The Trans- Pacific Parnership Trade Agreement

 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not just another international trade agreement.  It initially covers twelve countries and includes 40 % of the world Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 1/3 of world trade.  Negotiations for the TPP have been conducted in secret by delegates from the twelve countries and over 600 industry leaders.  At this point, no information on the negotiations has been officially released; however several chapters have been leaked.  Of the twenty nine draft chapters, only five are about trade issues.  These include proposals that give corporations power over many issues besides trade. 

Some of the leaked proposals include:

  1.  Job Loss - Special benefits to corporations to relocate investments and jobs to low wage countries.  Since NAFTA, the U.S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. 
  2. Corporate Power - Corporations could directly sue governments (including state and local) over laws and policies they claim would hurt expected future profits, be barriers to trade or cause lost profits.  This would include food safety regulations, labor laws and environmental issues.  Corporations could appeal these laws to a World Bank tribunal
  3.  Higher Medical Costs – Pharmaceutical companies want never ending patents to prevent generics and keep drug prices high.  They could challenge prices set by public health systems such as Medicare and Medicaid.
  4.  Internet Freedom – Give corporations 120 years on intellectual property they have created and give them the authority to monitor the Internet for violations.
  5.  Bankers - Roll back new regulations on banks and securities firms.
  6. Ban “Buy American” - Corporations operating in any TPP country would have equal access to U.S government contracts, which would eliminate “buy American” laws.

President Obama is asking for Fast Track or Trade Promotion Authority on the TPP.  This permits President Obama to negotiate and sign the TPP without Congressional approval or review.  Then Congress would only have an up or down vote on the TTP.  There would be no opportunity to hold hearings or amend the agreement in any way.

The Fast Track proposal for the TPP was introduced into both the Senate and the House on January 19, 2014. On January 29, 2014, Senator Harry Reid said TPP fast track would not be called up for a vote in the Senate. 

As of January 23, 2014, Senator Durbin has not taken a position and per his office is waiting to see what is in the final bill.  Senator Kirk has not taken a position on the TPP nor has Representative Peter Roskam or Randy Hultgren.

 White House) 202- 456-1111

Senator Dick Durbin (202-224-2152)

Senator Mark Kirk (202-224-2976)

Representative Peter Roskam (6th District) (202-225-4561)

Representative Randy Hultgren (14th District) (202-225-2976)

Websites for more information:

http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/3402#.UtwM87Tnb3Q

http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=183

http://wikileaks.org/

http://www.flushthetpp.org/

http://www.exposethetpp.org/

http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/trade-policies/tpp-potential-trade-policy-problems/

 Alene K Shaull

 


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