Trans Pacific Partnership
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug Prices
Have you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial "free trade" agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The TPP would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) "trade" pact model that has spurred massive U.S. trade deficits and job loss, downward pressure on wages, unprecedented levels of inequality and new floods of agricultural imports. The TPP not only replicates, but expands NAFTA's special protections for firms that offshore U.S. jobs. And U.S. TPP negotiators literally used the 2011 Korea FTA – under which exports have fallen and trade deficits have surged – as the template for the TPP.
In one fell swoop, this secretive deal could:
offshore millions of American jobs,
jack up the cost of medicines,
sneak in SOPA-like threats to Internet freedom,
expose the U.S. to unsafe food and products,
roll back Wall Street reforms,
ban Buy American policies needed to create green jobs,
and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards.
Although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.
The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the "expected future profits" they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies.
We only know about the TPP's threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 500 official corporate "trade advisors" have special access.
The TPP has been under negotiation for six years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal this year. The current emphasis is to gain so-called “fast track” approval which would mean that TPP would not be discussed in Congress but only voted on in a simple Yes-No vote. It is possible that the actual text and scope of the agreement would not be fully know until after the vote, if then. Opposition to the TPP is growing at home and in many of the other countries involved.
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