Thursday, September 5, 2013

TPP’s effect on tobacco, trade deficits is reason enough to stop deal

Facts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continued to dribble out and they’re not good. The latest on the secret Pacific Rim trade pact is the U.S. backs watered-down language about tobacco that would allow the scourge of smoking to continue to spread globally.

As it stands, the TPP will cost U.S. jobs, put Americans’ health at risk, hurt the environment and threaten Internet freedom. But now the Obama administration is backing away from tobacco tariffs that would keep cigarette costs high and reduce the health risks of smoking. Public health officials are rightfully angry.
The Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health noted that instead of making it easier for corporations to sell tobacco, the U.S. should be making it harder:
U.S. laws prohibit the U.S. from using trade agreements to promote the sale or export of tobacco products. But the U.S proposes to eliminate tariffs on tobacco for TPP countries, which would mean cheaper prices for cigarettes, and increased consumption and use, especially among younger people.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration and some members of Congress want to plow ahead and vote on the TPP without debating its merits. No doubt multinational corporations are working hard to persuade them that the deal is good for America. It really isn’t.
Just look with what’s happening with trade between the U.S. and China. New numbers show that America’s trade deficit with China reached a record $30.1 billion in July, up 13.3 percent.  Behind that number are lost jobs – good manufacturing jobs.  More jobs are likely to be lost under the TPP. That’s why the deal can’t just be pushed through Congress.
Top TPP negotiators from the U.S. and 11 other involved nations are expected to meet Sept. 18-21 in Washington to continue talks. American trade negotiators must oppose unfair trade rules that threaten jobs and health. 
The U.S. government needs to remember that most citizens support trade, but they don't support trading well-paying American jobs and safe American products for lost jobs, lower wages and products that make our families sick.