The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently held that the U.S. could be subject to up to $1 billion in trade penalties simply because our law requires that meat be labeled with the country where it came from. According to the WTO, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a “trade barrier” and Americans have no right to know where their food comes from.
Within days, Congress bowed to the threat from the WTO and repealed Country of Origin Labeling on beef and pork.
How many times does this have to happen before we learn a lesson? COOL, dolphin-safe tuna labels, and so much more have been attacked due to international trade agreements. Twenty of years of so-called free trade agreements have given us millions of lost jobs and an economy that benefits huge corporations at everyone else’s expense.
Now, the President is asking Congress to approve the latest – and worst – deal: the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.
This two thousand page document would set the rules for all the countries in it – including the U.S. – on issues such as agriculture, food, intellectual property and patents, banking, and more. The agreement gives international corporations the ability to trump properly enacted domestic laws by attacking them as supposed trade barriers.
Here are just some of the highlights:
- The TPP gives importers the ability to challenge individual border inspection decisions, second-guessing U.S. inspectors about what food is safe and not safe to let into our country. This is a serious problem, particularly since a large percentage of our seafood comes from TPP countries already – in many cases, raised with chemicals and antibiotics that are not allowed in the U.S.
- The TPP threatens any serious limitation on genetically engineered foods. Based on the information on the USDA’s website, agribusiness and biotech companies will be able to use international tribunals to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops, or even require GMO labeling.
- The TPP undermines “Buy American” rules, even when American tax dollars are being spent. The TPP procurement chapter gives firms operating in any TPP nation equal access to U.S. government procurement contracts, rather than the government continuing to give preference to local firms to build and maintain our public roads, bridges, railways, post offices and universities.
- Thousands of new foreign companies would be able to use the TPP investor suit provisions to challenge federal, state or local laws that they claim interfere with their expected profit, bringing suit against our government in unaccountable international tribunals.
It’s time for Congress to stand up for American farmers, workers, and consumers. Call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and tell them to reject the TPP!
Please call or e-mail your U.S. Representative and both your U.S. Senators. You can find who represents you:
By Phone: call the Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121
Below is a sample message that you can use.
Phone calls have a much greater impact than emails. If you send an email, please be sure to personalize your message by adding a couple of sentences at the beginning about who you are and why these issues matter to you.
SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR A CALL or EMAIL:
I urge Representative/ Senator _____ to vote “No” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
During the fight on Fast Track, many promises were made that the TPP would provide protections for American farmers, workers, and consumers. Those promises were not kept. The final text of the TPP includes provisions that will undermine democratically enacted laws on food safety, GMO labeling, and much more.
Any benefit from reductions in tariffs is undermined by the failure to address currency manipulation. A few businesses may benefit, but the majority of American businesses and workers will be the losers, just as we have been under NAFTA, CAFTA, and the U.S.-Korean agreements.
I urge you to vote No on the TPP.
For more information about the TPP, see our fact sheet at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/tpp-fact-sheet-2015. You can download a pdf version to email your legislators as a follow-up to your call.
The text of the TPP is available at https://medium.com/the-trans-pacific-partnership/table-of-contents-83d9de8d01b5
LEGISLATORS’ TRACK RECORDS
If your Representative voted NO on Fast Track, that’s a good sign – be sure to thank him or her and urge them to stand firm against the TPP.
If your Representative voted YES on Fast Track, you really need to work on them!
You can see how your Rep voted at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2015/roll374.xml (remember: on Fast Track, a NO vote was what we wanted because Fast Track allowed the TPP to move forward with very little debate and no amendments)
The most important thing you can do is to call your U.S. Representative and both Senators.
For Texans, there are some key districts that we are focused on. If you know people who live in the following districts, please make an extra effort to share this alert with them and encourage them to call!
Legislators who voted NO on Fast Track: thank them and urge them to stand firm against the TPP:
- Louie Gohmert: Angelina, Gregg, Harrison, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Upshur, and Wood Counties. http://gohmert.house.gov/district/interactivemap.htm, (866) 535-6302
- Gene Green: parts of Harris County, map at https://green.house.gov/about/our-district, (202) 225-1688
- Joaquin Castro: areas north and west of San Antonio, including Leon Valley and part of Alamo Heights. Map at: http://castro.house.gov/about/our-district, 202-225-3236
- Michael Burgess: most of Denton County and portions of Tarrant County. Map at: http://burgess.house.gov/district/interactivemap.htm, (202) 225-7772
- Blake Farenthold: Texas Gulf Coast from Corpus Christi and vicinity to Madagorda County and inland to Bastrop. It includes Victoria, Wharton, Bay City, Luling, Edna, Yocham, Gonzales, Refugio, Halletsville and Shiner. Map at http://farenthold.house.gov/district/interactivemap.htm, (202) 225-7742
Legislators who voted YES on Fast Track: tell them they need to read the entire TPP because it does not fulfill the promises that were made – and then vote NO on the TPP!
- Beto O’Rourke: El Paso, 202-225-4831
- Ted Poe: parts of Harris County, map at http://poe.house.gov/our-district, (202) 225-6565
- John Ratcliffe: Rockwall County, Rains County, and part of Collin County; includes Rockwall, Sherman, and Texarkana. Map at https://ratcliffe.house.gov/about/our-district, (202) 225-6673
- Lamar Smith: from northern San Antonio to Austin and the Hill Country; includes New Braunfels, San Marcos, Boerne, Kerrville, Leakey, and Fredericksburg. Map at: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/district, 202-225-4236
- Brian Babin: southeast Texas, the 36th District includes Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin, Liberty, and Chambers counties, as well as portions of southeastern Harris County. MAP: http://babin.house.gov/district/interactivemap.htm, (202) 225-1555