Washington, D.C. – Five Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee have written to the White House urging President Barack Obama to exclude foreign investment protections from major free trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
The five argue that such protections “might undermine buffers against future financial crises” and damage public support for future free trade deals.
The House Ways & means Committee has Congressional jurisdiction over trade issues.
Foreign investment protection is hot-button topic in the TTIP trade deal, prompting the European Union to call a halt to talks on the investment-related components of the proposed pact while the bloc’s 28 members consult “more widely.”
The letter follows a similar letter sent last week by three U.S. senators to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman asking him not to include investment protection rules in the proposed 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“The consequence would be to strip our regulators of the tools they need to prevent the next crisis,” said the letter, which also cautioned against rules “limiting the use of capital controls or allowing open access for risky financial products.”
Among the letter’s signatories was 2016 presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who said such rules would expose “critical” U.S. financial regulations to challenge and dissuade policymakers from writing rules that impact foreign banks.
In response, a spokesman for the USTR said the TPP “would in no way limit the ability of governments to put in place strong consumer protections or to regulate financial markets” and would include “specific provisions protecting regulation.”