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Letter: Trade agreements globalize rights

Vice President Joe Biden greets President Barack Obama

Vice President Joe Biden greets President Barack Obama as Obama heads to Air Force One and Biden to Air Force Two as they depart the 171st Air Refueling Wing at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard base in Coraopolis, Pa., on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. Credit: AP / Keith Srakocic

In response to Ted Bromund's column "The power and limits of free trade" [Opinion, April 20], I would like to say that today's "freer trade" agreements are not just about trade.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership are being negotiated in near-total secrecy. Michael Froman, the U.S. trade representative, and President Barack Obama are trying to ram them through Congress.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership concerns international tribunals, e-commerce, medicine prices, financial regulations, patent extensions, government procurement, labeling, product safety, state-owned enterprises, visas, supply chains and more.

Pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement have resulted in massive job losses for Americans. Trade agreements are also responsible for the introduction into the United States of diseased fish, beef, fruit and vegetables.

Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, big pharmaceutical companies would extend their patent rights, potentially leading to higher prices. Big agricultural companies want to force all farmers to use their genetically modified seeds.

These trade agreements would also set up extra-national tribunals to settle disputes. Where is the input from the environmentalists, unions, physicians and nurses, social workers or educators?

We shouldn't enter trade deals that are detrimental to U.S. workers and consumers.

Lisa Oldendorp, Massapequa

Editor's note: The writer is a regional organizer for the Long Island chapter of MoveOn.org, an advocacy organization.

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