Grayson Becomes First Member of Congress to View Secret Trade Agreement

June 18, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2013

CONTACT:  Todd Jurkowski
407.451.9857 (cell)
press@graysonforcongress.com

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Hidden – Until Now

(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Alan Grayson (D-Orlando) became the first-known Member of Congress to view the current text of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement last week. The agreement has been negotiated for three years, behind closed doors, by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and foreign governments.

After years of advocacy by civil liberties groups, labor advocates, and Members of Congress, the USTR finally relented and allowed Congressman Grayson to view the text.

“Finally, a Member of Congress has been able to see the details of this so-called ‘free trade’ agreement,” said Grayson. “It is easy to understand why this NAFTA-style agreement has been kept secret. The TPP is a disturbing attack on American democracy and sovereignty. It puts corporate interests ahead of American interests.”

Grayson has called on the USTR to release the full draft text of the agreement to the public, as it did under the Bush administration in 2001 with the draft text of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americans, the most recent major plurilateral agreement that the U.S. negotiated.“Each and every U.S. citizen should have the opportunity to read this agreement because if it is signed, the TPP will have a dramatic impact on our rights and our freedom,” Grayson added.

Grayson recently submitted nearly 10,000 comments to the USTR against the inclusion of the “investor-state” provision in another free-trade agreement the Obama administration is currently negotiating. The provision permits huge corporations to file lawsuits to prevent government actions that they just don’t like, such as health and safety regulations. Similar trade agreements have allowed the World Trade Organization to strike down country-of-origin meat labelsdolphin-safe tuna labels and limits on candy-flavored cigarettes marketed to kids.  The TPP is reported to include the same terms.

Congressman Alan Grayson is a Democrat from Orlando.  He represents Florida’s heavily-Democratic 9th Congressional District, which includes southern Orange County, Osceola County and eastern Polk County.