December 6, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Trade promotion authority would empower Congress to create negotiating objectives
Jon Talton’s column “Fast track risky path for Pacific trade pact” [Online, Dec. 1] fails to capture the importance of fast track authority (also known as trade promotion authority or TPA) as a policy tool for both the president and Congress.
Far from promoting secrecy or reducing congressional oversight in trade agreements, TPA would empower Congress to create high-standard negotiating objectives for trade agreements and would require U.S. trade negotiators to consult extensively with Congress.
As a result, TPA increases transparency for trade negotiations and ensures that trade agreements have no surprises. In fact, every president since FDR had TPA, until it expired in 2007. If Congress wants increased oversight over negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership to ensure it is most beneficial to the United States, it is imperative it pass TPA as quickly as possible.
December 5, 2013 at 7:36 AM
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.”
October 15, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Trans-Pacific Partnership will help state’s job market
Jon Talton’s column highlights the critical need for a high-standard trade agreement that will benefit Washington state and the national economy [“Pivot toward Asia comes with potholes,” business, Oct 13].
Washington state has much to gain from a well-crafted agreement due to our strong economic ties with Asia. In fact, Asian countries are some of Washington’s top trading partners and Trans-Pacific Partnership countries account for one-third of Washington’s goods exports, as well as a significant portion of service exports.
With 40 percent of Washington jobs tied to international trade, TPP would be especially beneficial to our state — breaking down barriers to goods and service exports, creating jobs and generating economic growth. It would also help Washington’s manufacturing, retail and apparel companies to leverage more efficiently global supply chains in TPP countries, lower costs for Washington consumers and create more jobs at local companies.
While the negotiations for this agreement are complex, we must remain steadfast in advocating for a high-standard agreement that can generate significant economic growth here in Washington.
Ashley Dutta, Seattle
September 20, 2013 at 6:33 PM
Beware the TPP
I’m writing regarding the recent article about the woman who almost died from eating cheese infected with listeria. [“Near-fatal food poisoning spurs local woman to act,” page one, Sept. 19.]
If the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement goes through, any rules the Food and Drug Administration comes up with to protect us from unsafe foreign products will be subject to the lowest common denominator standards. These will be written by the corporations, without study by our Congress.
It would be too late to challenge agreed-upon standards.
Enid Havens, Seattle
February 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Tolling may affect trade
Will Washington become the only state with a toll on Interstate 90 [“I-90 tolls: Islanders incensed,” page one, Jan. 31]? Will some shippers move from the Port of Seattle?
Who knows, but for sure the “introductory” toll presented by the Department of Transportation will not be adequate, and will be raised. Look to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for a model.
–Archer Wirth, Kingston
May 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM
U.S. needs an industrial policy
Dave Batker and Stephanie Celt make an excellent case against the pending trade agreement with Panama ["Obama should steer clear of Panama trade pact," Opinion, guest commentary, May 27]. That said, if Panama woke up tomorrow and resolved every objection we have with their notorious banking system, we would still have a failed trade policy.
In 1993, four presidents met to sign the North American Free Trade Agreement side letters. Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush promised America millions of new manufacturing jobs, “access to markets,” an end to illegal immigration and shared prosperity. Workers heard “access to markets” and assumed that meant access to consumers. Businesses heard “access to markets” and they knew it meant access to producers with cheap labor and no obligation to comply with health, safety or environmental rules. Simply put, this dog won’t hunt.
We need a new trade policy. No country in the world is pure free-trade or pure protectionist. Every country has an industrial policy. We need an industrial policy.
When you find yourself at the bottom of a deep hole, stop digging.
– Stan Sorscher, Seattle
April 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM
Allowing trucks fuels drug trade
Editorials of The Seattle Times and Yakima Herald made a similar argument about allowing Mexican trucks to freely enter this country ["Banning Mexican trucks harms Washington," Opinion, March 23].
Besides referencing questionable statistics about Mexican truck safety, both editorials essentially ignored the fact that since the 1990s, the United States and other countries began to focus drug surveillance and interdiction efforts along the corridor skirting Mexico, and as a consequence, the flow of U.S.-bound drugs was forced into Mexico, which remains the main transshipment route for the overwhelming majority of cocaine entering the United States. This has helped spark widespread drug wars, threatens our Southern border and fuels gang activity here in Seattle.
Apparently, The Times is more concerned with the price of pears in Yakima than it is in facilitating the drug and smuggling trade of Mexico.
– Richard Pelto, Kenmore
March 24, 2009 at 2:44 PM
Tell the whole story
The Associated Press
Editor, The Times:
Your editorial “Banning Mexican trucks harms Washington” [Times, Opinion, March 23] does not tell the story completely or correctly. The idea of having Mexican trucks cross the border freely is an issue because Mexican trucks do not meet U.S. trucking standards.
U.S. trucking interests bought the Mexican trucking firms as an opportunity to reduce their costs by undercutting American trucking labor and putting Americans out of work. Why we would want to do that, especially now?
The use of such trucks was opposed strenuously by the states that border Mexico because the Mexican trucks are substandard in ways that are not only unsafe but damage the roads they ride on. States pay for the maintenance of those roads but get no benefit from the lower costs of trucking. Indeed, states lose revenue because those trucks don’t pay state taxes.
Lose state tax money and increase the cost of road maintenance? Why would we want to do that?
– Leonard David Goodisman, Bothell
The trucks are not the same
Let me correct your statement that “Mexican trucks are the same sort as used in America.” They are the same brands, but they — for the greatest part — are not the “same sort.”
American-based trucks get regular safety checks, maintenance and repairs. The trucks running the — and I use the word loosely – “highways” of Mexico are beat up, abused, seldom get any maintenance and are basically worn out. They are driven by drivers who generally speak little or no English, read little or no English — such as on road signs — and have little or no knowledge of, or regard for, laws that govern trucking in the United States.
We need to maintain the old rules where cargo was handed off at the borders. The trucking business is tough enough in America to make a living. We don’t need to be giving it away.
– Richard Quint, Lake Stevens
The editorial is right on. However, to say that “some people” benefit from the Mexican trucking ban is disingenuous.
Why don’t you state the facts, that the ban was enacted to please the Teamsters union.
This is known as payback time!
– Norman R. Schultz, Kirkland
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