Jul 30 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) took to the Senate floor to denounce the likely carveout of tobacco in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and pledged to work hard against the ratification of the TPP if the carveout is contained in the final text of the agreement.

Trade negotiators from the United States and the other TPP partner nations are currently in Hawaii this week to finalize the details of the trade pact.

During his speech, Tillis warned that a tobacco carveout in the TPP would set a dangerous precedent for discriminating against entire industries in future trade agreements.

“The current proposal in the TPP creates an entirely new precedent, a precedent that will no doubt become the norm for future trade agreements where the negotiators get to pick the winners and losers and American businesses will suffer as a result,” said Tillis. “Once we allow an entire sector to be treated unfairly in trade agreements, the question is, who’s next?”

Tillis also noted that the trade promotion authority granted to President Obama last month stipulates that opportunities for U.S. agricultural exports must be “substantially equivalent to opportunities afforded foreign exports in U.S. markets,” which would prevent the exclusion of specific American agricultural commodities like tobacco.

“I voted to give the President trade promotion authority to allow trade agreements like the TPP to move through Congress in a quick, orderly, and responsible process,” said Tillis. “I did not vote to give our negotiators the freedom to indiscriminately choose when fairness should be applied and when it should be ignored.”

Tillis added, “I hope our trade negotiators will work hard to ensure that American values are upheld in the final agreement they bring before Congress. And that goes for language in the entire agreement – even that which appears in annexes and footnotes.”