Bali, Indonesia -- This week, President Obama will hold a summit with the heads of state of the 11 other nations negotiating for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. The summit will take place on the sidelines of the 21st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. Despite the fact that there is no consensus on how the trade pact will protect workers rights and environmental safeguards, the heads of state are expected to announce major progress toward concluding a TPP deal after four years of contentious negotiations.
In response, Ilana Solomon, Director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, released the following statement:
"Don’t be fooled -- this is not the end game. Even though the public has been kept in the dark during most of the trade negotiation process, we’re certain there are a number of major issues still unresolved.
"The strong rules in the environment chapter proposed by U.S. Ambassador Froman are hotly contested by other countries, and there is no consensus whether the pact will make rules legally binding. That could mean more trade in illegally harvested timber and illegally taken wildlife, for example.
"Other parts of the agreement are just as distressing. The TPP will empower corporations to attack environmental laws and policies and will facilitate unchecked gas exports and the expansion of dirty and dangerous fracking.
"While governments continue to negotiate this pact behind closed doors, Congress will soon decide whether or not to fast track this and other trade agreements. Congress must not give up its right to ensure that the contents of trade agreements protect the public -- especially when an agreement is as expansive as the TPP.”
For more information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, see this Sierra Club fact sheet.
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.1 million members and supporters nationwide. In addition to creating opportunities for people of all ages, levels and locations to have meaningful outdoor experiences, the Sierra Club works to safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and litigation. For more information, visit http://www.sierraclub.org.