WERU News Report 12/17/13

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Part 1 of 4

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has called theTrans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP) trade agreement “the largest corporate power grab you never heard of.” And if you HAVE heard of it, and want more information about it, you would have to rely on sections of the agreement that have been leaked by Wikileaks. The agreement is being negotiated in such extreme secrecy that even legislators are relying on the leaked materials for information. If enacted, the TPP would cover at least 12 countries, with a combined gross domestic product totally 40% of the world’s economy, earning it the label “NAFTA on steroids”. The Maine Citizens Trade Policy Commission, held a public hearing in Belfast on December 12th. The committee’s co-chairs, Senator Troy Jackson and Representative Sharon Treat held the the meeting to learn about the potential impacts of the TPP on food safety, farming and the seafood industry. We’re going to cover that hearing in several parts here on the WERU News Report this week and next. You’ll hear the concerns expressed by farmers, lobster fishermen and other community members. You’ll also hear some very candid open frustration from state legislators serving on the committee, who have had to rely on wikileaks to learn specifics about what is proposed in the TPP, and the potential impacts on Maine.

The CTPC was est’d by the legislature in 2004 to track trade agreements and their impacts on Maine, and make recommendations to the legislature. The members include legislators, reps from state agencies, and other interested parties.
Commission members who were present at the meeting in Belfast were: Linda Pistner, Chief Deputy Attorney General; Stephen Cole Representing Economic Development Organizations; Mike Karagiannes Maine Dept of Environmental Protection (DEP); Jay Wadleigh International Assoc. Machinists, Representing Organized Labor; Sen. John L. Patrick of Rumford; Sen. Troy D. Jackson of Allagash, Co- Chair; Rep. Sharon Anglin Treat of Hallowell – Co-Chair; Rep. Jeff M. McCabe of Skowhegan; Michael Herz, appointed to represent Nonprofit Environmental Organizations, and John Palmer, Representing Small Business

First to speak was Senate candidate and former Maine ACLU Director, Shenna Bellows:

FMI www.maine.gov/legis/opla/citpol.htm