According to the Federal Register, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced on Dec. 28 that it “is seeking public comments on the impact of the TPP Agreement on U.S. employment, including labor markets.”

The open comment period extends until January 13, 2016.

There are still very few people who are even aware of the Trans Pacific Partnership. By using your local newspapers you can help dispel the myths put forth by the White House and Office of the Trade Representative. We have created all the talking points for you but please feel free to add your own.

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Click on a point to add it to the letter.
  • Labor enforcement provisions are inadequate. According to Public Citizen, the TPP’s labor rights provisions largely replicate the terms included in past pacts since the “May 2007” reforms forced on then-president George W. Bush by congressional Democrats. A 2014 Government Accountability Office report found that these terms had failed to improve workers’ conditions. This includes in Colombia, which also was subjected to an additional Labor Action Plan similar to what the Obama administration has negotiated with Vietnam. When workers aren’t protected, this drives a global race to the bottom in worker rights and wages.

  • Offshore jobs. The TPP would make it easier for corporations to offshore jobs. The TPP includes investor protections that reduce the risks and costs of relocating production to low wage countries. The pro-free-trade Cato Institute considers these terms a subsidy on offshoring, noting that they lower the risk premium of relocating to venues that US firms might otherwise consider.

  • Lower wages. The TPP would push down our wages by throwing workers in the US into competition with Vietnamese workers making less than 65 cents an hour. The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) estimates that wages will fall for most workers in the US as a result of the TPP.

  • Bans buy America. Government contracts have to treat foreign bidders as equal with US companies. This means that preference cannot be given to local producers or service providers. Within three years, this wil extend to the local level which will impact the growing local economy movement.

  • Insourcing. The TPP will allow entry for more foreign workers and their families into the US. This displaces US workers from jobs. And there is the possibility that foreign workers may be paid lower wages than US workers, which would drive wages down for everyone.

  • No increase in jobs. Fact Checker finds that in the long run, the TPP will create zero new jobs.

  • Legal challenges. Foreign firms operating in the US will have greater rights under law than US corporations. Under the Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions, foreign firms can sue if US laws interfere with their profits. This includes laws such as rises in minimum wage, worker and environmental protections and more. And they can sue for loss of expected future profits. We’ve already seen that such challenges lead governments to repeals laws that protect health and safety rather than having to pay huge fines.

  • In 2015, after only three years, the US-Korea trade agreement, which President Obama touts as an improvement over NAFTA and a modern 21st Century trade agreement, lost 85,000 jobs. Perhaps the most common false statement about trade agreements is that they create jobs when the opposite is true.

  • The TPP adds a new jobs problem by allowing foreign corporations to bring employees into the United States even if a US worker could do the job. Further, it makes the labor market worse by stopping government programs that encourage domestic jobs, e.g. the Buy American program and giving foreign corporations greater legal protection for their profits inside the US than before.

  • All in all, the TPP is bad for workers and must be stopped. The world needs trade agreements that raise worker protections instead of driving a race to the bottom.