Thanks to you and all your hard work, Fast Track was blocked in the House, last week, Friday (June 12). The House listened to your calls, read your emails, got your message and voted down the Fast Track package – a major blow to the corporate backers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership!

But is Fast Track really dead?

While Fast Track was given a fatal blow on Friday, Obama and Republican backers are doing everything possible to revive this corporate backed bill and to keep the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on (fast) track.

The proponents of fast tracking the TPP will not give up. A re-vote to reverse last week’s win is already in the works. The fight to stop the TPP is far from over. We must continue to remind our representatives to vote no on fast tracking the TPP.

We invite you to take a moment to read a recent post by Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley, in the Huffington Post that underscores why Congress is having such a hard time passing Fast Track.

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Nearly Dead

By Robert Reich
Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley; author, ‘Beyond Outrage’

How can it be that the largest pending trade deal in history — a deal backed both by a Democratic president and Republican leaders in Congress — is nearly dead?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership may yet squeak through Congress but its near-death experience offers an important lesson.

It’s not that labor unions have regained political power (union membership continues to dwindle and large corporations have more clout in Washington than ever) or that the President is especially weak (no president can pull off a major deal like this if the public isn’t behind him).

The biggest lesson is most Americans no longer support free trade.

It used to be an article of faith that trade was good for America.

Economic theory told us so: Trade allows nations to specialize in what they do best, thereby fueling growth. And growth, we were told, is good for everyone.

But such arguments are less persuasive in this era of staggering inequality.

For decades almost all the gains from growth have been going to a small sliver of Americans at the top – while most peoples’ wages have stagnated, adjusted for inflation.

Economists point to overall benefits from expanded trade. All of us gain access to cheaper goods and services.
But in recent years the biggest gains from trade have gone to investors and executives, while the burdens have fallen disproportionately on those in the middle and below who have lost good-paying jobs.

So even though everyone gains from trade, the biggest winners are at the top. And as the top keeps moving higher compared to most of the rest of us, the vast majority feels relatively worse off.

To illustrate the point, consider a simple game I conduct with my students. I have them split up into pairs and ask them to imagine I’m giving $1,000 to one member of each pair.

I tell them the recipients can keep some of the money only on condition they reach a deal with their partner on how it’s to be divided up. They have to offer their partner a portion of the $1,000, and their partner must either accept or decline. If the partner declines, neither of them gets a penny.

You might think many recipients of the imaginary $1,000 would offer their partner one dollar, which the partner would gladly accept. After all, a dollar is better than nothing. Everyone is better off.

But that’s not what happens. Most partners decline any offer under $250 – even though that means neither of them gets anything.

This game, and variations of it, have been played by social scientists thousands of times with different groups and pairings, and with remarkably similar results.

A far bigger version of the game is being played on the national stage as a relative handful of Americans receive ever-larger slices of the total national income while most Americans, working harder than ever, receive smaller ones.

And just as in the simulations, those receiving the smaller slices are starting to say “no deal.”

Some might attribute this response to envy or spite. But when I ask my students why they refused to accept anything less than $250 and thereby risked getting nothing at all, they say it’s worth the price of avoiding unfairness.

Remember, I gave out the $1,000 arbitrarily. The initial recipients didn’t have to work for it or be outstanding in any way.

When a game seems arbitrary, people are often willing to sacrifice gains for themselves in order to prevent others from walking away with far more – a result that strikes them as inherently wrong.

The American economy looks increasingly arbitrary, as CEOs of big firms now rake in 300 times more than the wages of average workers, while two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.

Some of my students who refused anything less than $250 also say they feared allowing the initial recipient to keep a disproportionately large share would give him the power to rig the game even more in the future.
Here again, America’s real-life distributional game is analogous, as a few at the top gain increasing political power to alter the rules of the game to their advantage.

If the American economy continues to create a few big winners and many who feel like losers by comparison, opposition to free trade won’t be the only casualty.

Losers are likely to find many other ways to say “no deal.”

TPPlogo11-300x238This Call to Action comes from the Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC). CTC is a national coalition whose members include national regional, state, and city-based coalitions, organizations, and individual activists throughout the United States. Global Exchange is a member of CTC and a sponsor of this call to action.

In dozens of countries across the globe, groups are preparing for the April 18th Global Day of Action Against Unfair Trade. This particular call is for communities in the United States to join together in action that day to help derail Fast Track legislation that would enable the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other corporate power grabs disguised as trade agreements to be rushed through Congress.

The latest rumor is that Fast Track legislation could be re-introduced the week of April 13th (something many are working hard to prevent!). If we don’t detail Fast Track, the TPP and other pending pacts would be rubber-stamped, with potentially devastating consequences for working people, family farmers, indigenous peoples, small businesses and the environment in the United States and around the globe. Stopping Fast Track is the single most important contribution those in the United States can make to ending corporate trade agreements that threaten to:

  • Destroy livelihoods and accelerate the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions
  • Further commodify agriculture, trample food sovereignty, hurt small farmers and contribute to forced migration
  • Enable new corporate attacks on democratically-enacted environmental and consumer protections
  • Undermine global economic stability by prohibiting effective regulation of financial markets
  • Reduce access to life-saving generic medications, increase the cost of prescriptions and restrict freedom on the Internet

TPPgroupThe threats that existing “Fast Tracked” trade agreements have already cost our communities, and the additional threats that new pacts pose, must be both acknowledged and resisted. We also need to spread the word that when people have come together across issue areas and geographic borders, we have defeated similar corporate power grabs like the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the Millennial Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and even past attempts at Fast Track — as recently as 2014.

By acting together, we will do so again now.



Please attend — or, ideally, organize — a demonstration, door-to-door canvass or educational event in your community on or around Saturday, April 18th calling on your Members of Congress to oppose Fast Track. Any action or event organized within a week of that date will be cross-promoted as part of this call.

Receive Updates on the Day of Action (and personally endorse the call to action if interested)

Promote an Action or Event You’ve Organized in Your Community (and be listed as a point of contact)

List Your Organization as Endorsing the Fast Track Day of Action (for organizational representatives only)

TPPlogo11-300x238Here’s what you need to know – the Obama administration still has sights set on completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest treaty of its kind, with secret text, closed door negotiations and a yes/no vote in Congress, without debate or discussion. We can prevent this, and we must be prepared to act this November.

A Summary of Recent TPP Negotiations – Ottawa to Hanoi
The failed attempt to have Fast Track (or TPA – Trade Promotion Authority) ended in the spring session of Congress, but has not stopped rounds of discussions between country and corporate negotiators through the summer.

Eight days of talks occurred in Ottawa, Canada in early July. While certain concessions were reached dealing with trade in services and intellectual property, agreements between the U.S. and Japan stalled, with Japan seeking exclusion of sensitive agricultural products (rice, wheat, sugar, dairy, beef and pork) from the TPP.

Negotiators met for another ten days of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, which concluded (sadly for us, those opposing the TPP) with optimistic messaging from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). In a statement released, it announced,

“Having reduced the number of outstanding issues, the United States and the other 11 TPP countries share a commitment to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible, including both on the text and market access packages.”

However, not all the reports our of the Hanoi round were as rosy, with others stating only ‘limited progress’ was achieved.

Additionally, Japan’s deputy chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiroshi Oe said, “We were not able to make as much progress as we had expected,” after leaving a working-level meeting with Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler in Tokyo.

Each and every stalled round of negotiations is good news for us, giving us more time to mobilize to stop the TPP from passing!

The November Push
While no ‘next’ TPP negotiating meeting has been officially announced, the focus is clearly on November when leaders of TPP countries will gather for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit taking place in China from Nov. 10-11, the East Asia Summit taking place in Myanmar during the week of Nov. 9, and the G20 leaders’ summit taking place Nov. 15-16 in Australia.

President Obama, the USTR and Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee have referred to these November meetings as places where side TPP negotiations can take place.

Also on deck for November, in the United States Congress, is the likely re-introduction of a version of Fast Track (TPA) – with hopes that when TPP text negotiations conclude there will be swift federal approval of the treaty. Both Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden and Speaker of the House John Boenher have stated that they intend to prioritize TPA during the Lame Duck session.

On September 10, over 600 organizations, including Global Exchange, signed and delivered a letter  to the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen Wyden, to register dissent with the Fast Track model and lay out provisions for “a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements that provides for more congressional and public accountability.”

Meanwhile, in Berkeley, CA, on September 9, the Berkeley City Council passed the Berkeley Resolution to Protect Democracy and the Public Interest from TAFTA & TPP Trade Agreements. The resolution declares Berkeley to be a TPP and TAFTA Free Zone. Berkeley will not recognize trade provisions and tribunal rulings related to these agreements. Specifically, it states:

“to every extent allowable by law, rules which do not promote the interests of workers, protect the environment, and improve the quality of life in all participating countries and which were negotiated without transparency as well as meaningful congressional and public input, and related tribunals’ rulings, will not be recognized.”

*The TAFTA is the TransAtlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also currently under negotiation the is a proposal to create a trans-atlantic free-trade area covering Europe and North America. Such proposals have been made since the 1990s and since 2013 an agreement between the United States and European Union has been under negotiation: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Once complete, if combined with free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico and the European Free Trade Association it could form a free trade area covering a large portion of the two continents.


Defeating the TPP depends on taking action this fall. Once the mid-term elections are over, things are expected to move fast. Stay up-to-date by joining Global Exchange’s News and Action email list for updates and action alerts.

Call your Representative’s office and leave a message urging them to oppose Fast Track in any form. The Congressional switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.

Join the Week of Action November 8-14. We’ll keep you up to date, also check here.

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 presetThis Top Ten list was created by Public Citizen and released on May 19, 2014, on the eve of a May 19-20 ministerial-level meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Highlighting the myriad outstanding TPP issues”, Public Citizen critiqued the “twenty-one multilateral TPP meetings since [the] ‘final’ August 2013 Brunei Negotiating Round, all without even a façade of stakeholder input process.”

Take action now to stop the TPP by telling your Congressperson to say No to Fast Track.

This is a re-post of ‘Top 10 Signs That Obama Administration Should Call It Quits on Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations’ with credit to Public Citizen.

While 600 official U.S. trade advisors, mainly comprised of corporate representatives, have continued to obtain information and give input on TPP negotiations, the last opportunity for official “stakeholder” input into the TPP took place August 24–31, 2013, during the 19th round of negotiations in Brunei. However, heads of state, negotiators and ministers have continued to meet in an attempt to finalize a TPP. Without even the pretense of providing opportunities for civil society to engage in the process, in the past nine months, TPP countries have had at least one heads-of-state summit, two ministerials, four meetings of chief negotiators, 14 so-called “intersessionals,” four Obama bilateral heads of state meetings and endless U.S.-Japan bilateral negotiations and ministerials. And these are only the meetings that have been reported.

TPPpic1Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to use large sums of taxpayer money to push negotiations to obtain a TPP agenda favored by corporate interests that remains stalled in the face of growing opposition in the United States and throughout TPP countries. The U.S. government was the official host of the Vietnam meeting this week and will be the official host of the upcoming ministerial meeting in Singapore.

Following are the top 10 indicators of why the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has decided to tamp down expectations once again for a negotiation that has supposedly been in an “end game” since last year:

  1. U.S. and Japanese officials have offered conflicting versions of the outcomes of their bilateral “breakthrough”-but-not-a-deal non-deal from Obama’s Japan visit when briefing their TPP colleagues. Indeed, Japan was among the countries arguing that the state of U.S.-Japan market access negotiations was not sufficiently advanced to merit another TPP ministerial meeting.
  2. An LDP bloc in Japan’s Diet adopted another resolution last week, while TPP chief negotiators met in Vietnam, reiterating the ruling party’s requirement that the TPP must protect a list of “sacred” agricultural commodities. The Japanese parliamentary action by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s own political party, making clear it will not support a TPP that zeroes out agricultural tariffs, is seen as a direct response to U.S. congressional and agribusiness statements that only a TPP that does so is politically acceptable.
  3. Vietnam’s former trade minister, who is a current senior advisor on TPP negotiations, recently declared that Vietnam would not accept a TPP requirement that workers be allowed to establish independent labor unions. Former Minister Truong Dinh Tuyen said Vietnam instead would accept a compromise that devolved some power to local unions.
  4. U.S. trade officials announced that Japan would advance market access talks with other TPP nations at the Vietnam lead negotiators meeting and that this was a sign of a new stage in negotiations – except that is not what Japan intended or did. Other countries are unlikely to even consider high-stakes tradeoffs relating to U.S. demands that could raise drug prices, extend the scope of investor-state dispute liability, limit financial regulation, discipline state-owned enterprises, and enforce labor and environmental standards without knowing what prospective market access opportunities might be forthcoming.
  5. On May 1, the Sultan of Brunei implemented a new Sharia-law-based penal code that calls for jail terms for the wearing of immodest clothing, pregnancies outside marriage and abortion, with death by stoning for adulterers, gays and lesbians to be phased in later. The move prompted new U.S. constituencies to join the anti-TPP effort.
  6. The USTR’s concern that the optics of not having a TPP ministerial when all of the countries’ trade ministers are together for a pre-scheduled APEC meeting overcomes opposition by other TPP nations to meeting when there is nothing ready for ministers to decide. Thus, the announcement of a “check-in” ministerial, which ministers from at least three TPP nations do not plan to attend.
  7. Japanese officials or press are creating a series of red herring stories. Reports of near-deals on intellectual property, new U.S. proposals and more do not relate to what happened on the ground in Vietnam. Indeed, the Japanese press has run a series of follow-up stories speculating about who is generating the misdirects and why. There is no indication that key areas of controversy that existed in previous ministerials in the areas of intellectual property, investment, environment, labor, state-owned enterprises and more are much closer to resolution, even after the expense of the past months of negotiations. The U.S. ambassador to Malaysia recently expressed hope that the deal might be concluded by 2017.
  8. The USTR continues to avoid raising currency issues at chiefs or ministerial levels, even though it is increasingly clear that a TPP without enforceable currency rules is dead on arrival in the U.S. Congress. If negotiations were nearing a final deal, this issue would have to be raised; Congress’ outspoken position has made clear to the other TPP nations that either this issue will be raised in negotiations or it will be raised later as an additional demand after ‘final’ concessions have been made, as was seen in the Korea Free Trade Agreement renegotiation four years after signing.
  9. StoptheTPPsmallThe prospect of passage of any form of trade authority in 2014 is dimming. Indeed, some congressional Fast Track proponents are already talking about the prospect that President Barack Obama may never obtain trade authority, so they are setting their sights on 2017. As the other TPP countries recognize the lack of congressional support for Fast Track and TPP, their willingness to make U.S.-negotiator-demanded concessions on issues with high political costs at home also dims.
  10. In April, Chile’s Trade Ministry under recently elected President Michelle Bachelet confirmed that it is conducting a comprehensive review of the scope of the TPP and what its impact could be for Chile, noting that it is initiating a process of transparency and openness in the negotiations to include civil society input into their review. The website states, “We consider that there are many issues that are still open, the negotiation still has a ways to go.”

TPPgroupOver the past week, there has been a massive positive shift in the conversation around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a secretive trade deal involving 12 countries across the globe with the potential to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in history, with profound negative consequences for social, environmental, and economic justice, as well as basic human rights throughout the world.

Your voice has been heard! 174 House Representatives have committed to vote no on Fast Track. Fast Track would limit Congress’ right to review, amend and debate the TPP, when U.S. elected officials should be scrutinizing every one of its provisions. Bipartisan support is rare in Washington these days, and it’s inspiring to see both sides of the aisle united in opposition to the TPP.

This all happened in the midst of WikiLeaks (founded by Global Exchange 2013 People’s Choice Honoree Julian Assange) revealing the Intellectual Property chapter of the TPP to the world. For a deeper analysis, check out Public Citizen.

These breakthroughs on the TPP are due in no small part to the massive outpouring of public opposition. Our message is getting through, but it’s not time for the victory party just yet – U.S. trade negotiators are doing everything in their power to ram this disastrous trade deal through.

We can’t let that happen.


  • Contact your Congressperson and tell them you want a FAIR trade agreement that recognizes social, environmental and economic justice, as well as basic human rights throughout the world. Say NO to Fast Track.
  • Already contacted your Congressperson? Urge your friends to reach out to theirs. Reach out to them via Facebook and Twitter.

TPP-TuesdayAs another (the 18th) round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) begin this week in Malaysia, the clock is ticking towards completion of the text (still being kept secret from civil society).

The TPP is poised to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history, with profound negative consequences for social, environmental and economic justice, as well as basic human rights throughout the world.

Negotiations on this monstrous pact started about three years ago, but there is still very little public knowledge about what it is and the threats it poses. The TPP’s architects are purposefully trying to keep the agreement’s potential impacts on jobs, climate regulations, Internet freedom, food safety, indigenous sovereignty and more hidden in the shadows.

It’s time to take a step and organize an action to resist the TPP this summer! Communities around the world have already organized their own actions and we’re encouraging you to join #TPPTuesday and organize and event to bring more awareness to your community (it does not have to be on a Tuesday!).

Sign up to organize your action against the TPP!photo(1)

Then the #TPPTuesday Social Media Action Team will promote your action and log it in the growing list of actions that will happen this summer. Check out what we did a few weeks ago at Global Exchange when we heard the TPP negotiators were in San Francisco, CA.

Your #TPPTuesday action can range in complexity. To get you started, here are some TPP action ideas to get you inspired:

* Pack up a Congress member’s or mid-level Executive’s office and ship it overseas;
* Hold a “billionaires for free trade” event supporting some free trade promoter;
Hold a funeral (for workers, jobs, the environment, democracy, etc.);
* Have a “make the link” action where you build a paper chain out of petitions, stapling it together in a corporate or Congressional office;
Picket politicians’ fundraiser;
Tape stuff to a politician or corporation’s door;
* Hold a “die-in”;
* Say “bon voyage” to jobs;
* Deliver a cake with a message/photo on it;
* Have a frog puppet explain the issue;
* Go door-to-door in your neighborhood warning neighbors about the TPP;
* Hold a candle-light vigil;
* Get a couple friends together and take a photo holding up an anti-TPP sign in front of a corporate office.

Inspired? Sign up to organize your action against the TPP!

StoptheTPPsmallJoin us to Break the Silence on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  

Sign up here to join the #TPPTuesday Social Media Action Team an online effort to promote and expand the growing movement against the next “NAFTA on steroids”.

The TPP is poised to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history, with profound negative consequences for social, environmental and economic justice, as well as basic human rights throughout the world.

Negotiations on this monstrous pact started about three years ago, but there is still very little public knowledge about what it is and the threats it poses. The TPP’s architects are purposefully trying to keep the agreement’s potential impacts on jobs, climate regulations, Internet freedom, food safety, indigenous sovereignty and more hidden in the shadows.

By joining the new #TPPTuesday Social Media Action Committee you can help drag the TPP into the light of day. You will receive a weekly email with links to articles, photos, videos and action alerts from and about the growing cross-border movement to stop the TPP — which you can then pick and choose from to share with your social network over Twitter, Facebook, email and more.

This is one of the biggest issues of our time, but a lot of people don’t know about it yet. Let’s raise awareness about the TPP and the potentially disastrous effects it may have on people all over the world!

Take-ActionPlease sign up to be part of the #TPPTuesday Social Media Action Committee today.

Find out more about the TPP by visiting: and

Sign the petition to halt TPP negotiations.


TPP headNews broke late last week in a few subscription-only, on-line, trade journals that while the next full round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are slated to take place in Malaysia in mid-July, “the negotiating group on rules of origin will meet June 23-29 in San Francisco, according to Peruvian government resolutions published on June 16 and 17 in the country’s official newspaper.”

Often occurring under the radar, intersessionals, meetings that take place between official TPP negotiations, are happening in advance of the session in Malaysia to try to keep the free trade talks on track for conclusion this fall. Last month, negotiators of the ever controversial investment chapter met in Vancouver and were challenged with a teach-in on TPP, a night-time light projection of anti-TPP messages and a protest organized by the TPPxBorder Network.


Protest projection in Vancouver B.C. June 2013

A  meeting in San Francisco on Rules of Origin? As Arthur Stamoulis from the Citizens Trade Campaign explains,

One of the least talked about chapters of the TPP is something called ‘Rules of Origin’. Rules of Origin are the standards that must be met in order for a product to be labeled “Made in the USA,” “Made in Brunei,” “Made in Vietnam” or wherever in order to qualify for the provisions set by the overall TPP Agreement.

There are different ways of evaluating a product’s origin, but one common way is by looking at the value of the parts that make up a finished product that’s to be exported. So, for example, if the Rule of Origin on cars is set at 50% — at least half of the parts in a finished automobile need to come from Japan in order to be labeled “Made in Japan” under the pact. If the Rule of Origin is only set at 30%, up to 70% of the parts can come from elsewhere and the car can still be labeled Japanese.

We thought that the Rules of Origin negotiators would like to hear from former sweatshop worker Chie Abad, who once suffered under an earlier version of these Rules of Origin in the U.S. protectorate, Siapan. Working for GAP, and other U.S. retailers through the SAKO garment factory, she sewed “Made in the USA” labels into clothing, yet enjoyed none of the worker protections which U.S. workers do. In fact, she was fired for attempting to organize a union. Again, Arthur explains how the TPP takes advantage of the experience Chie had, and make it worse,

Brand-name product companies, as well as retailers like Walmart and Target, want low Rules of Origin that enable them to source parts from wherever in the world they can get them for the cheapest price and then assemble them in low-wage TPP countries and still qualify for the zeroed-out tariff rates and quotas the TPP will provide. Often this means sourcing production wherever labor is the most exploited and environmental regulations the weakest.

Because the government of Vietnam, which promotes it’s country as a low-cost labor alternative to China, is siding with the major transnationals in pushing for much lower Rules of Origin than most other countries within the TPP negotiations, we’d heard that the Rules of Origin negotiations are very heated. Despite photos of friendly handshakes after the recent full round in Lima, Peru, countries are far from reaching agreement, and continued disagreement over the chapter possesses the potential to sink the entire pact.

We tried for days to contact the Rules of Origin negotiators, but with no luck. We called the top hotels in the city and found that not only did most people not know where the negotiatiors were meeting, they also didn’t know what the TPP is, so we decided to take to the streets and look ourselves (and do some public education at the same time!). Here’s what happened:


When we fight Free Trade agreements, we often struggle to make it ‘real’ for people. What does downward standards harmonization look like? What does unaccountable behind-closed-doors arbitration really mean? What impacts do corporate driven agreements have on public services? What links can be directly drawn between free trade and quality of life?

Devastatingly, as we follow, protest, monkey wrench and resist the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation round taking place in Lima, Peru this week, we have a concrete example. Free Trade looks like the 1,127 workers who perished in the sweatshops in the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh.

Since April 24, corporations have rushed to distance connections with the fugitive owner of the unsafe building, pledged compensation to the grieving families, and stepped up to act more responsibly. And while the negative PR from the disaster was enough to finally break European companies like H&M, Zara, Primark and Canadian grocery giant, Loblaws into signing a legally binding agreement to pay for third party safety inspections of their operations, the underlying cause of this, and other disasters, has yet to be challenged.

Across the world in countries like Bangladesh, companies operate to supply the North with cheap clothes made in sweatshops, made ‘competitive’ in the global market through corporate globalization.

Thanks to Free Trade agreements, companies pay workers less than a dollar a day (the workers in Rana Plaza were making $38 a month, an amount considered high – after it was raised following protests a year ago), make the right to organize illegal, ignore safety and environmental rights and sometimes bribe local officials to override local law to reap in billion dollar profits.

So, while the effort to rescue survivors and recover bodies from Rana Plaza now becomes an effort to clear and demolish the site, corporations like those that operated in Rana Plaza are, right now, lobbying for more Free Trade, for the TPP.

As the Lima round of TPP negotiations are underway (May 15-24) corporate interests are lobbying for more access to operate more sweatshops in Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The Citizen’s Trade Campaign factsheet called ‘What Corporations Want With the TPP‘ directly links corporate lobbying to disappear worker protections and rights in pursuit of cheaper manufacturing and higher profits. They say:

Many corporations are looking for ways reduce labor costs and undercut worker power in the United States, China and throughout the world. The TPP would grant corporations easier access to labor markets in countries such as Vietnam where workers are paid even less than Chinese sweatshop workers. Whether or not corporations decide to move their production to these lower-paid countries, the threat of moving there (or of being undercut by competitors who have already done so) can be used suppress employee compensation virtually anywhere in the world.

We cannot let the victims of Rana Plaza be forgotten. The U.S. retail giants like GAP and Walmart that have refused to sign the safety agreement must be pressured to do so. But the TPP is slated to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in the world, and if we don’t stop it from happening and demand fair trade, we will suffer more even disasters.

TAKE ACTION! (Action items updated on 5/21/2013):Take-Action

The following piece was originally posted by the Citizens Trade Coalition. Please stand with the growing coalition of organizations and people on 4 continents and say: #StopTPP!

599036_10152640068720613_1588745988_nTimed with the start of the next Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating round in Peru this May, communities throughout the Pacific Rim will be holding public assemblies to discuss the potential local impacts of the TPP and steps people can take together to prevent being saddled with a disastrous corporate trade deal.

Whether one wants to reverse the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions; expand access to life-saving generic medications; support indigenous rights; protect communities’ ability to combat global warming; or sustain family farms and defend food sovereignty, there is no shortage of reasons to act together on the TPP.

One of the first steps is self-education, community dialogue and local organizing.  Please attend one of the events already in the works in your community or help organize one yourself.  Learn more (about) the Days of Action below and at this international website.

How to Organize a Community Assembly about the TPP:

Corporate media isn’t giving the TPP the attention it deserves, so it is up to us to spread the word.  Organizing your own teach-in, town hall or community forum about the TPP is a great way to educate and mobilize your community about it.

Find a venue.  Union halls, churches, community centers and libraries are all great, free or low-cost venues.  Choose a venue that is convenient and familiar to the audience you’re seeking to reach.

Recruit speakers.  You know your audience and what messengers will move them.  Local labor, environmental and human rights organizations may be able to provide speakers — especially on the local impacts of past trade agreements such as NAFTA and the WTO — which you can supplement by speaking yourself about the TPP using the talking points found here.  You can also reach out to the points of contact listed in this toolkit for additional speaker suggestions.

Get cosponsors.  Ask trusted local organizations if you can list them as event cosponsors and if they will spread the word about your event to their membership.

Spend most of your time on turnout.  At minimum, create an email about the event that you circulate to as many people as you can — asking them to forward it to their lists.  Other turnout strategies include: creating a Facebook event page for the event; leafleting other events; posting flyers at the venue and elsewhere; phonebanking your friends and other phone lists; and putting an event listing in newspapers and newsletters.  Please also email and we may be able to help promote it.

Invite Members of Congress.  Consider inviting Members of Congress and their staff to attend your event.  If they show up, they will learn something — and even if they don’t, they’ll at least know that constituents are talking about the TPP.

Circulate a sign-in sheet.  Have a sign-in sheet for the event, and have a volunteer hit up everyone as they enter and/or circulate it on a clipboard as people are seated.  These are people who care about the TPP and you may want to communicate with them in the future.  Be sure to get their names, email addresses and phone numbers.

Include an action step.  Pass out copies of this fact sheet at the event, and have people call their U.S. Representative on their cell phone before they leave with a message urging the Congress member to oppose Fast Track for the TPP.  You can also circulate a poster-sized petition that you have people sign and then recruit volunteers to help deliver it to your local Congressional office; ask people (to) raise their hands if they can help bird-dog at an upcoming Congressional town hall; or break into small groups to plan other types of action.

Spread the word about what you learn.  Recruit someone to videotape your presenters and post the videos online.  You can share the videos with people who signed up on the sign-up sheet and encourage them to share them with friends who couldn’t attend and to post them on social media.  Also consider writing and circulating a press release about the event with short quotes about the TPP from each of your speakers.  You can send it out to both the corporate media and over listserves to help spread the word.

Materials for the Days of Action

A Sampling of TPP Events & Contacts

The main “Day of Action” is Saturday, May 11 — but you can organize an event any time.  Email us at if you want help promoting your local event.
The TPP & Obama’s Asian Pivot
May 31 – June 2
San Francisco, CA
Contact: Victor Menotti,
District of Columbia
TPP Briefing &  Strategy Discussion
Saturday, May 11 * Details TBA
Contact: Lacey Kohlmoos,
TPP Teach-in (@ World Fair Trade Day Festival)
Tuesday, May 7 * 3:00pm
Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington
Chicago, IL
Contact: Josh Wise,
TPP Teach-in & World Fair Trade Day Celebration
Saturday, May 11 * 12:00 – 4:00pm
Regla De Oro Gallery, 2743 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN
Contact: Josh Wise,
PDX People’s Assembly on the TPP
Saturday, May 11 * 1:00pm
First Unitarian Church, SW 12th Ave & Main St
Portland, OR
Contact: Elizabeth Swager,
Eugene/Springfield People’s Assembly on the TPP
Monday, April 29 * 6:00pm
AFSCME Bldg, 688 Charnelton St
Eugene, OR
Contact: Elizabeth Swager,
Jackson County People’s Assembly on the TPP
Sunday, April 28 * 4:30pm
At the Grass Shack Cafe, 205 Fern Valley Rd
Phoenix, OR (Exit 24 off I-5)
Contact: Elizabeth Swager,
Dawson TPP Workshop
Thursday, May 16 * Details TBA
Contact: Amy Conahan,
San Antonio TPP Event
Details TBA
Contact: Bob Cash,
TPP People’s Assembly Seattle
Saturday, May 11 * 2:00 – 5:00pm
Central Co-op, 1900 E Madison
Seattle, WA
Contact: Kristen Beifus,
TPP People’s Assembly Olympia
Date & Time TBA
906 Columbia Street SW
Olympia, WA
Contact: Kristen Beifus,
For events in Canada and beyond, please click here.