Thank-you for the pro and con opinion pieces regarding fast-track authority for trade deals [“Should Congress give Obama fast-track authority for trade deals?” IOpinion, Dec. 30].
Don Kusler is absolutely correct: Allowing fast-track authority for trade deals such as the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — negotiated in secret — is in direct opposition to principles of democracy and of our Constitution, which gives Congress authority over foreign commerce. How can Congress properly exercise that authority if its members are not given the chance to review and amend trade legislation?
In addition, readers should note that the TPP is for the most part not a trade deal. Only five of the 29 chapters (based on leaked documents) have to do with trade. The rest are provisions that benefit corporations, not the average citizen. Most concerning are the investor-rights provisions that allow corporations to sue governments if they feel a country’s laws undermine their profits. For example, under similar provisions in NAFTA, a Canadian gold-mining company sued the U.S. to escape the cleanup of a mine site in California. This threatens our ability to protect the environment and fight climate change.
Fast-track authority and the TPP are in direct opposition to the idea of sovereignty and self-government.
Selden Prentice, Seattle
December 30, 2013 at 4:52 PM