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Coalition gears up to oppose trade legislation pushing Trans-Pacific deal

Grant Gross | April 30, 2015
Protests over a controversial international trade agreement have taken on new urgency in recent days, after U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation that would give President Barack Obama's administration broad authority to negotiate the deal.

Obama, a Democrat, also faces opposition from some members of his own party. Several of the more liberal Democratic members of Congress have also opposed Obama's call for approval of the fast-track legislation.

The U.S. public needs to see what's in the deal, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, wrote in a blog post last week.

"Don't bother trying to Google" the text of the agreement, she wrote. "The government doesn't want you to read this massive new trade agreement. It's top secret."

Why is the trade deal secret? "Here's the real answer people have given me: 'We can't make this deal public because if the American people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it,'" she added.

The Obama administration and several business groups have defended the trade promotion authority legislation, saying it will open up foreign markets to U.S. products and services.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership "is good for American businesses and American workers," Obama said during a press conference Tuesday. "We will make the case on the merits as to why it will open up markets for American goods, American exports, and create American jobs. When 95 percent of the world's markets are outside our shores, we've got to make sure that we're out there competing. And I'm confident we can compete."

Intel and trade group the Telecommunications Industry Association have both called on Congress to pass trade promotion authority legislation.

"American industries from agriculture to high-tech depend on selling goods and services to the 95 percent of the world's consumers living outside the United States," Lisa Malloy, director of policy communications for Intel, wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

The trade legislation "is a major milestone in American economic growth and will help businesses large and small create opportunity and success for employees and their families everywhere."

 

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