​No More Trade Agreements Until the Current Ones are Enforced

President Obama and Members of Congress

The House will soon vote on the Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). Also known as “Fast Track,” the legislation was pushed hard by President Obama to ease the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement with 12 countries that account for nearly 40% of the global economy.

President Obama has repeatedly stated that the TPP is “the most progressive trade bill in history” due to its “higher labor standards, higher environmental standards,” and “new tools to hold countries accountable.” We have no way to verify his claims, though, because he is keeping the language classified so nobody can see what’s really in it. And the history of previous trade agreements betrays a harsh truth:every president promises that the new trade agreements will have better labor standards, but the actual enforcement of labor provisions lags far behind the promises.

A new report just issued by Sen. Warren’s office shows that labor standards in trade agreements are almost never enforced.

In a classic example, it was recently revealed that Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – in direct violation of US trade policy – have completely outlawed labor unions and are among the worst countries in the world in terms of human trafficking. And in Columbia, where we just signed a new trade agreement, union leaders are still being murdered at an alarming rate. These violations are unacceptable.

We have no idea if the TPP will have tough,new labor, environmental, and human rights standards, but frankly the odds are against it. Even if these standards are included, they will mean nothing if they aren't enforced.

It is time to tell President Obama and Congress: “No new trade agreements until the U.S. government starts enforcing current trade agreement standards on labor, human rights, and the environment.”

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To: President Obama and Members of Congress
From: [Your Name]

No new trade agreements until the US government starts enforcing current trade agreement standards on labor and human rights and the environment.