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Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 5, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Trans-Pacific Partnership troubled by overwhelming secrecy

It’s a slap in the face to Pacific Rim countries with developing economies

Plaudits to Jon Talton for raising questions about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership pact [“Fast track risky path for Pacific trade pact,” having trouble finding this article].

He correctly raises the issues of secrecy and the process of fast tracking the agreement through Congress. The secrecy issue is a special slap in the face to several Pacific Rim countries whose economies are still developing, and whose voices in international trade agreements have frequently been overwhelmed by the influence and clout of large global corporations in the rich countries.

For many who oppose this Trans-Pacific trade pact, the issue is not only economic but also moral. My own religious denomination, recognizing that trade policies have moral implications for millions of people mired in deep poverty in developing countries, passed a resolution at the Episcopal Church General Convention last year titled “advocate for a just economy for international trade.”

One of its clauses stipulated that “mutuality between all persons should be promoted in the formation of trade rules and agreements, giving equal rights and voice to persons and institutions … whether they be in developing or industrialized countries.” How can this occur if treaty deliberations are secret? Another stated that “trade should respect and enrich rather than undermine local economies, cultures and peoples.”

— Rev. Dick Gillett, Seattle

 

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