPP does not provides for any specific enforcement powers to ensure that that labor standards are maintained, that abuses such as child labor and human trafficking are avoided, or that environmental sustainability practices are followed; and,

WHEREAS under the TPP, the Department of Energy (DOE) loses its authority to regulate exports of fossil fuels to countries with which we have a trade agreement, making drastic increases in natural gas exports and dangerously toxic fracking much more likely; and,

WHEREAS the TPP harms public health by limiting consumers’ access to less expensive generic drugs through extensions of monopoly drug patents, by allowing monopoly rights over surgical procedures, and by empowering foreign corporations to challenge public health laws, including laws that regulate hazardous substances, cigarettes and alcohol; and,

WHEREAS the TPP threatens food safety by limiting our ability to ensure the safety of imported food and treating Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warnings of unusually high levels of antibiotic residues, microbial contamination, and other serious food safety concerns as trade barriers; and,

WHEREAS the TPP interferes with the democratic process regarding labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), disallowing citizen-initiated labeling legislation, and thwarting the ability of American voters to make their own choices about food labeling laws;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Washington State Progressive Caucus urges the Washington State Delegation to the United States Congress to vote ‘NO’ on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Submitted to the Washington State Progressive Caucus meeting of January 30, 2016 by by Brian Gunn, caucus chair.

Disposition: Adopted, January 30, 2016

Brian Gunn, Chair