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TPP Could Hurt NM Workers, Says Labor Leader

PHOTO: Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say the proposed trade pact is being negotiated in secret. Some say the pact has a broad ranging impact on international trade, and that fast-tracking the agreement is a bad idea. Photo credit whitehouse.gov
PHOTO: Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership say the proposed trade pact is being negotiated in secret. Some say the pact has a broad ranging impact on international trade, and that fast-tracking the agreement is a bad idea. Photo credit whitehouse.gov
March 9, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. – After five years of negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is getting closer to being presented to Congress – and labor, manufacturing and government watchdog groups maintain the results could be disastrous.

The TPP is a massive international trade agreement between the United States and 11 other nations.

Jon Hendry, president of the New Mexico Federation of Labor, says the major concerns are that the negotiations have been secret, and the president wants to fast track the deal.

"They've already decided that this is good,” Hendry states. “They have a preconceived notion this is good, trying to convince us that they cut a good deal by not letting us see it – 'Don't worry about it, it's a good deal. You don't need to read it.'"

If fast-track authority were approved, Congress would have to vote on the 1,200-page bill with limited debate, and without the ability to make amendments.

Supporters argue fast track gives the president leeway in negotiations.

But because the agreement covers trade deals that represent about 40 percent of the global economy, Hendry says more transparency is critical.

He says the only things known about the proposal have come out through leaks, including a section that would extend the patents on pharmaceuticals.

"The leaks that have come out are not good,” he maintains. “More giveaways to big pharma, more giveaways to corporations that ship jobs overseas, that's what's been leaking out, so, our assumption is they're trying to run this through because the stuff in their is not good."

Supporters say the agreement will be a boon to international trade, but opponents counter that it will undercut local jobs and manufacturing.



Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM