The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Maggie Henderson (202) 454-5108

10 Questions for the Corporate Witnesses at Today's Senate Committee on Finance Hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership


The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance is holding a hearing on the TPP today and the four witnesses presenting testimony all represent associations of the official U.S. corporate trade advisors who, unlike the press and public, have access to the secret TPP texts.

The Honorable Karan Bhatia, Vice President and Senior Counsel, Global Government Affairs & Policy, General Electric Company, Washington, DC (and former senior U.S. Trade Representative official)

Mr. Bob Hanson, President, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Bozeman, MT

Mr. David Hirschmann, President and CEO, Global Intellectual Property Center, U. S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC

Mr. Tom Suber, President, U. S. Dairy Export Council, Arlington, VA

After three years and 16 rounds of negotiations, there is a composite text. President Obama has targeted October 2013 to sign the deal.

So will the public FINALLY get to see what's in this NAFTA-on-steroids?

Probably not.

So if the press and public will be denied access to what's actually in this "trade" deal, this hearing is the perfect time to ask some pertinent questions of the witnesses to elucidate information that the American public deserves to know about the secretive negotiations:

1. If this "trade" deal is so good for the U.S., why can't the public, press or members of Congress see the texts?

2. Given the TPP contains NAFTA-style investor protections that promote offshoring, and includes Vietnam, the low-wage alternative to China for offshoring, can you explain why it will not lead to more American jobs being offshored?

3. Can you explain the "opportunities" the American people will see from the increase in medicine prices the TPP promises?

4. What domestic environmental, health and safety laws will be the first ones attacked by your member corporations under the TPP's investor-state dispute resolution system?

5. Since the TPP will elevate individual corporations to equal status with sovereign nations to privately enforce a public treaty, will your members corporations be developing their own national flags?

6. Do you personally plan to eat the unsafe food the TPP will flood our markets with?

7. Other than the countries involved, can you outline the differences between the TPP and NAFTA?

8. How would you reassure the public that the TPP is not a SOPA 2.0?

9. Can you explain to Main Street why it is in their interest that the TPP will roll back financial reregulation and permit risky Wall Street practices?

10. Why should the American public believe this is a "good" trade deal given 600 corporate advisors have had a special role and access, but the Americans who will live with results have been locked out?

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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