Talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama administration’s first potential trade agreement, are set to begin today at a South of Market hotel, and the event has sparked numerous rallies, demonstrations and marches.
Representatives from labor, faith and environmental groups will join elected officials this morning to call on President Barack Obama and his trade negotiators to deliver on his promise of trade reform.
Later in the day, animal rights activists and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame musician plan to blast participating Australian officials who they say are subjecting millions of lambs to mutilation in the production of merino wool.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, launched by the Bush administration in 2008, includes seven Asian and Latin American nations in addition to the U.S.
Representatives from Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam will participate in the negotiations, which will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel at 888 Howard St.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin will stand alongside hundreds of supporters and members of the California Fair Trade Coalition and the San Francisco Labor Council, among others, in a rally blocks from the Intercontinental Hotel.
The demonstrators, who are demanding a “new deal or no deal,” said they aim to encourage negotiators to use the discussions as a means to protect jobs, the environment, food safety and human rights.
A second contingent of public health advocates, led by Supervisor Eric Mar, seeks to highlight how it says the talks could derail local and national efforts to curb tobacco use.
Mar and members of the California Public Health Association, the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health and the National Physicians Alliance are collectively calling for tobacco to be left off the negotiation table.
The group led by Mar will meet outside the hotel at 9:30 a.m. The rally will gather outside St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at 10 a.m. at 756 Mission St. before marching to the hotel.
American rock musician Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and protesters with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are staging a noon demonstration outside the hotel.
Organizers said that the Australian wool industry broke its promise to ban a procedure called mulesing, in which farmers cut chunks of flesh from lambs’ backsides in an attempt to prevent maggot infestation. PETA said mulesing can render lambs immobile for hours.