Letters to the Editor

Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact favors business, not national interests

Congressman Vern Buchanan is correct in asserting that free, fair trade is vitally important to our nation. However, beginning with NAFTA in 1995, all trade bills approved by Congress and sanctioned by presidents have decreased jobs and increased pain.

I fear our president will attempt to pass this Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) bill through the "fast track" method used to pass all of these awful bills for the past 20 years.

The biggest problem with the TPP, as it was with the former trade agreements, is that the negotiations are not about tariffs and old-fashioned trade issues. Today's negotiations focus on land-use policies, energy and financial regulations, pollution cleanup requirements and patent standards.

Whether the companies originated in the U.S. initially or whether they originated in some other nation, multinational corporations, not Congress, are the entities that negotiate these trade agreements.

It has become increasingly important to multinational corporations to have the upper hand on what is known as investor-state dispute settlements, which are special rights that are granted to these firms to the disadvantage of a nation's rights regarding its own health and environmental domestic laws.

Companies can bypass domestic courts to demand taxpayer compensation for policies that frustrate their claim to compensation for laws that have been passed to protect a nation's own land and people.

Instead, the corporations go to special trade courts set up particularly to settle such disputes. Judges are also aligned with the entire process.

Multinationals usually win and receive compensation for not being able to bypass a particular law dear to the heart of one or all of the countries being sued.

Bottom line: TPP isn't about jobs and growing our economy. Once again, it's about increasing the coffers of multinational corporations.

At the very least, Congress should not approve via the fast-track route. Contact Buchanan! Try to change his mind!

Jo Williams