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Letter to the editor: Tell senators to oppose international negotiations

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The U.S. is negotiating a bilateral investment treaty with China and a Trans-Pacific Partnership with 12 countries. President Barack Obama indicates he’d welcome adding China.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids) is opposed by both liberals and conservatives. Very little of the partnership deals with trade, but a majority of it deals with things like regulations. Also, it creates foreign trade courts. Disputes between American citizens and foreign corporations would be litigated in these, not American courts.

Democrat Sens. Sherrod Brown, of Ohio, and Ron Wyden, of Oregon, have criticized the secrecy and lack of transparency in Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Wyden was finally allowed to look at Trans-Pacific Partnership documents, but not his staff.

Obama wants fast-track authority to send the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Senate for a simple up or down vote — no debate or amendments. Must we pass it to find what’s in it?

From 2008-10, 80 percent of consumer safety recalls were Chinese products — including more than 17 million toys. At least 19 Americans died from Chinese-made blood thinner. Deaths of hundreds of pets were traced to Chinese pet foods.

Remember avian bird flu in China? Well, in August the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S Department of Agriculture lifted bans on processed poultry from China — sending poultry to China for processing and returning it for consumption. USDA inspectors will not be on site at the Chinese processing plants, and country-of-origin labels won’t be required. World Poultry magazine says “Experts suggest that this could be the first step towards allowing China to export its own domestic chickens to the U.S.” Sound appetizing?

It’s time to tell our senators to oppose these negotiations. Check their websites to email them.

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