WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2013- Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Ct., said approval of the Trans Pacific Partnership would threaten food safety in the United States during a call with media hosted by Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch today.

“This deal will lead to influx of seafood products from Asia,” she said, citing concerns about contaminated food and weak regulations. DeLauro also said the Food and Drug Administration should receive additional funding as a result of negotiations that would “further jeopardize food safety.”

President Barack Obama was scheduled to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting this week in Bali, Indonesia, where TPP will be a focus of discussion. However, the White House announced the cancellation of the trip Thursday night due to the government shutdown. Earlier Thursday, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said international affairs should not be disrupted. “Clearly, the president should be able to walk and chew gum,” he said.

Although skeptical of TPP provisions that he says may restrict certain countries’ access to medicines, McDermott said he has yet to decide whether or not to support the trade agreement.

“I’ll wait to look at the text,” he said. “Anything that denies countries’ ability to have necessary medicines for their people is not an acceptable provision.”

DeLauro insisted that the Obama Administration needs to provide more transparency during the negotiations. “More members should be involved in this process,” she said. “This is diplomatic legislating being done without sufficient input from members of Congress.”

Although U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman said he would seek Trade Promotion Authority, which would provide for an up-or-down vote of the final trade agreement in Congress, DeLauro said she is “not just here to rubberstamp” any trade deals.

Noting she will vote against Trade Promotion Authority, DeLauro said the “fast track” option “excludes [Congress] from having a meaningful role.”

Trade Promotion Authority was reestablished by the Trade Act of 2002, but expired in July of 2007.

Many industry and trade groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, support TPA as a strategic advantage for the U.S. in securing trade negotiations. The Trade Benefits American Coalition says reenacting TPA with updated objectives will provide “a partnership between the President and Congress,” where “Congress can help strategically address issues across the range of U.S. trade negotiations being pursued.”


For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com