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None of the negotiations nor documents have been made public. Yet 600 corporate lobbyists have been named official ‘advisors,’ giving them access to both documents and negotiators. Some of the companies involved are Walmart, Cargill, and Chevron.
According to Citizens Trade Campaign, these corporate interests are seeking new access to cheap labor (Vietnamese workers are paid one-third that of Chinese workers), the ability to skirt environmental laws, longer drug patents (delaying the production of low-cost generic drugs), financial de-regulation (preventing regulations that could stave off ‘too big to fail’ bailouts), caps on food safety protections (ie – limit liability for pesticides and genetically modified foods), concentration and hence control of global food supplies (making ‘buy local’ initiatives harder), and tax advantages.
It is the Trans Pacific Partnership trade pact, only the TPP isn’t just a trade agreement. It slays safety regulations and labor protections, curtails communication freedoms, and re-writes domestic laws of the participating countries. It’s been called a mass assault on democracy and the biggest, most sinister corporate power grab yet.
Just this month (Sept.), the President pressured Congress to grant him extra-constitutional authority, known as “Fast Track,” to complete the TPP without congressional scrutiny.
“Fast Track” would have Congress voting up or down on the massive document without any power to discuss or amend any of it. This is an arcane procedure devised by Richard Nixon, according to Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, “but that was when trade negotiations covered only real trade stuff.”
ANYTHING THAT INTERFERES WITH PROFITS WILL BE FORBIDDEN
TPP will vaporize any law that interferes with making money. You might want to label the country of origin of a food item, for instance. Some Canadian beef got mad cow? No matter. They won’t label it Canadian. That would cut into the exporter’s profits. GMO? That would be discrimination. You prefer not to have your medicine from a Chinese factory. You won’t be able to know. Food and medicine that would formerly be blocked for not meeting our standards will have a red carpet.
Obama originally wanted to exempt tobacco regulations. Keep the warning labels. That has mostly gone by the wayside. Nations can now argue about tobacco regulations that hamper sales.
Doctors Without Borders has heard of TPP. Its members are doing the best they can to protest the plan. It promises to keep patents on medicines longer, which would make it harder to provide affordable drugs for impoverished countries and peoples
Here’s the analysis of Global Trade Watch:
“Under this proposal, Internet Service Providers could be required to “police” user activity (i.e.police YOU), take down Internet content, and cut people off from Internet access for common user-generated content. Violations could be as simple as the creation of a YouTube video with clips from other videos, even if for personal or educational purposes. Mandatory fines could be imposed for individuals’ noncommercial copies of copyrighted material. So downloading some music could be treated the same as large scale for profit copyright violations. Innovation would be stifled as the creation and sharing of user generated content would face new barriers and as monopoly copyrights would be extended. The TPP proposes to impose copyright protections for a minimum of 20 years for corporate-created content. Breaking digital locks for legit purposes, such as using Linux, could subject users to mandatory fines. Blind and deaf people also would be harmed by the overreach, as digital locks can block access to audio supported content and closed captioning.”
“I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it:
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way. For now, I’ve set up an e-mail address where you can ask me questions on this topic or other topics: firstname.lastname@example.org