Michigan rejects job and planet killing trade deals

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Last night, in an historic upset, Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Secretary Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Democratic primary. The Flint Democratic debate, held days before, largely focused on free trade agreements and the impact former President Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement had on jobs in the Midwest.

“In choosing Senator Sanders, the voters of Michigan made it clear that they oppose harmful trade deals that offshore U.S. jobs and destroy our environment,” said Friends of the Earth Action spokesperson Michelle Chan. “Senator Sanders has long been a champion of protecting people and the planet from bad trade deals. But Secretary Clinton’s record on trade will continue to be a liability for her if she doesn’t clarify her position,” said Chan.

Secretary Clinton was in charge of the State Department during the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership. During this campaign season, she has said she opposes the TPP in its current form, suggesting a version of the TPP may be acceptable with some changes.

“If Secretary Clinton wants us to believe that she has seen the light on trade, then we need clear assurances that she will stand with us and not corporations,” said Chan. “She should start by promising, if elected, to not to send to Congress any trade agreement that gives corporations special courts, a provision known as investor-state dispute settlement.”

Canadian pipeline company TransCanada recently used NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism to seek over $15 billion in damages from U.S. taxpayers because of the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. Today, 40 groups released a letter to Congress highlighting TransCanada’s case, and urging them to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Thanks to NAFTA, a foreign oil company is now demanding that every American taxpayer pays them more than $100, as the price of protecting ourselves from polluted water and dirty air,” said Chan. “If approved by Congress, the Trans-Pacific Partnership would allow thousands of additional foreign companies to take advantage of these same provisions.”

This communication from Friends of the Earth Action is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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Communications contact: EA Dyson, (202) 222-0730, edyson@foe.org
Expert contact: Ben Schreiber, (202) 222-0752, bschreiber@foe.org