Council Moves To Oppose TPP Trade Deal

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia
President Obama with leaders from the rest of the TransPacific Partnerhsip/ Photo courtesy Wikipedia

On Tuesday night, by a 4-1 vote with Rochelle Swanson dissenting, the Davis City Council approved “a resolution that calls upon federal elected officials to oppose the TransPacific Partnership (TPP)  and any similar trade deals if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed trade policies of the past,” a press release from an unidentified group listing Nancy Price as the contact person stated.

Nick Buxton, according to the press release, a Davis resident and one of the sponsors of the resolution, welcomed the city’s vote. “Trade deals such as the TPP are written by mega-corporations and put profits before people and the environment. This will lead to the loss of more jobs in the US, undermine environmental regulations, exacerbate climate change and increase corporate power at the expense of human rights and democracy. I am glad Davis is speaking out against a trade agreement that will only serve the 1%.”

The release notes, “Davis joins around 200 cities in the US  and the over 1500 civil society groups  including human rights organizations, trade unions, consumer groups, digital rights activists and many others that have expressed their opposition to the TPP. The controversial trade deal, signed by the US with 11 other nations in the Pacific, awaits ratification by Congress and is currently opposed by all the presidential candidates.”

The resolution was proposed by civic groups, Yolano Sierra Club and Yolo MoveOn. “It outlines the city’s concerns about provisions in the deal that give rights to multinational corporations to challenge democratic decisions. Similar agreements have led to legal challenges against local job creation policies, and the overturning of state bans on toxic chemicals as well as a moratorium on fracking. It also notes the concerns of senior citizen groups that it could lead to increases in prices of certain medicines.”

The resolution will reportedly be sent to Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi, urging them to oppose the TPP if it comes for a vote.

The item was placed on the agenda by the Legislative Subcommittee of Robb Davis and Lucas Frerichs.

It notes: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is a free trade agreement negotiated between the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, New Zealand, and Japan that awaits ratification by Congress. The TPP has policy goals including economic development, improved quality of live and good governance. Specifically, it seeks to lower trade barriers and improve the ability to trade among the partner nations.

“However, numerous groups have raised concerns about various aspects of the agreement, from from transparency concerns to environmental, social and economic worries. Approximately 200 cities and counties, along with more than 1500 organizations, have stated their opposition to the agreement. The Legislative Subcommittee recommends that the City of Davis join these entities.”

Full text of the resolution:

WHEREAS, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is a free trade agreement negotiated between the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, New Zealand, and Japan that awaits ratification by Congress;

WHEREAS, together, these nations contribute 40% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, and one third of the world’s trade;

WHEREAS, only 6 of the 30 chapters in the 6,000-page agreement concern traditional trade issues such as tariffs and quotas, and the rest concern financial regulations, environmental protection, prescription drug pricing and food sanitation standards, among many others, the adoption of which could negatively affect the public’s health, safety and welfare, and require an overhaul of US’s domestic legal system;

WHEREAS, the TPP was negotiated secretly with almost 600 corporate representatives, granting powerful U.S. and multinational global corporations a disproportionate influence in the negotiations that allowed them to advance an agenda that undermines human rights, the public interest and threatens democracy at all levels of government;

WHEREAS, 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost between 1997 and 2014, many of which can be attributed to trade agreements such as TPP, and which have caused a heavy economic, social and emotional toll on the lives of many families and communities in the US;

WHEREAS, the TPP allows special legal rights for foreign investors, known as “investor-to-state dispute settlement” or ISDS, that allow foreign firms to bypass state and federal courts to challenge local, state and federal laws, regulations, and administrative and judicial decisions in secret international tribunals;

WHEREAS, foreign investors already have used ISDS provisions in NAFTA and other trade agreements to challenge decisions that supported local job creation, and to overturn state bans on toxic chemicals and a moratorium on fracking, and other decisions of state courts;

WHEREAS, labor organizations including the AFL-CIO are united in opposition to the TPP as it incentivizes offshoring American jobs to low-wage countries and will increase U.S. income inequality;

WHEREAS, environmental and conservation groups such as the Sierra Club have opposed the TPP for its weak and empty environmental commitments, its failure to mention climate change, and the special legal rights granted to corporations to challenge environmental regulations;

WHEREAS, the offshoring of manufacturing increases air and sea transport around the Pacific Rim, thereby adding to the carbon-footprint of imported goods, and increasing greenhouse gas emissions leading to further global warming and extreme weather;

WHEREAS, the TPP includes provisions locking in monopoly protections for expensive specialty drugs called biologics and constrict the government’s ability to limit spending on drugs, potentially increasing drug costs for the government, with a particular cost for vulnerable residents in our county and nationwide; and

WHEREAS, the TPP is legally binding with a mechanism of enforcement, while many human rights and environmental agreements negotiated at the United Nations, including the Paris Climate Agreement are based on voluntary pledges, thus establishing commercial imperatives above human rights and climate and sustainability concerns; and

WHEREAS, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the model and starting point for two further agreements, the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) that will also have a detrimental impact on jobs, the environment, health and democracy; and

WHEREAS, over 1500 organizations nationwide have expressed their public opposition to TPP including human rights, digital rights, LGBT, faith, senior citizen, environmental and climate , democracy, indigenous, health and social justice groups; and

WHEREAS, almost 200 cities and counties in the US have stated their opposition to TPP, including San Francisco; Richmond, CA; New York City; and Cambridge, MA; many declaring themselves as TPP free zones; and

WHEREAS, the City of Davis supports the promotion of international trade as a means to improve the quality of life for all people, but opposes trade agreements which create a “race to the bottom” on public health standards, environmental protection, labor rights and impacts human rights;

WHEREAS: Davis City Council in December 1999 unanimously approved Resolution (8708) opposing the “actions of the World Trade Organization which overrule the sovereign policies of nations, states and local governments”;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Davis City Council declares itself a “TPP-Free Zone” and calls upon our federal elected officials – Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman John Garamendi – to oppose the TPP and any similar trade deals, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed trade policies of the past;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Davis City Clerk send copies of this resolution to our elected officials in the US Senate and US House of Representatives and to Governor Brown and to State Senator Lois Wolk and Assembly Member Dodd.

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50 thoughts on “Council Moves To Oppose TPP Trade Deal”

  1. Barack Palin

    Good, all of us Davis residents have been very worried about that.  Now that we have that taken care of maybe our council can move on to dealing with the ISIS situation.

    1. David Greenwald

      This is a much bigger issue than you’re implying. I got some interesting push back from some in the business community, there might be a response piece coming out.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      Barack Palin,

      LMAO! I agree. I’m sure the world is holding its collective breath awaiting the next pronouncement from our esteemed “Council.” Oink!

  2. Tia Will

    BP and David

    I cannot speak for “all Davis residents” but I have been concerned about the TPP which I believe does have consequences for the local as well as the national and  international level.

    I hope so. I would be very interested to hear the alternative point of view from a local perspective.

    1. juliettegaia

      The Davis City Council should be applauded for joining hundreds of other cities and many other elected officials at the local, state and federal level that understand what is at stake in these so-called free trade agreements: our democracy, an economy that works for all and not just the wealthy 1%, a stable climate, affordable medicines, and many other issues that impact our daily lives.

       

      The track record of NAFTA and other agreements similar to the TPP has shown these agreements are a trojan horse to circumvent our democratic process, bypass our courts and create a race to the bottom in environmental and labor standards. This is a critical time to speak out against the TPP and I am proud that the City of Davis has joined the growing movement calling for fair trade not free trade deals that favor multinational corporate interests at our expense.

  3. Sam

    This is one reason why the City of Davis is almost bankrupt, with a severe housing shortage and decaying roads. Wasted time on issues outside their control instead of spending time on issues within their control that need to be addressed.

        1. Barack Palin

          AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Davis City Clerk send copies of this resolution to our elected officials in the US Senate and US House of Representatives and to Governor Brown and to State Senator Lois Wolk and Assembly Member Dodd.

          Either way we still waisted council and staff time at the council meeting.

           

    1. Robb Davis

      You clearly were not at nor did you watch the CC meeting if this is your conclusion.  (And as a side note, I am put off by David writing about this but failing to write about the 3 key issues that took up 2 hours of CC time on Tuesday while this took up 10 minutes.  David was not at the meeting either).

      We took up three critical issues of import to the City and the voters: 1) the Capital Improvement Plan projects for 16/17; 2) the Urban Water Management Plan (updated and adopted with rich information on the impact of the surface water project); 3) our land mitigation ordinance.

      The latter is particularly important because the Measure A vote requires citizen understanding of the ordinance and its application to Nishi.  In my opinion David could have written useful articles on any of these items–items that took the bulk of our time on Tuesday.

      And David did not even report the correct outcome of the vote nor the discussion that followed about what we should do in the future in relation to bringing items like the TPP forward.

       

    2. Josh Jones

      A resolution, in support with cities all over CA and the U.S. on the problems TPP will cause for our economy and our society, is not a factor in cost of maintaining city infrastructure. That’s hyperbole.

  4. Mark West

    The members of the City Council are elected to represent the citizens of Davis on issues of local governance.  They have no responsibility or mandate for making decisions on non-local issues. International trade is under the purvue of the Federal Government, and the people elected to represent us in that arena.

    The Davis City Council has no business getting involved or expressing an official position on this issue as they do not represent the electorate on issues of international trade policy.

    1. Tia Will

      The Davis City Council has no business getting involved or expressing an official position on this issue as they do not represent the electorate on issues of international trade policy.”

      I strongly disagree with this point of view. Perhaps if this were an issue that would have absolutely no impact on our city, I would agree. However, I believe that international trade agreements do have local impacts and as such are leaders are well within their scope to formulate and express their opinions.

    2. Josh Jones

      Not true. The TPP will effect people locally. Inasmuch as more than 200 cities in CA and across the U.S. have resolved similarly, in order to convince State Assemblies to resolve similarly, the Davis City Council is acting properly as representatives of our local government. Or do you think that society should be ruled by autocracy and the people should not have a voice with local representatives? That leads to brittle society, and a poorer life for each citizen.

  5. The Pugilist

    This is a much bigger issue than you guys seem to realize.  First of all, the policy impacts the city.  Davis wants to become an economic development hub but then wants to end what could be a high tech, free trade agreement that could end up pumping lots of jobs into Davis.  The problem here is not that the city got involved in this issue – it’s that it got involved in the wrong direction.  We should be lining up to support this because it’s only going to help this community.

    1. Sam

      “First of all, the policy impacts the city.”

      Most policies that the Federal Government votes on impact the city. Should the city also draft a resolution on North Korea? If they get a nuke they have already said they will blow up the West coast. That would impact Davis too. Davis already elects two individuals and sends them to Washington to represent us. Let them do their job and have the city focus on staying solvent.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Let’s be sure to include Hillary in the denouncement. Perhaps our Council can pass a resolution supporting “None of the Above.”

  6. Marina Kalugin

    now THIS is more like it…harkens back to the days of Bob Black and Joan Poulos….now those were the day…

    or even Julie Partansky and Maynard sometimes…

  7. Misanthrop

    What I don’t get is how TPP helps or hurts Davis one way or the other. We don’t have an industrial base that can get outsourced and we don’t have a high tech economy that can grow into new markets. What we have is mostly a public sector economy and a lot of pensioners. I think this makes a lot of people feel like they have taken a principled position but the irony is that its totally in the tradition of Davis’ idea of liberalism because its taking a stand on something that the community has little to gain or lose from one way or the other. Whenever Davis doesn’t have much skin in the game it always seems to be ready to go big. Yet when it comes to helping local people get high tech jobs that pay more than riding on a tomato harvester many of the same people who advocate against TPP also advocate against local economic development at Nishi or MRIC.

    1. Josh Jones

      Don’t you think the local economy is affected by Sacramento, or the regional CA economy? Of course the TPP would affect everyone in the U.S. everywhere. Simply hiding in gated communities while people are desperate or starving will not make life generally better for citizens.

      Are you for the TPP and prior international agreements allowing corporations to flee our laws and pollute developing countries? Are you for allowing corporations to treat people as near slaves or actual slaves? Do you think it’s ok for corporations to ignore civil rights, labor laws and pollution laws of the U.S. in this way? The pollution created in China simply blows across the Pacific to the U.S. you know. Slavery of other people denigrates us at the same time, and in many ways. We can’t allow expansion of those already immoral and damaging practices. Or don’t you care about slavery and pollution of the earth?

  8. Josh Jones

    If you don’t think opposing the TPP at every level is important, then you haven’t been paying attention to society around you recently. A majority of Americans oppose TPP. The U.S. Congress wouldn’t even clap for it when President Obama was making his last State of the Union speech.

    I would hope certain older people would not be so apathetic and uninformed, cocooned behind their TVs. Younger people have the future at stake. We have a reason to be well informed and active. We must oppose TPP or become even more monetarily desperate. Ask your grandchildren and children if it’s hard to find work now, with corporations constantly off-shoring, even now. Corporations want nothing more than to exploit workers legally overseas and pollute at their whims.

    The article specifically notes “200 cities in the US … have expressed their opposition to the TPP.” A majority of the U.S. population is now solidly Progressive and Populist. This will progress far into the future, no matter what anyone wants to think or say otherwise about it. We oppose TPP, as well as NAFTA, CAFTA, and PNTR with China.

    Why you ask? Here’s a simple reason. When the Labor Laws, Civil Rights Laws, and Anti-Pollution laws of the 1960s were passed – corporations hated those regulations – so they asked(or paid) our government to make laws so that corporations could flee the laws of the United States. These corporations wanted to pollute with impunity and continue quasi-slavery or real slavery  – so they left for other countries – to abuse those people instead of Americans. Why was that ok? Who let corporations do that? We will have no more of this. Is it good that China has terribly polluted air and poisoned rivers? Is it good that Mexicans are driven off of traditional community land, resulting in their working at “maquiladoras” or manufacturing operations on the Mexican side of the border, where reports are they Mexican workers are paid almost nothing and live in cardboard boxes? 

    This is what international corporations are capable of doing to people. Do you want your children and relatives to work for a corporation in the U.S. and live in a cardboard box outside that company? They corporate boards appear to think this is fine in Mexico and elsewhere. This is where the U.S. is going if we don’t oppose TPP with every facility we have.

    1. Misanthrop

      Great they take a  stand against globalization and the free movement of capital. My complaint is that at the same time they caved on taxing sugar and public power. Its like the other side of the nimby coin. Davis people don’t like to act in their own backyard but are quick to jump on any bandwagon that rolls beyond the city limit. I would rather see  them actually do something that effects Davis where they serve than something symbolic that lies far beyond their jurisdiction. At least they only spent ten minutes on it. To their credit they were the first regional government body to vote against more oil trains rolling through Davis. Now that is what I call leadership.

      1. Nancy Price

        “They” are not taking a stand against globalization or the free movement of capital. “They” are taking a stand against free trade agreements that will lead to further deregulation of Wall Street and the financial sector that will increase off-shore havens that allow corporations and the 1% to escape paying taxes and increase the likelihood of financial crises that put the 99%  – that’s you and me – at risk and our local and state economies at risk.

         

        1. Frankly

          Nancy, you sound like a broken leftist political talking points record on the Huffington Post.

          How about we take a stand on the hundreds and thousands of business-crippling regulations and our highest-in-the-world corporate tax rates-that push business overseas?

          Liberals are a crackup on these things.  They demand policies that punish business and then demand policies to try to make them stay.

  9. Barack Palin

    How does our council figure that this is what our city wants?  Do they have the usual same few activists pulling on their ears so they decide to take this type of action?  Where the residents of Davis informed that this was even in their crosshairs?  Did they hear opposing views from the citizenry?  What’s next on their international agenda?

    1. David Greenwald

      “How does our council figure that this is what our city wants?”

      There is a huge logical fallacy with this point that needs to be addressed. How does the council figure out on any issue that a given course of action is what our city wants? The answer is that we have things like elections, we have public meetings, and we have a public process.

      That said, as Rob White points out in his article today, it appears that the public process might have been short-circuited and that is a concern. But the broader issue of how the council can act on behalf of the city is really already in place and addressed.

    2. Josh Jones

      I am not one of the same few activists, nor are my friends. Are you for the TPP and prior international agreements allowing corporations to flee our laws and pollute developing countries? Are you for allowing corporations to treat people as near slaves or actual slaves? Do you think it’s ok for corporations to ignore civil rights, labor laws and pollution laws of the U.S. in this way? The pollution created in China simply blows across the Pacific to the U.S. you know. Slavery of other people denigrates us at the same time, and in many ways. We can’t allow expansion of those already immoral and damaging practices. Or don’t you care about slavery and pollution of the earth?

  10. Nancy Price

    Thank you Council Members Davis, Lee, Wolk and Frerichs for joining council members and county supervisors from across the country who have voted to oppose the TPP and, as a matter of fact, in a great many cases, included mention of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services (TiSA) Agreement also currently under negotiation and ready for a vote of Congress soon.   I am glad you too the time to inform yourselves about the impact of the TPP on our city.  TiSA is being secretly negotiated, though some part of the text was recently “leaked,” however, written into the agreement is that the secret text can not be made public for 5 years after it is approved by all 50 governments. Now why is such a provision needed, if this agreement if for “our good?” No doubt, there will be more leaks of this particular TiSA text.

    There are way more now than 200 cities and counties that have passed such resolutions – such some major cities such as Seattle, WA and San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond and Ft. Bragg, CA and New York City and Madison, WI to name a very few.

    While it is true that many Federal and state policies impact local government, once these trade agreements are passed,  we are locked in to an entire system of provisions that can not be modified, to which all local, state and federal laws must be adjusted to the lower standards of these trade agreements, or in the case of the Trade in Services agreement to a cycle of privatization of almost all currently lower-cost public services.

    This is not about opposing globalization, but about opposing a certain kind of globalization that is achieved through trade agreements that only benefit the financial, corporate and political 1% at the expense of people and the planet. Keep in mind that the TPP, currently only 12 countries, has a docking agreement that any country can join that accepts the provisions thus widening the geographic and economic scope. The TTIP is between the 28 countries of the EU and the U.S. and the TiSA agreement is being negotiated among 50 specially invited countries.

     

    More later I am sure.

     

     

     

     

     

  11. Frankly

    “Trade deals such as the TPP are written by mega-corporations and put profits before people

    True looking at if from the bottom up… with a crappy prehistoric education system that cannot prepare enough students for higher-skilled work.

    and the environment.

    Uh… how so if the US is outsourcing so much manufacturing?

    This will lead to the loss of more jobs in the US

    Yes… see above.

    undermine environmental regulations, exacerbate climate change

    LOL… you mean undermine what are demands for even more business restrictions on top of the  already large pile of environmental regulations… including those stemming from climate change alarmism?

    and increase corporate power at the expense of human rights and democracy.

    And of course nothing about the wielding of autocratic government power and the expense of human rights and democracy.

    I am glad Davis is speaking out against a trade agreement that will only serve the 1%.”

    It is stupid.

    1. Tia Will

      Frankly

      Surely not even you would use the dislike of autocratic government power as a reason to increase autocratic corporate power over individuals ?

      1. Josh Jones

        Maligning government as autocratic has been one of the main methods to promote actually autocratic corporate power. And people who are for the latter don’t like it when you try to stand up against the new-Feudalism.

  12. Barack Palin

    From now on I expect our council candidates to weigh in on how they feel about international issues.  If they’re going to pass statements like they did with the trade deal I feel we citizens should know where they all stand on every global issue.  If they’re going to represent our city then we have a right to know.  To heck with balancing our city budget and fixing our streets……

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Indeed. Absolutely! From now on, the international community can access the wisdom of our Council to rapidly implement solutions to urgent problems like human trafficking, child labor, the next pandemic, childhood diarrhea, low quality television programming, young adult fiction with excessive focus on sex, inadequate use of deodorant, and the dangerous spread of idiocy throughout the realm. Oink!

    2. Josh Jones

      Again, this is hyperbole. There is little cost in a resolution against the slavery and pollution of TPP, in support of many other cities, making a ground-swell of support for eventual State Assembly resolution. I guess you simply support anti-sovereignty laws and the other things in TPP.

    1. Nancy Price

      How very Berkeleyesque, indeed! How very Richmond and Ft. Bragg, CA, not to mention many other cities small and large and counties across the country whose city and county councils have informed themselves, listed to public comments and taken a stand.  The New York City Council voted 49-2 for a TPP-Free Zone Resolution.  The Maine State legislature passed a No TPP resolution. Across the European Union and the United Kingdom, cities are passing No TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) resolutions.  Seems there is a great deal of common understanding that these free trade agreements are very harmful and so do a great many of our elected representatives here and in the EU….and thank goodness for that. Time for fair trade policies.

       

       

      1. Mark West

        This might be a reasonable point if the City Council had taken the time to have the conversation with the community about the issue.  They did not, and consequently, their actions were both premature and inappropriate.

        1. Barack Palin

          One would think after the backlash this council took after they snuck the cost of living wage raises through that they would’ve learned their lesson and been more transparent.

  13. tribeUSA

    The main benefit I see in the City Council resolution against the TPP is in helping to promote public dialogue about this proposed trade deal, which potentially could have a huge negative impact on the lives of your children and grandchildren; and for most people in the USA. An irony of the issue of transparency referred to in many posts above is that the TPP terms have been negotiated in secret, and our mainstream corporate media (owned mainly by global megacorporations and governed by boards consisting largely of Wall Street financial head honchos) has given this very little coverage relative to its importance, and does not address the most serious issues with this trade deal. The most serious negative issue I see with the TPP is the further degradation of national sovereignity; which though currently is de facto steered by big finance and big corporations, this power-by-$-influence may be enshrined in law with passing of the TPP; wherein trade deal regulations regarding labor, the environment, product testing and safety, etc. etc. etc. will trump national laws that deal with such matters; and corporations will be able to sue governments for government laws and regulations that conflict with the TPP bylaws.

  14. Josh Jones

    To those of you who dissent regarding this resolution in concordance with hundreds of municipalities across California and the U.S., taking little time and money, though it would be worth much time and money, the abolition of sanctioned pollution and quasi-slaverly or outright slavery, is not a waste of time to us, the majority of Americans.

    1. Matt Williams

      Josh, is the dissent that you are hearing about the content of the resolution, or is it about the failure of the Council to make the issues part of the public dialogue?

      By putting the item on the Consent Calendar the Council was flying it under the radar.  Unless one of the Council members chose to pull the item from the Consent Calendar vote, there was no opportunity for public comment and/or any of the Council members to explain why they feel it is an important issue that Davis to care about.   In effect it becomes a resolution that speaks with the voice of only five people rather than a resolution that speaks with the voice of 65,000 people.

      My question is “Why did the Council members want to exclude the participation of the public in this decision?”

  15. Josh Jones

    As proof of my prior statement I leave you with this: When President Barack Obama gave his most recent State of the Union Address, almost none of our vaunted representatives in Congress clapped when he brought up TPP. How likely do you think it would be that they would be afraid to embrace TPP, a corporate give-away and subversion of our sovereignty(I’ve read the text). Why did they not clap? Because they were inundated with calls and letters from constituents, resolutions to refuse this travesty by duly elected representatives, outright claims that supporting representatives would not be reelected by voters. Anyone who is on the right side of history knows TPP must have push-back from every facility we can bring to bear. Anyone for it is deluded or complicit.

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