Politico | 7 September 2016
TPP fallout continues
By Adam Behsudi
The list of groups coming out against the TPP as it currently stands continues to get longer, with two new organizations — Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America — writing letters to Congress on Tuesday urging lawmakers to state their opposition to the deal. Consumers Union is the advocacy branch of Consumer Reports, which has supported trade deals in the past. Consumer Federation of America is a coalition of 250 U.S. consumer organizations.
“While we recognize the benefits that can flow to consumers from international commerce, we are concerned that the TPP as currently negotiated would unduly risk undermining important safety, health, and other interests of consumers,” the letter reads.
In the letter — co-signed by Jean Halloran, the union’s director of food policy initiatives, and Thomas Gremillion, director of food policy for the federation — the groups said the TPP goes beyond previous trade pacts to allow parties to undermine regulations through the investor-state dispute settlement system, which they call a “fatal flaw” of the deal.
“There is no actual need, and therefore no justification, for including ISDS in this agreement,” they wrote. “And there is considerable risk of significant harm to the public.” You can read the full letter here.
ISDS TAKES BRUNT OF TPP OPPOSITION
It’s not just those two consumer groups that are pinning the majority of their TPP criticisms to the ISDS provision of the deal. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, an international group that is routinely critical of trade deals, earlier Tuesday listed ISDS as chief among reasons why the pact would undermine the current administration’s climate agenda as well as Paris climate goals.
Led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, more than 200 academics will release a letter today calling for Congress to reject TPP because of the ISDS clause. Warren, who has become one of the loudest opponents of the investor-state clause and filmed a video educating people on it, will today lead a conference call to announce the letter and explain how the current TPP text fails to address concerns about the clause.
In announcing the call, liberal groups also pointed out that ISDS was what initially pushed Tim Kaine, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, to take his stand against the TPP.