Friday, November 22, 2013

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): A Corporate Power Grab Disguised As Free-Trade

Secret negotiations between the U.S. Government, “trade advisors” from roughly 600 U.S. corporations and 11 Pacific Rim countries are well underway to construct a trade agreement that, if it passes, threatens to undermine global food safety, millions of jobs, the health of the population, the environment and many of our constitutional rights. It’s worth mentioning the primary architects of this agreement are the usual suspects: Monsanto, Bank of America, Halliburton, Chevron, PHRMA and Wall Street finance companies. Another critical thing to mention is if the TPP passes, it will give corporations more power than governments. For example, the TPP could eliminate a government's prerogative to determine whether the mass export of natural gas to TPP countries (aka, “investor states”) - including Japan, the world's largest natural gas importer - is in the public interest. The resulting surge in natural gas exports would not only raise gas and electricity prices for consumers, but would ramp up the dangerous, chemical-laden practice of fracking, and the government and the citizens will not have a leg to stand on. Furthermore, through the "investor-state" system, the TPP would allow corporations operating in TPP countries to launch a case against domestic environmental laws that they see as restricting "expected future profits." In a nutshell, governments will be sued if they attempt to stop a corporation from directly polluting their resources and the corporation will be compensated for its loss by the tax-payers.
Foreign governments have already paid over $3 billion to foreign corporations in investor-state disputes under existing U.S. trade and investment deals. Understand, these rulings come from independent, “investor-state” tribunals and they override government court rulings.
As if making a conscious decision to poison and starve people to death by further destroying the environment and threatening global food safety isn’t enough, it will threaten jobs far beyond what NAFTA (North American Free-Trade Agreement) and the WTO (World Trade Organization) achieved. It’s been revealed that provisions will actually encourage corporations to off-shore more jobs by providing special privileges and eliminating the usual risks that would make a firm think twice before moving jobs to low-wage countries To quickly recap, nearly five million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since implementation of the NAFTA and the WTO. Since NAFTA, over 60,000 American manufacturing facilities have closed. The TPP would replicate and expand on the NAFTA model. The suggestion that TPP will encourage job growth is a blatant lie and we have the repercussions of NAFTA and the WTO to validate this. What it will do is further reduce wages, devastate the tax base which has a direct, negative impact on funding social services and infrastructure, and escalate inequality.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. The TPP threatens public health and access to pharmaceuticals, financial regulations, internet freedom, workers’ rights and any hope for democracy. All of this is being done in secret with the entire text and negotiation process being done behind closed doors, away from the public and away from Congress. The push by the Executive Powers to Fast-Track the TPP adds to just how severe a threat this is. If Fast Track passes, it will allow the Executive powers to frame this agreement with no input from Congress, leaving them to simply vote up or down, meaning there will be no revisions or amendments.
It’s imperative for every American to contact their representatives, immediately and demand they vote NO to Fast Track and NO to the TPP. To find your representative:
To find out more about the TPP and what you can do to stop it, visit

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