The L.A. Times editorial dismissing concerns about the Transpacific Partnership (“Candidates dump on free trade,” March 12) missed a few important facts.

Fact: TPP will cause net job losses — 771,000 overall with 448,000 in the U.S. — and greater inequality in all country groupings, according to a respected Tufts University study. Central Mainers, having seen shoe shops and textile mills closed and moved overseas after NAFTA, understand this all too well.

Fact: TPP doesn’t raise standards in other countries and will increase low-wage competition by removing tariffs that partially equalize wage disparities. TPP’s minimum wage requirement is simply to have one — even if it is only 50 cents.

Fact: TPP could limit Maine policies more protective than federal law, such as food labeling and kid-safe chemical laws. Action on climate change and renewable energy is also at risk. TPP extends provisions giving companies the ability to sue governments for claimed lost profits. Under a similar NAFTA mechanism, TransCanada is suing the U.S. for $15 billion over the decision to halt the Keystone Pipeline. Another case challenges the Quebec government’s decision to require environmental reviews before allowing fracking under the St. Laurence River. These cases will be decided by trade lawyers, not judges.

Opposing TPP isn’t ignoring the realities of a global economy, nor a xenophobic response to a changing world (setting aside Trump’s overblown rhetoric). Mainers want to sell our lobsters and artisanal cheeses and beers, and buy other countries’ products; most support FAIR trade. By questioning TPP, candidates from right, left and center reflect the views of their constituents, whose understanding is grounded in personal experience and the facts. TPP won’t result in fair trade and should be rejected.

Sharon Treat


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