Washington state could get big economic boost from more international trade

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SEATTLE -- The Obama Administration is on the verge of striking the largest trade deal in U.S. history.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership would drop all taxes and tariffs between 12 major countries around the Pacific Rim, including the U.S., Japan, Australia and Chile.

Supporters argue the landmark agreement will help Washington businesses, by opening the floodgates for more exports, including airplanes, agriculture and software.

“It’s all about selling American products to the rest of the world,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn), one of the state’s strongest trade advocates.

But opponents of the Pacific Rim trade deal are getting louder as the countries get close to finalizing the agreement.  The lastest voice to slam the plan is none other than the Seattle City Council.   In a largely symbolic act, the local lawmakers passed a resolution this week attacking deal.  They worry it will drive American jobs overseas, and will allow trading partners to ignore our higher labor and environmental standards.

“They are 180 degrees off base on this issue,” said Reichert.  “Trade jobs actually pay 20 percent higher than most other jobs so if we want to raise the wage limits of folks that live in Washington State, they should be for trade because they are higher pay jobs.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray isn’t with his Council on this one.  He says the Obama Administration can be expected to negotiate a tough deal that doesn’t lead to lost jobs and lower standards.

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  • Please Look Carefully

    You can get a lot more information on the Trans Pacific Partnership (the TPP, which is being called NAFTA on steroids) and its companion trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, by googling Public Citizen. US News & World Report also had a very informative article you can google titled: Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal is no deal at all/Trans Pacific Partnership is a bad trade deal. These two trade deals would not only send millions more jobs overseas, including to countries like Vietnam where the minimum wage is twenty-eight cents an hour, they would also force us to accept contaminated food and other unsafe products from foreign countries, ban Made in America labeling, expand the power of multinational corporations, already granted under NAFTA, to sue us for huge amounts of money if our protections conflicted with their “expected future profits” in international tribunals which superseded our own laws, threaten internet freedoms, and more.

    Congress is planning to vote very soon on fast track/trade promotion authority. Fast track would severely, severely limit the time Congress has to read and debate these trade deals, which have been kept very secret, even from Congress but not from multinational corporations, and make it impossible for our representatives to make changes in these trade deals which could protect us. In other words, fast track would severely, severely limit our ability to have any input and protect ourselves. I strongly suggest that everyone calls their representative and their two senators to tell them to Vote No to Fast Track/No to Trade Promotion Authority, that you do this ASAP, and that you tell other people to do this too.

    There is also a petition online on Credo Action we can all sign: Make secret trade agreements public, demanding that we, and Congress, be able to immediately read these trade deals which have no expiration dates and could so adversely affect our lives. It is also suggested that we all call Senator Ron Wyden, because he has a very important voice in all this now, to tell him to publicly oppose fast track and help us stop the TPP. Please tell other people about all this too. Thank you.

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