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Alternative Media Coverage of Trans-Pacific Partnership

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A variety of alternative media outlets are decrying the potentially devastating effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive trade agreement by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (an Executive Branch) among up to fourteen Pacific Rim nations guaranteeing special access to American imports in return for exports---the kinds of products which have closed down small to medium sized American businesses and manufacturers over the past two decades.

In fact, if it weren't for alternative news media such as Al Jazeera, Free Speech TV, or non-governmental organizations such as Public Citizen, few of us would even know about the existence of the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact and its presumed impacts.

Rabble.ca offers a succinct description:

As with past free trade agreements, the TPP would help multinational companies locate production across low-cost regions, with as few burdensome (to them) regulations, and as little competition from state-owned companies, as possible, and then import finished products, tariff-free, back into rich consumer countries. Get in the way of corporate plans, try to capture a bigger share of profits to put towards social priorities or programs, and face costly investor-to-state lawsuits under the TPP's planned investment protection chapter.

An op-ed pundit, The Daily Censored, comments on President Obama's omission of this important topic, including in the 2014 State of the Union Address:

First off, if Obama even uttered those three letters, his corporate backers [citizens] would have crucified him summarily....Imagine now if the President of the US uttered 'TPP', all hell would break loose. Americans would start asking questions--very dangerous prospects for the corporations.

However on page 2 of the Address, the President did hint at new partnerships:

Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America...new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs...

If President Obama is alluding to White House plans to "fast track" TPP, it is more than paradoxical. Like NAFTA or CAFTA, TPP will result in a net loss of decent union-wage jobs. For instance, small American entrepreneurs will fold under unmet loan obligations, even allowing for more growth in the rentier economy--with its attendant minimum wage service sector industry.

In Globalization of Poverty, economist Dr. Michel Chossudovsky details how the World Bank agenda of macroeconomic privatization has contributed to a new norm: political destabilization, currency devaluation, and the imposition of starvation loans in various countries around the world, including Vietnam and S. Korea.

The result is that state-owned enterprises and manufacturers in developing countries are snapped up by multinational corporations, banks, or vulture firms even while massive layoffs occur.

What is more, Chossudovsky stated:

Under NAFTA, American corporations can reduce their labor costs by more than 80 percent by relocating to or subcontracting in Mexico. This mechanism is not limited to manufacturing or to activities using unqualified labor: nothing prevents the movement of America's high-tech industries to Mexico where engineers and scientists can be hired for a few hundred dollars a month.

The list of Trans-Pacific Partnership corporate advisors who can access its text resembles a shortlist of societies and conglomerates: AT & T, ASME, Cargill, Chevron, Dow, Dupont, Ford, General Electric, Georgia-Pacific, Halliburton, Honeywell, McGraw-Hill, Pharmaceutical Research, National Corn Growers, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Verizon, Walmart, Weyerhauser, and so forth.

If only corporate giants didn't hide all their profits in offshore accounts, contributing to the U.S. public deficit, it wouldn't be so much a problem that the rights of smaller citizens even sovereign nations are now routinely derogated under those of corporate citizens belonging to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Instead, ordinary people are having to find out about TPP through leaked resources, a list of which is available at Public Citizen under "Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): Job Loss, Lower Wages and Higher Drug Prices"; through the protests of grassroots organizations from Occupy.com to Doctors Without Borders; or through a visit to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) website.

To summarize, if the TPP is slated to be signed without Congressional discussion if at all possible, something is definitely afoot. Rabble.ca states the case simply:

This is about corporate power and profits, not sustainable trade or jobs.

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