Activists, union advocates, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, and the Denver Justice and Peace Committee (DJPC) have been speaking out against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The DJPC has been urging the community to call local representatives and senators and ask them to deny Trade Promotion Authority (formerly known as Fast Track) and to allow real debates against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
“Even as we protect our people, we should remember that today’s world presents not only dangers, but opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”
The TPP has been referred to NAFTA on steroids because it would give corporations power over government regulations. Criticisms of the TPP is that many of the negotiations have been conducted in secrecy. Al Jazeera reported that the only public access to the TPP has come from leaked reports. Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch explained that one of the many dangers of the proposed trade agreement is that, “Mining and oil companies will escape responsibility for damages.” Trade specialist from The American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) explained to Al Jazeera that the TPP did not adequately protect labor rights, environmental rights, or human rights.
In a personal correspondence with Executive Director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, Arthur Stamoulis stated:
“President Obama claims that the TPP will create jobs, but the legacy of similar trade agreements has been job destruction. Most recently, the White House promised the public that the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement would boost exports and create jobs, but thus far exports are down and the bilateral deficit is up under that pact. There's zero indication that the administration has taken that lesson to heart. In fact, leaked documents suggest that the TPP could expand some of the worst offshoring incentives found in NAFTA.
“The President's trade agenda undercuts a big chunk of the positive proposals he presented in his State of the Union address, such as reinvigorating domestic manufacturing, promoting family-wage jobs and combatting climate change.
“Congress should refuse fast tracking the TPP, and instead use its constitutional authority to enact mandatory negotiating requirements that transform trade policy into a vehicle for creating jobs and improving living conditions in the United States and beyond.”
The 16th round of the TPP negotiations will take place in Singapore in March. The Obama administration has stated it wants to conclude TPP negotiations by Oct. 2013.
- Corporations could challenge laws that protect labour, consumers, the environment or food safety if they interfere with corporate profits
- It would extend pharmaceutical patents that keep competitors out of the market and allow pharmaceutical companies to keep costs high and limit poorer nations' capacity to afford life-saving generic medicines
- It shields foreign investment capital from domestic laws, essentially deregulating big finance even further at a time when there are calls for more regulation
- It will also undermine internet privacy rights by forcing service providers to hand over private internet data without private safeguards and restrict internet freedom of speech by criminalising some web activities that are now considered commonplace