What Is The Trans-Pacific Partnership And Why You Should Care
A dozen Pacific Rim nations reportedly reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the secretive, US-orchestrated pact that seeks common standards among its members.
Opponents say the deal is more about consolidation of power than “fair trade.”
The largest global trade agreement in 20 years, the TPP includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These nations together comprise 40 percent of the global economy.
US President Barack Obama has promoted the deal as a way of solidifying economic relations between the United States and fast-growing Asian countries that surround China.
“TPP is good for American businesses and American workers…we will make the case on the merits as to why it will open up markets for American goods, American exports, and create American jobs,” Obama said in a statement on April 28.
The economic benefits of the deal will go to corporations, not workers in any of the participating nations, opponents say. Labor unions, among many others, have lined up to oppose the TPP based on concerns over a number of issues, including currency manipulation, environmental and health protections, food safety, pharmaceutical monopolies, offshoring of jobs, internet privacy, government transparency, and local control.
The deal has also been criticized for its lack of transparency, as the contents of the TPP have been kept in strict secrecy. Leaked drafts of TPP negotiations have suggested that corporations would be allowed to sue governments in private courts over lost profits due to regulation, elevating corporate entities to the status held by sovereign nations.
Opponents also say TPP is less about trade and more about geopolitical maneuvering and further corporate domination over participating nations’ trade and investment affairs.
“Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues,” according to Public Citizen, a government transparency watchdog that has followed the TPP. “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.”