Everyone, me included, has been polarized by Bridgegate and Governor Christie’s role in that debacle. And while New Jerseys nightmare does represent a microcosm of politics in America, it has become a wedge issue that is distracting us from a real threat to our country: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The TPP is being touted by Corporations who claim it will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs. IT WILL NOT. The TPP is a Trojan horse that seeks to usher in a backroom secret sweetheart deal for the global elite. Fast track avoids public debate- and would ask for an up or down yes vote from members of congress who have not yet read the agreement.
The TPP is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement. It would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder people’s abilities to innovate.
The twelve nations currently negotiating the TPP are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. The TPP contains a chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, patents and perhaps, geographical indications.
The total lack of transparency (the entire process has shut out multi-stakeholders participation and is shrouded in secrecy) is a sign that all is not as it should be. The TPP will not only hurt American jobs and the middle class, but it will harm workers around the globe. Jobs presently held by Americans will be shipped to countries like Vietnam where children are locked in sweat shops for hours on end working for 28 cents an hour – if they’re lucky. No EPA standards, no safety precautions or gear provided…all to make a little more profit for the already obscenely wealthy 1%.
Will President Obama approve the TPP? Does he want to or is he under pressure from Corporate powers and Wall Street? This agreement goes against everything he claims he stands for: lucrative jobs for Americans; security for the middle class; and a commitment to ‘Made in America’ products. President Obama’s central focus is supposed to be on stimulating economic recovery and helping America emerge a stronger and more prosperous nation. The current economic crisis is the result of many years of irresponsibility, both in government and in the private sector. This is an irresponsible agreement. We must confront the many dimensions of this crisis while laying the foundation for a new era of responsibility and transparency. The TPP will constitute a giant leap BACKWARDS in realizing these goals.
Although the President says he wants to create a new regulatory framework that holds market players responsible for their actions and stops fraudulent practices before they take hold, how can this be accomplished in an atmosphere that is shrouded in secrecy and negotiated behind closed doors?
Sadly, it seems the White House may be ready to backtrack on a series of critical regulations in order to secure a deal on the trade pact, including legally binding requirements for pollution limits, logging standards, and a ban on the harvesting of shark fins. The draft version of the “environmental chapter” also reveals that the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations that are party to the TPP would rely on trade sanctions instead of fines if a country violates its obligations. The Sierra Club claims if the draft report were to be finalized, “President Obama’s environmental trade record would be worse than George W. Bush’s.”
It’s not just Americans who oppose the TPP; Latin American countries are also speaking out against the TPP. Earlier this year, Rodrigo Contreras, Chile’s lead TPP negotiator quit in order to warn people of the dangers of the TPP – highlighting how big financial institutions will dominate their governments and how the TPP “will become a threat for our countries: It will restrict development options in health and education, in biological and cultural diversity, and in the design of public policies as well as the transformation of our economies. The TPP will generate pressures from increasingly active social movements, who are not willing to allow governments that accept an outcome of the TPP negotiations that limits possibilities to increase the prosperity and well-being of our countries.”
In the United States, cities and counties are beginning to pass TPP Free Zones, saying they will not obey the TPP if it becomes law. These local governments are concerned with provisions that would not allow them to give preference to buying local, buying U.S. made goods or other provisions that undermine their sovereignty.
According to Tom Donohue of the US Chamber of Commerce, Fourteen trade agreements have been stopped in the last 14 years and “the WTO has not concluded a single new multilateral trade agreement since it was created in 1995.” Mass protest against rigged corporate trade agreements can end the experiment in trade that puts profits ahead of the people and planet.
More than 150 Democrats in the House of Representatives oppose the use of outdated “Fast Track” procedures that usurp Congress’s authority over trade matters. The lawmakers’ opposition stands for both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and any future trade agreements.
President Obama, we beseech you: The United States cannot afford another trade agreement that replicates the mistakes of the past. We can and must do better.”
To get involved in the campaign to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership visit Flush the TPP.
Stop the Fast Track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement September 21, 2013
How TPP Will Gut Environmental Protection December 5, 2013
The TPP vs Democracy (Video) January 13, 2014
Read the Trans-Pacific Draft Trade Agreement Here November 13, 2013