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10 Shocking Realities of the TPP
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
Email: marc1seed (nospam) yahoo.com
09 Nov 2015
Finally, the text of the TPP has been released. It is not as bad as we expected – it is worse.
TPP No economic justice without trade justiceNow we see why the US Trade Representative and President Obama wanted to keep the TPP secret for four years after it was ratified. It if had not been for a very aggressive fight against fast track trade authority in which hundreds of thousands of people participated, we would not be seeing the text. One of the compromises they had to make in order to get just enough votes to pass fast track was to agree to release the text publicly for 60 days before Congress officially began to consider ratification.
Why did they want to keep it secret? Because they knew that if the people saw the text it had much less chance of becoming law.
2. Replaces Federal Courts With Kangaroo Trade Tribunals: TPP dramatically weakens Article III constitutional courts, the third branch of government, and replaces federal courts with corporate tribunals that are designed of, by and for foreign corporations. These trade tribunals will be corporate kangaroo courts with no standards for transparency or due process common in federal courts and courts in TPP countries. The “judges” will be three corporate lawyers who can also serve as advocates for corporations suing in the tribunals. This conflict of interest would not be unethical in federal courts. Thus there is an incentive for a “judge” to expand the power of corporations in their decisions, so they can then sue on behalf of corporations they represent. There is no appeal so these “judges” will not have their decisions reviewed. The tribunal has full discretion in determining how much governments must pay in damages, which can include “expected future profits.” Even when governments win, under TPP rules they can be ordered to pay for the tribunal’s costs and legal fees. It does not matter why a government put in place a new law, e.g. an environmental crisis, financial crisis or new health discovery is not relevant.
TPP equals toxic political poison3. Expands Trade Tribunals to Undermine Virtually Any Policy in the Public Interest: The TPP builds on the phony corporate court system, it doubles the number of corporations that could use this system to challenge U.S. policies by newly extending it to more than 9,000 firms operating in the United States. For the first time intellectual property terms and challenges to financial regulations can occur in the corporate tribunals. Under this tribunal system only foreign corporations can sue, US corporations do not have the right to sue so US corporations have less rights than foreign corporations. Unlike real court systems where people impacted can sue if they are damaged or unions can sue if workers are damaged or environmentalists can sue to protect the environment – under the corporate tribunal system only corporations and governments can sue.
4. Major Expansion of Immigration Causing Lower Wages: The new Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, claims that the TPP will have no impact on immigration. Now that the TPP has been released we can see this is an outright lie. The TPP does in fact deal with immigration. Chapters 10 and 12 will increase immigration by expanding the number of L1 worker visas and the number of tourist visas for business purposes. Under Chapter 10 foreign corporations can come to the United States to compete with US companies. These foreign corporations can bring their employees with them – they do not have to hire US workers or pay US wages. They will compete with US workers who are providing the same service, thereby displacing US workers and causing a downward spiral in wages. If the US does not allow foreign corporations entry into the US they can sue in the corporate trade tribunals and be forced to do so.TPP no climate justice without trade justice
5. Environmental Standards That Cannot Be Enforced: Environmental standards are written in very vague language making them impossible to enforce. For example the TPP says “Each Party shall strive to ensure that its environmental laws . . .” How do you enforce a standard that says “strive to” as the requirement? Or, each country agrees “to combat” trade in illegal lumber; another unenforceable phrase. Countries are required to “deter” illegal fishing. What does that mean? If they said “ban” illegal fishing you would have something enforceable but “deter” is too vague to enforce.
CLICK HERE TO SIGN a petition to Congress telling them to Stop the TPP
6. Prevent Legislation To Combat Climate Change: The greatest planetary crisis of our times is climate change. How many times in this nearly 6,000 page document is climate change mentioned? Zero. Not once. In fact the TPP will undermine climate change legislation and policy by encouraging more extreme extraction and export of oil and gas. It will give big oil the power to sue in corporate tribunals to prevent any laws written to prevent extraction in order to protect the Earth from climate change. And, corporate trade agreements will undermine any climate solutions that come out of the UN meeting in Paris. The TPP will be law and any climate agreement will not be able to be inconsistent with the rights of oil and gas to extract, export and profit from carbon polluting products.TPP No TOxic TPP meme
7. Unsafe, Inadequately Labeled Food: The TPP will undermine food safety as big agribusiness and food corporations had language included that will undermine U.S. food safety oversight and expose consumers to risky imported foods. Corporations can challenge border inspections by giving corporations new powers to second guess inspectors and push uninspected food onto the market. The US will also be required to accept foreign food safety standards that are weaker than US standards. TPP is the first trade agreement to provide specific biotechnology protections like GMO’s. Agribusiness and biotech seed companies can use trade rules to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling.
8. End of Buy America: No Preference for ‘Made In America’ products as the Federal Government cannot give preference to US products in their purchases, known as “Buy America.” Foreign bidders must be treated as equal to US bidders. This mean the federal government cannot stimulate the economy by creating jobs within its own borders but will be required to use their spending in ways that will create jobs in other countries. And, developing nations cannot use their limited funds to create jobs in their country but must be open to bidders from developed nations. The TPP requires negotiations within three years on applying these rules to state and local governments.TPP banging on USTR door
9. Open Internet Threatened: Internet service providers become copyright police enforcing expanded copyright laws with the power to take down websites or ISPs face high fines. Copyrights are expanded until 70 years after the death of the creator, keeping information, art and more out of the public domain. It does not include the “fair use” provisions of current copyright law. The TPP attacks whistle blowers by broadly criminalizing “trade secrets” and expands trade tribunals to allow corporations to sue for intellectual property damage. TPP poses a grave threat to our basic right to information and free speech on the web, and could easily be abused to criminalize common online activities and enforce widespread internet censorship.
TPP mass mobilization10. Threatens Public Health Systems Including Medicare and Medicaid: The TPP threatens health systems designed to serve the public interest like Medicare, Medicaid and single payer systems in other countries. It does so by giving greater power to pharmaceutical companies to influence the reimbursement costs for purchase of pharmaceutical drugs when even their advertising is included in the cost of the drug. TPP “recognize[s] the value” of pharmaceutical products or medical devices through their “objectively demonstrated therapeutic significance,” regardless of whether there are effective, affordable alternatives. TPP makes it much more difficult for Medicare to negotiate lower prices. The TPP also blocks generic drugs from entering the market by expanding patents from five years by allowing an additional three years for new forms, uses or methods of the drug.
These are just some of the reasons people are rising up against the TPP. A ‘movement of movements’ has developed that represents millions of Americans who oppose the TPP. This November 14 to 18 join us in Washington, DC as we protest to show the DC power structure our opposition to the TPP. And join us in telling the congressional leadership to stop the TPP by signing this petition. We can stop this disastrous trade pact if we rise up together and say ‘No’ to the TPP.
Kevin Zeese, @KBZeese and Margaret Flowers, @MFlowers8 co-direct Popular Resistance, @PopResistance.