Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus (May 20, 2015) took on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) contention that trade agreements are being negotiated in secret, with multinational corporations calling the shots. Warren, the populist flavor of the month, has been leading a campaign against trade deals and against Trade Promotion Authority, all in the name of confronting greedy multinational corporations and helping U.S. workers.
In her column titled “A bogus argument against the trade deal,” Marcus skewers Warren’s argument by pointing out that releasing negotiating documents before they are agreed upon undermines the U.S.’s bargaining positions; that lawmakers and their staffs have access to the documents in a secure context; that the negotiating text will be made public 60 days before signing; and that the trade advisory working groups who review the documents were established by Congress.
Marcus could have gone even further in putting to rest Warren’s charge that trade agreements are being negotiated in secret. Currently, the U.S. Trade Representative is required to consult with Congress during negotiations, and the TPA legislation would significantly broaden those consultations and create Congressional advisory committees on negotiations. Also, Marcus could have noted that currently about 700 private citizens representing not only industrial and agricultural sectors and small business, but labor and environmental groups. In fact the influential Labor Advisory Group includes a broad representation of major labor unions in the country.
Yes, Sen. Warren’s arguments are bogus on “secret” trade deals. Many of her other arguments are bogus as well, as an article today by Sean Higgins in The Washington Examiner shows. More on that later.