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Gov. Herbert Backs Fast-Track for Controversial Trade Agreement

PHOTO: The Trans-Pacific Partnership has broad opposition from the AFL-CIO and other organizations, but Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he supports it, along with a provision to limit debate in Congress about the massive international trade agreement. Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano.
PHOTO: The Trans-Pacific Partnership has broad opposition from the AFL-CIO and other organizations, but Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he supports it, along with a provision to limit debate in Congress about the massive international trade agreement. Photo courtesy Office of U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano.
June 10, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is calling on Congress to approve Trade Promotion Authority, also called "fast-track," for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Herbert and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sent a letter to Congress stressing that the TPP could boost their states' economies. But they may be in the minority. Dale Cox, who heads the Utah AFL-CIO, said fast-track would give President Obama the power to negotiate the massive trade deal between the United States and 11 other nations, while restricting Congress' ability to modify it.

"The fast-track bypasses Congress," he said. "When the trade deal is negotiated, it's done in secret, nobody knows what's in it, and the Congress can either vote 'yes' or 'no' - they can't make additions, deletions."

The House is preparing to vote on the fast-track proposal, which the Senate already passed. Earlier this month, several groups reportedly presented Congress with petitions containing about 2 million signatures opposing fast-track.

In his letter to Congress, Herbert said $1 billion in U.S. exports supports 5,000 jobs in America. However, Cox said previous international trade agreements have a history of killing jobs.

"My reaction to the governor is, 'I hope those 5,000 jobs materialize,' but, as with past trade agreements, it seems more jobs go offshore than come to American citizens," he said.

Cox said he believes the major problem with the TPP remains that the 1,200-page bill, involving 40 percent of the global economy, has been negotiated in secret, and very little is known about the details.

The Utah AFL-CIO's website is utahaflcio.org. Herbert's letter is online at utah.gov.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT