The Trans Pacific Partnership — TPP — (sometimes referred to as TPPA) is touted by the US government as a “Free Trade Agreement” but in reality it is intended to be a control mechanism of almost half the world’s population by multinational conglomerates, primarily American. I believe it is evil and it must be stopped.
Just after Obama’s second election as President, he traveled to Southeast Asia primarily to sell the TPP — Trans Pacific Partnership — to the governments on the other side of the Pacific. Getting this agreement launched — touted as a “Free Trade Agreement” — is a top priority for the US federal government, although it is having only a mediocre success to this point, it poses a great threat to America and to the world. On Obama’s 3-nation tour right after his recent re-election, the Cambodian government told the US to take a hike on their plan, the Thai government said they’ll think about it, and Myanmar government (eager to please those governments letting them into international trade) went for it.
Now, after about three months, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has indicated she will now support Thailand joining the TPP. Perhaps there was a lot of backroom negotiation going on between Thailand and the US over this “thinking about it” time period. Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, Canada, and the United States are the negotiating partners. China is a noticeable absence and not invited into this agreement, but the office of the United States Trade Representative has announced that it hopes that 40% of the World’s population will eventually be covered by this Agreement.
But what is there not to like? Free Trade Agreements on the surface are almost always a good thing. Breaking down barriers between trading partners is almost always a win-win proposition. The truth is that free trade is really a very small part of this agreement and it is actually designed to limit entrepreneurial freedoms in the partnership nations, which is something the mainstream press in the US fails to investigate and report (are they a branch of the US government?).
The term “free trade” (as in this “Free Trade Agreement”) would mean to most the opposite of “protectionism”. In reality, the TPP “Free Trade” Agreement is riddled with protectionism for large multinational businesses, primarily American internationals.
There is a little information coming out from alternative media in America and from the news media of other countries outside of the US, but not a lot. That’s because the terms of the agreement are kept secret. Not even members of the US Congress who will eventually have to ratify (or reject) the agreement for the United States has access to all the terms of the TPP. The TPP is so secretive that even Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate committee charged with jurisdiction over “trade” agreements like the TPP, has been blocked from reviewing the United States’ own negotiating proposals. All of the parties to the TPP have agreed that they will not make public any of their negotiating texts until four years after the deal has been concluded or abandoned!
If the TPP was simply a “Free Trade Agreement”, it could be done on a two page document. Country “A” will reduce tariffs to Country “B” or all members to the agreement for the following industry categories. That’s all it would take. Simple. The TPP, however, is a 160-page document that covers a great deal more that would alarm most people if they knew about it. What is in this massive free trade agreement that must be kept from scrutiny by those that will be affected by it?
There are 26 chapters to the current TPP agreement, and two of them deal with free trade. The other 24 chapters deal with extending restrictive intellectual property laws into its partner countries and rewriting international rules for their enforcement.
Leaked drafts of the Agreement reveal the negotiators’ plans to limit freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, as well as cripple individuals’ abilities to innovate. Copyright Infringement is currently a civil offense, settled in civil court with one party suing the “infringer” for damages. The TPP agreement is making copyright infringement a criminal offense! You can get more details about this aspect of the TPP from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website.
Some say that the TPP agreement will criminalize many of the regular activities we enjoy today on the internet. It will give media conglomerates more power to fine you for internet use deemed “illegal” under the TPP, remove online content or entire websites, or terminate your access to the internet. Have you been watching the ordeal of Kim Dotcom? He is a German national living in New Zealand that was snatched up by storm troopers and secretly extradited to the US to face charges of copyright infringements because he had a service that allowed others to move secure files across the internet. After spending millions in his defense he is winning his battle. Expect to see much more of this under the TPP.
Have you heard anything about this in the press?
The TPP also has new restrictions for “environmental controls”, a euphemism for creating new bureaucracies and garnishing more taxes from businesses.
According to Doctors Without Borders, “the U.S. is asking countries to create new, enhanced and longer patent and data monopoly protections for multinational pharmaceutical companies so they can keep competitors out of the market and charge higher prices for longer.” If this is true it could make the notorious system of drug approvals that the US has through the FDA the standard for all nations participating in the TPP. Lower costs for important drugs that are currently available in second and third world countries would vanish, making them equal to the extortion level costs in America.
California recently narrowly defeated the measure to label GMO foods, disappointing most people living there with at least a half a brain (big business bought that win against the people for sure). The TPP agreement will not allow GMO food labeling in any member nation (Monsanto and other evil companies will be very happy).
Hear anything about this in this free trade agreement from anywhere?
So “free trade” is not something that is free, it is requiring nations to make enormous sacrifices with greater control of business activity, criminal prosecution, and environment punishments coming from the big bully member, the United States of America, towards all of the smaller nation members. It has very little to do with trade and a lot to do with “control” and it is my opinion that nations should reject this intrusion into their sovereignty and Americans should demand transparency in their government.
Signatory Countries would be bound by the rules of the TPP in perpetuity, even when an elected government has a different mandate or new realities demand different policies, as it’s terms can be changed only with the consent of all countries involved. Goodbye national sovereignty.
TPP is a stealthy delivery mechanism for people-controlling policies that could not survive public scrutiny.
The TPP will hurt Americans as well as people from smaller nation states with greater controls placed on free trade from the US and likely a greater expense for consumers.
Looking at the brief history of American “free trade” agreements, few of them have resulted in the benefits touted by the US federal government. Remember NAFTA that was to make trade between Canada, Mexico and the US easy and result in huge increases in trade for all three partners? The real result was American and Canadian factories closed and moved production to the Mexican border where they could purchase labor at a lower cost, creating massive unemployment in the US (what ever happened to Detroit? Cleveland? St. Louis?), increasing the wealth of multinationals and all done with no positive effects for the American consumer. Some of the few examining TPP in the press have referred to TPP as “NAFTA on Steroids” (see Nation Magazine 16 July 2012)
The big question to me is “When will the United States of America cease being the world’s bully? Will they ever be satisfied sticking to American issues within their own borders, or will they always be forcing all other nations to conform to the standards of the US federal government?
For Asian countries, the TPP is competing with another agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that was initiated by China and the United States is not invited to participate. This agreement does not cover intellectual protections, environmental protections (and taxes) or loss of sovereignty. It is a much simpler agreement breaking down tariffs among Asian nations that participate. The United States is very much against nations joining this agreement that denies them access, but Thailand’s prime minister has decided to also support joining RCEP along with the TPP.