Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton council urged to adopt resolution against TPP

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President-elect Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement may be one of the only issues in the world on which he and the United Steelworkers (USW) are sympatico.

But so far as the USW and its friends in Northwest Indiana are concerned, Trump’s personal views are no guarantee that Congress won’t in the end ratify TPP anyway.

Which is why Eric Jones, a Chesterton resident who owns a small business in Valparaiso, approached the Chesterton Town Council at its meeting Monday night, asking members to consider adopting a resolution against TPP.

The immediate issue: although U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., have pledged to vote against TPP, U.S. Sen.-elect Todd Young, R-Ind., has not made his feelings known about the trade agreement. For that reason Jones and his colleague, Matt Richard, have been petitioning town and city councils throughout the region to take an official position against TPP, in the hope of helping Young see the light.

TPP “hits close to home,” Jones told the council. “It’s NAFTA on steroids. It will affect 40 percent of the global economy and it was done in private.”

Among other things, Jones said, TPP would effectively short-circuit much of this nation’s regulatory framework, by permitting--for example--the import of poultry and other meat products from Pacific Rim countries whose food-safety regs don’t necessarily meet FDA standards. And if we turn it away, we can get sued.”

This nation’s health, labor, and environmental regulations--basically its sovereignty--would all be exposed to foreign litigation and interference, Richard added for his own part. “And the establishments of both parties are still very much behind this legislation,” he said. “It’s still a live issue.”

Indeed, as recently as Tuesday--as Reuters has reported--the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, urged his fellow Republicans to defend TPP.

Members agreed by consensus to take the matter under advisement. “If it affects local jobs, that’s a concern,” noted Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

TPP is a 12-nation pact which, according to a USW fact sheet, would “dramatically increase job loss” in the domestic manufacturing sector; would “allow China to provide a majority of a car’s parts and get beneficial treatment under the deal because of weak rules of origin”; and “give foreign corporations greater rights than domestic firms to challenge government policy intended to protect the public interest.”


Posted 11/18/2016





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