Washington Today, in Auckland, New Zealand, US Trade Representative Michael Froman, along with his counterparts from other Trans-Pacific Partnership ( TPP ) countries, will sign the secretly negotiated trade deal despite numerous flaws, significant opposition, and an unclear path for passage in the US Congress. Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, issued the following statement in response:
"Though the Administration and Ambassador Froman, in particular, have tried to spin this trade deal as 'progressive' we fail to see how throwing LGBTQ people and those living with HIV/AIDS under the bus can possibly meet that standard. There is nothing progressive about giving countries like Brunei and Malaysia, where LGBTQ people are beaten, jailed, and in some cases killed, preferential access to our economy. Of course, it's also hard to find anything progressive in extending patents for life-saving drugs unless you're referring to the rising costs of HIV/AIDS therapy.
"We are extremely dismayed that our repeated attempts to address this with the Administration went unanswered, but there is still hope. TPP must still be approved by Congress and there is a great deal of reticence among lawmakers of conscience about the myriad problems with this ill-conceived trade agreement.
"Trade is not inherently bad. Done right, it can create well-paying jobs, drive innovation, and improve the quality of life for trading partners. The TPP will do none of this. Why are we sacrificing our commitment to equality and, potentially, the lives of countless people living with HIV/AIDS for a deal that will ship jobs overseas, further harm the environment, unravel our privacy rights, and increase the amount of uninspected, tainted food in our food supply? Are we really so single-mindedly focused on the profits of multi-national corporations and wealthy CEOs that nothing else matters?
"Just look at the coalition Ambassador Froman and the Administration are cobbling together to support this deal. Wall Street, the Chamber of Commerce, and some of the worst opponents of progressive values are supporting this deal while pretty much the entire progressive coalition has lined up against it: labor unions, environmental groups, food safety groups, privacy groups, and faith leaders, as well as LGBTQ and other civil rights organizations.
"There is nothing good for working people in this deal, LGBTQ or otherwise. Today's signing isn't the end of the fight. Opposition continues to grow in Congress and the President's own party is lining up against the deal. Pride at Work will continue to be vigilant and vocal in our opposition to this disastrous trade agreement."