The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the latest concept in advancing the biggest, potentially most destructive corporate trade agreement ever. It’s been called “NAFTA on steroids” because it dwarfs the North American Free Trade Agreement in scope and impact. Protestors have renamed TPP to “Trading People for Profits” and made demands to “Flush the TPP!”
January 1, 1994 marked the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, yet you rarely hear politicians touting its glory. Groups like Pubic Citizen have tracked and exposed NAFTA’s failures. We can start with the one million U.S. jobs lost, a flood of unsafe imports, a decrease in wages, an increase in wage inequality and a staggering $181 billion U.S. trade deficit with NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada.
All this and more happened with just two countries! TPP includes 11 countries.
The economic power of the partners is 40 percent more than the European Union. If ever there was a plan toconsolidate corporatocracy, this is it. Corporations operating in the countries of the TPP will have the right to sue those governments and other entities in private tribunals if those corporations believe the ability to make unfettered profits are being stifled by regulations and laws of the host country.
The TPP has been developed over the last three years via a secret process and is scheduled for Fast Track, thereby bypassing democratic review and public scrutiny. The full text of the trade agreement is unknown to all except the national negotiating teams and the 600 corporate “advisors” who have been unsurprisingly mum on the details. There have been enough leaks to give us a peep about what’s planned. Last week Wikileaks dropped chapters from the plan devoted to the environment and intellectual property.
Our Congress, as impotent as it is, doesn’t even have the TPP documents. Local opponents have been pushing U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay to take a firm stand in the pushback. Darryl Piggee, the congressman’s chief of staff, told me Clay is trying to support President Obama on this one. President Obama, with vanishing transparency advocacy, is supporting TPP. Still, Clay was one of 130 Democratic members of Congress who signed off on a letter to Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk asking for transparency.
Fair-minded citizens must keep our processes open and transparent and keep the pressure on our elected officials to put TPP under a microscope. There are many issues to take into consideration when you have to navigate through the laws, customs, cultures and histories of peoples in 11 different countries.
Forward-thinking people in the U.S. have natural allies in New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada because we have a common enemy. Those who produce the labor that produces the wealth have the power to stop the theft of wages, land and other resources.
The Trans Pacific Partnership is no friend to those working the land or working in the factories. We’ve seen a dozen of such trade agreement movies and we don’t like the endings. Let’s flush the TPP.