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Public Statements

Trans-Pacific Parntership

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DeFAZIO. I thank the Speaker.

About 27 miles away from here, secret negotiations are ongoing. A number of us have asked to be allowed to observe the negotiations because it will have a dramatic impact on the future of the United States of America and our economy, but no Member of Congress has been allowed into these negotiations. This is over something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It's essentially NAFTA for the whole Pacific Rim.

Now, imagine how well that's going to work. NAFTA, of course, has cost the U.S. hundreds of thousands of jobs in many industries.

Now, this is a new agreement, a new forum, the President has put his stamp on it, it is called a living agreement, meaning it's being negotiated among a small number of relatively small countries, but the U.S. is running the show. But later on, other countries, like Japan and China, can plug in.

We know very little about what's being negotiated because, again, the documents are all kept secret from Members of Congress. They have been shared, however, with 600 corporations who, at the click of a mouse, can access them through a secure site on-line. But yet no Member of Congress is allowed to see these documents, no one representing the American people.

Now, the problem is that we have had some leaks, and the analysis is if Japan is allowed to join, and the U.S. is trying to get Japan to join, we'll lose 90,000 automotive jobs immediately. This is yet another example of failed trade policy of the United States of America.

It is also rumored--again remember, no elected representative of the American people is allowed to view these documents which 600 U.S. corporations are allowed to review and annotate and make suggestions on--that it would have intellectual property restrictions that would far exceed those that were already rejected by the elected representatives of the American people, the House and the Senate, so-called SOPA and PIPA.

These intellectual property restrictions in this agreement, it is rumored, will far exceed those already rejected, yet they would be binding on the United States of America, again going around our elected representatives.

It is also rumored that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is seeking to roll back previous reforms that even George Bush negotiated in the U.S.-Peru FTA that enhanced access to affordable medicines. The pharmaceutical industry doesn't like inexpensive, affordable, life-saving medicines. That would be rolled back.

Further, it would allow drug companies to challenge the price formularies in Canada. Remember, U.S. citizens can buy drugs made by U.S. companies in the U.S. much more cheaply in Canada than here because the Canadian government negotiates on their behalf. It's rumored that this agreement would force Canada to raise their drug prices.

It is also rumored that it might actually prohibit the United States Government from negotiating or allowing under part D Medicare--pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are involved but the insurance companies can negotiate under authority of law lower drug prices. It may also prohibit the drug formulary for Medicaid which saves hundreds of millions and billions of dollars a year, and the VA, which provides our veterans with low-cost pharmaceuticals.

All of those things may be preempted by this Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Now, this is really an extraordinary thing that this is being done in secret and no Member of Congress is allowed to review it.

It has one chapter we know about, which is so egregious that Australia has said they have to have a total exemption. And the U.S. has said, sure, okay. We understand you want to protect your people. We'll let you do that, but we don't want to protect ours.

This is a little provision, similar to NAFTA, which gives corporations the power to challenge in foreign tribunals--not U.S. courts--our domestic laws that protect consumers and the environment. We would now give this authority to corporations, if China accesses to this, that are run by the Communist Government of China because they own many of the corporations in their country. The People's Liberation Army owns those corporations.

This is extraordinary. Six hundred corporations have access to this document, but no Member of Congress has access to this document, and yet this is the trade future. This is the 21st century trade agreement, we're told by this administration.

Further, the chief negotiator for the United States has said it's his greater desire that China become part of this because then China would be bound by these rules. Oh, yeah, I heard that before. We used to vote annually on China's trade performance and we had a stick called ``most-favored-nation status.'' When we gave up that stick--I voted against it--we gave them permanent most-favored-nation status, then they could join the World Trade Organization. But they said, don't worry, now they'll have to follow the rules. Guess what? They don't. And if they get in this agreement, they won't follow the rules either.

Kiss our economy good-bye if this secret agreement goes through.


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