CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—October 5, 2015. Rep. Schakowsky released the following statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached in Atlanta this morning.
I am extremely disappointed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached in secret sessions this weekend. While I look forward to studying the specific language, I remain convinced that outline of the deal falls far short of the fair trade principles needed to improve the lives of workers, consumers and patients.
There are a number of problems with this agreement. The failure to address currency manipulation that puts our businesses at risk is a glaring omission. The creation of an Investor State Dispute Settlement process will allow corporations to challenge U.S. laws in an extra-judicial process. Unfair competition will still harm American workers and the lack of enforcement of labor standards means overseas workers still will not be protected against abusive practices.
I am particularly concerned about the pharmaceutical provisions in the agreement. I am deeply disturbed that our government stood alone in pushing for changes to existing trade laws to increase brand-name drug profits, block competition from generics and raise costs to consumers. We all want to promote innovation, but life-saving drugs won’t actually save lives if they are unaffordable and out of reach of those who need them.
Because the other TPP negotiators pushed back against the pressure from U.S. negotiators, there have been some improvements in the pharmaceutical provisions but the agreement still puts the lives of millions of patients around the world in danger. As I have said many times, we should be doing everything possible to make access to essential medicines more affordable, not more expensive.
The twelve nations meeting behind closed doors in Atlanta have reached an agreement, but that does not mean that that TPP Agreement will ever go into effect. Once its provisions are disclosed and subject to public review, I am convinced that the U.S. Congress will reject this deal and insist on a new agreement that promotes fair trade, not the interests of multinational corporations. I am committed to doing everything I can to make that happen.