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Congressional Concerns about TPP and NZ

June 18, 2014

New Zealand PM’s Visit to U.S. Capital Comes Amid Congressional Concerns about TPP

Note: This week, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Abbott meets President Barack Obama in Washington. Among topics to be discussed are the stalled negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The controversial “free trade” agreement, which includes the United States, New Zealand and 10 other nations, was to have been completed in 2013.

As opposition to TPP has grown in the United States, the Congress has refused to grant Obama Fast Track trade authority for the pact. Following are statements on the TPP from Democratic and Republican members of

Congress:
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Contact: Sara Lonardo (202) 225-3661 or Sara.Lonardo@mail.house.gov

“The majority of Americans are tired of flawed trade deals that ship jobs overseas and weaken consumer protections. Congress has no appetite to provide the Administration with fast track authority to ram through another bad trade deal that only expands the failed trade policies
of the past. Instead of fast tracking another bad trade deal, we should be focused on policies that support the middle class and provide better opportunities for those striving to join the middle class.

The TPP will include binding obligations that touch upon a wide swath of policy matters [constitutionally] under the authority of Congress. Beyond traditional tariff issues, these include policies related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards; natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, competition, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies; as well as financial, healthcare, energy, e-commerce, telecommunications and other service sector regulations.”

– DeLauro is part of the House Democratic leadership. She co-chairs the House Steering and Policy Committee. She leads a group of House members working on TPP.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky Jr. (D-Ill.)

Contact: Andrew Goczkowski (202) 225-2111 or Andrew.Goczkowski@mail.house.gov

On U.S. drug companies that hope to weaken the authority of price-governing entities such as

Pharmac: “One of my trade priorities is to make sure that intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies don’t trump affordable access to life-saving medicines. We should not protect drug company profits if it means pricing life-saving medications out of reach of millions of children and adults.”

– Schakowsky is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. She is among a group of representatives that sent the White House a letter urging that access to affordable health care in member states be among U.S. demands at the TPP negotiations.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)

Contact Leslie Tisdale (202) 225-4865 or Leslie.Tisdale@mail.house.gov

On the investor-state system: “Though we have no dispute resolution (process) with Australia, we haven’t had any problem. There is a concern in some countries that their courts systems are not sufficiently mature to provide protection to U.S. investors to the degree that they would receive in the United States. With foreign tobacco giants attempting to undermine Australian health initiatives, I am surprised that Australia would contemplate abandoning

an open, well-established judicial system in favor of a narrow investor dispute resolution mechanism that advantages foreign investors.”

– Doggett is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Previously, he was a Texas state Supreme Court justice and led the effort to enact the “Doggett amendment,” which forbids U.S. trade agreements from promoting the export of tobacco.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.)

Contact: Eric Walker (202) 225-2888 or Eric.Walker@mail.house.gov

“Our constituents did not send us to Washington to send their jobs overseas, and Congress will not be a rubber stamp for TPP — another flawed ‘free’ trade deal. The USTR keeps citing to Congress increases in exports from past trade deals, but fails to mention the larger increases in imports, exploding trade deficits and related job losses. When the full picture and facts are viewed, it’s clear that our trade model is deeply flawed and that it is imperative that Congress not go along with another job-killing trade agreement.”

– Slaughter is ranking member of the House Rules Committee and a member of the

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

ENDS

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