The Sun Journal’s recent coverage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and the visit of the U.S. trade representative has, understandably, focused on its potential impact on New Balance manufacturing facilities in Maine. Nearly 1,000 jobs are threatened by that NAFTA-style trade agreement. If ratified, TPP will make it easier to ship Maine jobs overseas.

The TPP and other anti-worker trade deals seek to boost profits for multi-national corporations at any cost. These so-called “free trade agreements” also include things that have nothing to do with trade.

Many investor-state provisions take away the right of federal, state and local governments to make laws and regulations that protect things we care about most: enforceable environmental and labor standards, access to affordable medicines, food safety, Internet freedom and more.

These agreements have an enormous impact on everyday Americans, yet the negotiations are conducted in almost total secrecy. A congressman who has viewed some of the TPP text says its “a punch in the face to the middle class of America.”

Making matters worse, President Obama and many members of Congress now seek to reinstate fast track authority to ram the TPP through with no opportunity to amend, improve or even debate it.

The public must demand greater transparency during TPP negotiations and any similar future negotiations, and oppose any reinstatement of fast track authority that undermines the roll of Congress in such trade pacts that deal with much more than just trade.

Douglas Born, Auburn

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