controversy over trade agreements

In the face of well-stated concerns, you still endorse trade measure?

Re “Pacific, EU trade deals need up-or-down votes” (Editorial, Jan. 19): Your support of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 is both wrong and perplexing. This measure would reinforce and clarify the process by which trade agreements have been made — whereby the president has been allowed to negotiate trade treaties, and Congress has voted on these treaties quickly, or fast-tracked them.

Your editorial outlines quite a number of reasons why this deal is bad for the people of the countries involved. Nonetheless, you endorse the measure because, without it, the two big trade deals currently in the works would be unwieldy and time-consuming to negotiate.


Among the numerous concerns acknowledged in the editorial are: secrecy, too little attention to public health and safety, and disproportionate representation of corporations over the general population.

Given the health and safety risks caused by the working conditions and practices of many large corporations, it is exponentially more risky to institute a treaty that would allow such corporations to sue nations whose public health and safety laws could be considered violations of free trade. Imagine if the countries that have significantly reduced cigarette smoking and the marketing of tobacco products to young people were sued by the tobacco industry for adhering to policies that clearly save lives.

Betty Morningstar


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