TO THE WASHINGTON STATE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION:
We, the undersigned small businesses, ask you to vote no on the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. This agreement recognizes the interests of large corporations, while ignoring the interests of small businesses, the environment and our democracy.
The TPP will lead to:
LAWSUITS BY MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS CHALLENGING US LAWS AND REGULATIONS THAT PROTECT SMALL BUSINESSES: Under the Investor State Dispute Settlement system (ISDS) foreign corporations can challenge our laws and regulations in unaccountable foreign trade tribunals when they believe a law will hurt their profits. Limitations on the sizes of “big box” stores, contract preferences for small businesses, and other policies designed to create livable communities could be attacked under the ISDS system.
INSUFFICIENT PROTECTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES FROM STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES: The TPP fails to adequately protect small businesses from the predatory tactics of foreign state-owned and state subsidized companies. While the TPP contains some limited provisions to address this concern, these provisions are insufficient to level the playing field.
GUTTING OF BUY AMERICAN POLICIES: Under US “Buy American” laws, most federal government purchases of goods are from American firms, unless a product is not made here or the US product is much more expensive. However, the TPP will require the US government to give equal treatment to Vietnamese, Malaysian and other firms from TPP countries -- even when Buy American rules apply.
LIMITATIONS ON SMALL BUSINESS FOOD LABELING: Many small businesses benefit from their ability to provide information about the source of food products they sell. However, the TPP would impose limits on such labeling and allow them to be challenged as trade barriers. The TPP would also endanger labels identifying genetically modified foods and labels identifying how food was produced. Already under the WTO, the U.S. "dolphin-safe" tuna fish label and our country-of-origin meat labels have been successfully attacked by other countries.
OFF- SHORING OF JOBS: As noted by economist Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute, the Korea Free Trade Agreement cost the US more than 75,000 jobs and NAFTA cost the US almost 683,000 jobs. None of the provisions of the TPP (modeled after the Korean trade agreement) suggest a different result.
LOWER WAGES: Economist Robert Scott also points to the fact that past US free trade agreements have caused trade deficits, thereby leading to lower wages, as was the case with NAFTA and the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. Again, nothing in the TPP suggests a different outcome.
As noted by Jeff Milchen of the American Independent Business Alliance, “The battle over the TPP should not be over-simplified as being business v democracy. It’s a battle of the largest global corporations and their mouthpieces against the rest of us, including the overwhelming majority of America’s small businesses.”