Outdoor wear specialist Patagonia has voiced its opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, claiming it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses.

The proposed FTA, between 12 countries including the US, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore, may cut tariffs and increase trade, Patagonia says, but it will weaken worldwide labour standards, harm the global environment, and diminish regulatory safeguards. It will also, the company says, enable corporations and individuals that already have far too much influence to gain even more at the expense of everyone else.

In particular, Patagonia says the TPP lacks transparency and is influenced heavily by corporate lobbyists and lawyers representing those who stand to benefit most. It also promotes domestic exportation of liquefied natural gas, expanding the use of fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy, and defends labour standards but offers no new requirements for countries to enforce such standards among suppliers, it said.

"Beyond being in business to make money, we're a mission-driven company working to use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis," Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said. "We also seek to promote better, safer and healthier living and working conditions for the people who make our clothing and gear. And we want to see full transparency in the workings of business and government. We see none of those things in the Trans-Pacific Partnership."

Details of the proposed trade agreement were released last month, following five-years of negotiations.

Marcario added: "As Congress considers TPP, we must ask who benefits? Does it serve the many, in our country and abroad, or only a few - those who have the economic and political muscle to get their interests written, opaquely and without public oversight, into law? We oppose TPP because the costs for the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses would outweigh any potential gains. We encourage individuals to contact their elected representatives in Washington and voice these concerns."

The TPP, which was agreed in October, together represents around 800m people and 40% of global trade. For further insight into what the TPP might mean for textile and apparel imports into the US, click on the following link:

How TPP will change US textile and apparel tariffs