Letter: Secret trade plan will hurt us all

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To the editor of THE EAGLE:

There is a monster skulking around the corner, endangering the U.S. economy, threatening our jobs and the health of the planet and of every American. It is a trade deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This deal is being negotiated in secret by the U.S. trade representative and international corporate representatives. And soon it will attack us all.

What is it? It is hard to say. But rumors abound: gone will be "Buy America" plans; U.S. environmental protections will be considered restraint of trade; food regulations can be challenged by corporations in a court made up of corporate lawyers; access to medicine will be decreased and more expensive. It will offshore thousands of U.S. jobs and free the bankers from oversight.

The Public Citizen website notes: "Closed-door talks are on-going between the U.S. and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam; with other countries, including China, potentially joining later. Six hundred corporate advisers have access to the text, while the public, members of Congress, journalists, and civil society are excluded." Rumors persist that the Obama administration will ask Congress for fast-track authority, meaning a simple up or down vote without amendment or changes. This must not happen. If the TPP does pass it can only be changed by agreement of all of the signing countries.

As a start, our congressman, Richard Neal, must vote against fast-track authority. How will he vote? Call his office and ask. I can’t get an answer.

Congress must not be blind-sided but deal with this in the light of day with full disclosure and full debate. With apologies to William Butler Yeats: "What rough beast slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

RUSSELL FREEDMAN

Lanesborough

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