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.