TPPA: US expert Lori Wallach to begin speaking tour on how US politics may kill the deal

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Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Source: Professor Jane Kelsey + ItsOurFuture.org.nz.

Lori Wallach, Director of US consumer group Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and the foremost critical commentator on TPPA in Washington DC, will be in New Zealand for a series of public meetings on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) from 26 to 31st January.

‘Lori Wallach knows more about the troubled politics of the TPPA in Washington than probably even the White House’, said Professor Jane Kelsey who will be accompanying Ms Wallach on the speaking tour.

A former trade attorney, Ms Wallach has been at the forefront of U.S. congressional trade debates for two decades as the director of Global Trade Watch, a division of the large U.S. consumer organization Public Citizen founded by Ralph Nader.

“Before the final TPPA text was released, the prospects for congressional approval of the TPPA were at best uncertain, given the extremely narrow passage this summer of Fast Track trade authority for the agreement”, Lori Wallach observed.

‘That vote was based on what was known about the pact’s terms and omissions. Once Congress and the public saw the actual text, in contrast to what the Obama administration had claimed, members of Congress that supported Fast Track have come out against the TPPA. Every US presidential candidate of either political party polling above 10 percent in any U.S. state has also opposed the deal.’

Lori Wallach predicts that the changes to the text being demanded by Republicans who normally vote for trade deals as a condition for earning their TPPA support would cost more Democratic votes, and vice versa.

The speaking tour opens with a public meeting at the Auckland Town Hall on Tuesday 26th January at 7pm, where a leaders or trade spokespersons from Labour, New Zealand First, the Greens, and the Maori Party will also speak. The Town Hall meeting will be broadcast through live feed.

Ms Wallach and Professor Kelsey will then be speaking in Wellington on 27th, Christchurch on 28th and Dunedin on 29th.

A briefing for the media will be held in the Green Party office in Bowen House at 1pm on Wednesday 27th January. Ms Wallach will also be available for media interviews from the morning of Tuesday 26th until Saturday 30th January.

Lori Wallach

Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Lori Wallach has promoted the public interest regarding globalization and international commercial agreements in every forum: Congress and foreign parliaments, the courts, government agencies, the media, and the streets. Described as “Ralph Nader with a sense of humor” in a Wall Street Journal profile and dubbed “the Trade Debate’s Guerrilla Warrior” in a National Journal profile, for 20 years Wallach has played a prominent role in the United States and internationally in the roiling debate over the terms of globalization. With a lawyer’s expertise in the terms and outcomes of trade agreements, she has testified on NAFTA, WTO, and other globalization issues before 30 U.S. congressional committees, been a trade commentator on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, Fox, CNBC, C-SPAN, Bloomberg, PBS, NPR and numerous foreign outlets, and been published and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Forbes, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Financial Times, and more. As a relentless campaigner, Wallach has played an important role in creating public debate and supporting public activism about the implications of different models of globalization on jobs, livelihoods, and wages; the environment; public health and safety; and democratically accountable governance. Her most recent book is The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority (2013). She also wrote Whose Trade Organization? A Comprehensive Guide to the WTO (2004) and has contributed to numerous anthologies. Wallach’s work in “translating” arcane trade legalese – indeed, entire trade agreements – into relevant, accessible prose and connecting people’s lived experiences with pacts’ legal requirements, has helped empower more diverse participation in trade and globalization discussions. In 1993, Wallach was a founder of the Citizens Trade Campaign, a U.S. national coalition of consumer, labor, environmental, family farm, religious, and civil rights groups representing over 11 million Americans, and serves on its board. Wallach, a graduate of Wellesley College and Harvard Law School, previously worked on Capitol Hill, on electoral campaigns, and in television news.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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