Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette
The government shutdown and the threat of default on debt payments kept President Barack Obama from attending the recent round of talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The president has hopes that it will be finished by the end of the year. Major corporations are urging the Pres. Obama not to “water down” the agreement which would put billions in their pockets sucking more money from the 99%, creating an even bigger income gap around the world. The TPP, which has been negotiated in secret since the Bush administration, would prioritize corporate rights over the rights of consumers and workers. In June, Rep. Alan Grayson was allowed to read the text of the TPP, that he described as “an anti-American power grab by big corporations”
The TPP is a large, secret trade agreement that is being negotiated with many countries in East Asia and South America.
The TPP is nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.” Now that I’ve read it, I can see why. I can’t tell you what’s in the agreement, because the U.S. Trade Representative calls it classified. But I can tell you two things about it.
1) There is no national security purpose in keeping this text secret.
2) This agreement hands the sovereignty of our country over to corporate interests.
3) What they can’t afford to tell the American public is that [the rest of this sentence is classified].
(Well, I did promise to tell you only two things about it.)
I will be fighting this agreement with everything I’ve got. And I know you’ll be there every step of the way.
Besides this agreement being labeled a secret except for the business insiders who are negotiating it, the corporations want Congress to “fast track” it’s approval which the president the ability to put an accord before lawmakers for an up-or-down vote. This would assure that the TPP would pass without congressional oversight. However, some lawmakers are balking, at not only fast tracking the agreement, but the agreement itself:
A growing chorus of lawmakers is calling for trade negotiators to address issues including currency manipulation, food-safety standards and competition with state-backed industries as the administration seeks “fast-track” authority to smooth eventual passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“I oppose fast-track authority like what we have had in the past,” Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, said on a conference call today with reporters. “We are not just here to rubber stamp what gets done” by trade negotiators, she said. [..]
Negotiations are “being done without sufficient input from members of Congress,” DeLauro said. Lawmakers should have more of a say because the TPP is a 21st century agreement that goes beyond traditional tariff deals, she said. The TPP would entail issues including environmental protection, Internet trade, access to medicines and market access for small businesses.
A bipartisan group of 60 senators — a bloc big enough to sink a trade accord — on Sept. 24 urged the administration to include provisions to prevent currency manipulation in U.S. free-trade agreements.
Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, joined Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman and Juan González to discuss how this corporate “Trojan Horse” would rewrite US laws and regulation
While the text of the treaty has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.“
The Electronic Freedom Foundation is fighting the fast tract of this agreement and calling for open congressional hearings.
President Obama was scheduled to meet with the leaders of the other eleven countries negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bali, supposedly to plan the “end-game” for this massive trade deal. However, he has made a sudden decision to cancel his trip, claiming that this was a casualty of the government shutdown. Obama’s announcement adds to the impression that goal of completing TPP at APEC has become unobtainable and reveal how precariously the negotiations are going.
There are reports that the remaining TPP country leaders who will be attending the APEC meeting will still be convening “with the aim of hammering out a framework.” As we’ve also previously mentioned, smaller issue-specific intersessional meetings have also grown more frequent and gone even further underground. So while the news of his trip getting cancelled is indeed welcome news, the TPP still could be signed even as its contents remain hidden from the public.
They also have website “Why the Heck Should I Care About the TPP?” which lets you click through different facts about the agreement and how it will impact us as users.
We here at Stars Hollow and Docudharma urge you to take action and demand Congress exercise their Constitutional authority to oversee the U.S. trade negotiations.