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Huff Post Links: Pro-TPP Op-Eds Nearly Identical to Drafts from Foreign Government Lobbyists

Throughout the past year, several op-eds appearing in California publications promoted the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, but the Huffington Post is reporting that several of those op-eds use identical language from lobbyists who were retained by foreign governments, specifically Japan, to push support for the controversial trade agreement in the United States.

In an article linked at the Huffington Post, Lee Fang points to an op-ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Trans Pacific trade pact benefits San Diego,” signed by former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

Fang reports, “Much of the language in Sanders’ op-ed also appears in a “San Diego Draft op-ed” distributed by Southwest Strategies, a consulting firm paid by the Japanese government to promote the TPP.”

Jerry Sanders: “Notably, the TPP includes Japan, which is significant”

Southwest Strategies: “Notably, the TPP includes Japan, which is critical”

Jerry Sanders: “Trade is essential for sustaining America’s role as the most innovative economy in the world”

Southwest Strategies: “Trade is essential for sustaining America’s role as the most innovative economy in the world”

Jerry Sanders: “With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of our borders, and with more than one in five U.S. jobs dependent on trade, it is essential that the U.S. continue to open new markets for American goods and services, while creating and sustaining jobs for American workers.”

Southwest Strategies: “With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of our borders, and with more than one in five U.S. jobs dependent on trade, it is critical that the U.S. continue to open new markets for American goods, intellectual property rights and services, and create and sustain high-skilled, high-wage jobs for American workers.”

Sanders is now president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Fang also cites a Los Angeles publication, The Rafu Shimpo’s op-ed “TPP Will Strengthen California’s Economy.” The president and CEO of the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce Pat Fong Kushida drafted this one, and a shorter version later appeared in the Sacramento Business Journal.

“Kushida’s pro-TPP column is word-for-word identical to a draft column distributed by Southwest Strategies,” Fang notes. “The only difference between the draft and the published op-ed are the verb tenses, such as changing ‘will be’ to ‘was’ and ‘addresses’ to ‘addressed.’”

Read Fang’s full report in the Huffington Post here.

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