The 15th round of talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) started yesterday in Auckland, New Zealand. The TPP involves Pacific Rim countries including (obviously) New Zealand and the United States, but also Australia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam. Canada and Mexico have been invited as well.
Here's a shock: Negotiators were met with protests on the first day of talks.
Our Teamster representative brought with him a letter signed by 24 U.S. senators that supports strengthened labor rights and protections against outsourcing in the deal. Here's the IBT's statement about the letter:
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters led a coalition of fair trade advocates in helping to gain support for a bipartisan letter from Sen. Al Franken and 23 of his colleagues to President Obama about trade policy. The letter, released yesterday, expresses support for negotiating strengthened labor rights and protections against outsourcing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“We need to get our trade policy right so that it keeps good jobs in America and increases our exports,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.
“It should be crafted to maximize good job creation and market expansion while minimizing the incentives for further off-shoring of middle class jobs,” the letter said.
The letter urged that the deal:
- Maintains “Buy American” requirements;
- Requires workers’ rights to be protected and enforced;
- Includes safeguards against incentives for offshoring jobs and currency manipulation;
- Sets out strong rules of origin for TPP members;
- Ensures that state-owned and state-supported enterprises operate on a level playing field.
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa submitted comments to the U.S. Trade Representative last month outlining the criteria needed for the Teamsters to support the TPP.We'll keep you posted. Because the mainstream media is ignoring the story.