A group of seven small farm/rural advocacy organizations and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters issued a letter today opposing so-called Congressional "fast-track" authority when considering the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
The 16th round of the talks begins today in Singapore. The TPP would create a trade agreement among the United States, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
The groups are most concerned with unfettered access to U.S. markets by Fonterra, New Zealand’s large dairy company, which controls some 90% of that country’s milk supply. "New market access for New Zealand’s monopolistic dairy sector would be especially damaging to U.S. dairy farmers and those who produce and process nonfat dry milk, butterfat and cheese," say the groups signing onto the letter.
The groups include: Citizens Trade Campaign, Family Farm Defenders, Food & Water Watch, Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, League of Rural Voters, National Dairy Producers Organization, National Family Farm Coalition, National Farmers Union and Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural.
"It’s especially important that Congress review the impact of the TPP on the U.S. dairy industry because the deal has been negotiated in complete secrecy," says James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
"Congress must make sure this trade deal doesn’t open the door to unfair competition," says Rome Aloise, international vice president of the Teamsters and head of the union’s dairy conference.
A copy of the letter sent to members of Congress can be read here.