In a unanimous vote on Monday, March 30, trade dependent Seattle passed a resolution OPPOSING Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership! Seattle City Council’s resolution follows last week’s similar resolution passed by Bellingham City Council, and weeks of visits, calls, and letters to City Council from members of more than 50 environmental, labor, faith, social justice, public health groups, and socially responsible businesses.
Thank you, Seattle City Council, for listening.
What lessons can we learn from this week’s vote? Stan Sorscher, blogger with the Huffington Post, details seven lessons in his recent article. Check out lesson number 2–the more you look at our failed trade policy, the less you like it:
Seattle City Council members started this debate as informed citizens, but not trade experts. They quickly came up the learning curve over several weeks. They heard plenty from corporate advocates, who abound in the Seattle area. They also heard from workers, environmentalists, social justice groups, and the faith community. While they were studying this issue, WikiLeaks released a new draft of the notorious investment chapter of the TPP.
Council members looked at dozens of letters written by members of Congress to our negotiators. A letter from Jay Inslee, Governor of the most trade dependent state in the union, opposing a key provision in TPP was so persuasive it was cited twice in the resolution.
Councilmembers considered many statements from the US Trade Representative’s office. Our trade negotiators are diplomats and they use diplomatic language, which often involves half-truths. That’s fine for diplomats who are not accountable… An elected official puts his or her credibility at risk by aligning with someone who tells diplomatic half-truths.
Just prior to the vote, one Council member summarized her personal experience, concluding, “what I saw [in USTR statements] were a lot of conclusionary statements without a lot of support.”
Watch the video of the hearing and read more:
The Seattle Times: City Council opposes Fast Track for Pacific Rim trade Pact
Huffington Post Blog: Lessons from Seattle City Council’s 9-o Vote Opposing Fast Track