FREEPORT — “Made in Mexico” is a common label we see on tags of shirts, stuck to banana peels and imprinted into seatbelt buckles, yet that little tag will never tell us the truth behind products manufactured in developing countries. It is time, for our own safety, that we read the fine print.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade agreement between the U.S. and 12 other countries that will take away our rights and put them in the hands of corporations. Some are calling the agreement “NAFTA on steroids.” Ironic, yes, because steroids are among the many chemicals we risk blindly consuming if this agreement passes.

The content of the partnership has been secret, unaccessible to the public and many policymakers.

Even more controversially, the U.S. supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are pushing for it to be approved via the “fast track” method. Fast tracking, also known as “trade promotion authority,” allows the president to sidestep Congress, forcing Congress to approve or reject the agreement without debate or modification.

As a Mainer, I am proud that my state recently became one of three to pass a law requiring labeling of genetically modified organisms on food and seed stock that is for sale here. GMOs may cause infant mutations, cancer, mental illness, allergies, sterility and other health disorders. The U.S. should not force our generation to be a guinea pig for corporate science experiments, and any consumption of GMOs should be completely consensual.

I am outraged that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will not permit GMO labeling. By doing so, the deal will undermine statewide success with product transparency. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is erasing Maine legislators’ votes and replacing them with labeling lies.


Maine, Vermont and Connecticut, the states that have mandated GMO labeling, are not the only places where people will feel the power of their vote vanish – Japan, Australia and New Zealand also have laws mandating proper food labeling. The labeling regulations that these countries allow will be overruled by the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s fine print. Because the U.S. is fast-tracking the trade deal, we have neither the time nor the ability to modify this fine print.

The U.S. ratified both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement, other deals with harmful consequences, using the fast-track method. Their speedy approval resulted in outrageous provisions such as NAFTA’s Chapter 11.

This fine print known as Chapter 11 allows corporations to sue governments, villages or unions if these entities attempt to create laws that inhibit in any way the profits of the company – including environmental regulations.

When living in Central America, I saw the effects of this agreement on workers burned with pesticides and children sick from polluted drinking water. The Trans-Pacific Partnership should not be fast-tracked because, as we’ve seen, the disregard inherent to fast-tracking is detrimental not only to workers and the environment, but also to our health.

Worse still, fast-tracking the agreement excludes elected members of Congress from representing our concerns. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Monsanto and Syngenta, infamous for their poor treatment of workers and lack of transparency on genetically engineered products, participated in the drafting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

However, the deal did not ask for my vote, let alone the vote of my elected members of Congress. This deal is not only a health risk because of the lack of scientific research on GMOs, but it’s also blatantly unconstitutional because of the lack of representation in the fast-tracking method.

The way in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership is being passed and the TPP’s objection to product labeling takes away rights from individuals and gives them to corporations. Our government, with the urging of citizens, needs to step up, read and edit the fine print.

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