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Hudson River Approves Resolution

Hudson River Presbytery Approves Resolution to Officially Oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

By Rev. Pamela Lupfer, Hudson River Presbytery

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Members of a coalition of labor, faith, environmental and community groups protest the Trans Pacific Partnership at a press conference in White Plains, New York. Photo courtesy of Wanda Van Woert.

At its July 2014 meeting, Hudson River Presbytery (HRP) unanimously approved a resolution to officially oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the massive global trade agreement currently under negotiation between the United States and eleven other countries.  The resolution represents over four years of work on issues of fair trade, extractive industries and environmental justice by the Peru Partnership of HRP.

Beginning in 2010, after ten members of the presbytery travelled to Peru to learn about the work of our mission partners there, Hudson River Presbytery’s Peru Partnership began working on issues of trade reform.  Our visit to La Oroya, Peru, the mining community in the Peruvian Andes that has suffered severe environmental damage and major health consequences resulting from a metallurgical smelting plant, opened our eyes to the devastating consequences of trade agreements that allow corporations to circumvent local environmental, health and labor laws. 

Together with the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery, the PCUSA Joining Hands office in Louisville, and our mission partners in Peru, including the Peru Joining Hands network Red Peruana Uniendo Manos Contra la Pobreza, we joined an international campaign to shed light on the negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

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Protesting the Trans Pacific Partnership at a press conference in White Plains, New York. Photo courtesy of Joe Mayhew.

Free Trade Agreements have impacted our mission partners in Peru and elsewhere in the world by allowing corporations to directly challenge government laws and regulations in international arbitration courts.  

The TPP will be the largest Free Trade Agreement in U.S. history, covering approximately 40% of the global economy, affecting not only tariffs and quotas, but also government procurement decisions, financial regulations, medicine patents, food safety standards, telecommunications policy, energy exports, Internet protocols, state sovereignty and more.

Over the past four years we have engaged Hudson River Presbytery on trade issues through educational seminars, letter writing campaigns, visits to our legislators, sermons, speakers and visitors from our Peru mission partners, and delegation trips to Peru. 

The resolution came out of our work with partner organizations including labor, environmental, community, and political groups that have formed a coalition to educate the general public and local legislators on the threats posed to our democracy by the Trans Pacific Partnership.


Wanda Van Woert, ruling elder at White Plains Presbyterian Church and delegate to the February 2014 delegation to Peru, shows her support for trade reform. Photo courtesy of Pam Lupfer.

As we, HRP’s Peru Partnership, began to speak in larger public forums with partner organizations, it became more important than ever to encourage the Presbytery as a whole to take action on trade reform.  It is HRP’s practice that advocacy on behalf of the Presbytery come out of a recommendation from our Congregation & Mission Ministry that has been discussed, debated and formally approved.  This process was initiated with a first reading of the TPP resolution at our May meeting and its approval at the July meeting. 

The resolution, below,  passed unanimously, demonstrating our strong support, and we hope it will increase awareness of these issues as we continue to work for trade policy that reflects God’s vision of justice for all people on earth.


TPP Resolution for Presbytery

The Congregation & Mission Ministry (CAMM) recommends that Hudson River Presbytery officially oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Whereas the PCUSA has stated in repeated General Assemblies[1] that corporations should not have the right to override the sovereignty of governments to regulate public health, labor rights, and environmental protections or to cause harm to indigenous communities or other vulnerable populations and that trade should function as a means of grace[2] to create dignified work that supports people’s lives, puts food on the table and undergirds the creation of a just society,

Whereas the Presbytery of Hudson River has a long-standing commitment to working against economic injustice, and for protection of the environment, workers’ rights, and democratic principles, and has supported global mission partnerships,

Whereas the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been negotiated in secrecy with almost no public access or review from Congress and would threaten environmental and food safety standards, regulation of the banking industry, democratic principles and the sovereignty of governments,

Therefore be it resolved that the Presbytery of Hudson River officially oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

[1]               PCUSA Resolution on Just Globalization, Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, 2006

[2]               Atle Sommerfeldt, Spirituality of Trade

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