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Tue Jul 3, 2012, 09:33 AM

'NAFTA on Steroids': The Trans-Pacific Partnership (Why didn't we know)

Published on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by The Nation
'NAFTA on Steroids': The Trans-Pacific Partnership
by Lori Wallach

The slight mainstream media coverage the TPP has received repeats the usual mantra: itís a free-trade pact that will expand US exports. But trade is the least of it. The United States already has free-trade agreements that eliminated tariffs with most TPP countries, which highlights the fact that the TPP is mainly about new corporate rights, not trade. Besides, under past free-trade agreements, US export growth to partner countries is half as much as to countries with which we do not have such agreements. Since NAFTA and similar pacts went into effect, the United States has been slammed by a massive trade deficit, which has cost more than 5 million jobs and led to the loss of more than 50,000 manufacturing plants.

How could something this extreme have gotten so far? The process has been shockingly secretive. In 2010 TPP countries agreed not to release negotiating texts until four years after a deal was done or abandoned. Even the World Trade Organization, hardly a paragon of transparency, releases draft negotiating texts. This means that although the TPP could rewrite vast swaths of domestic policy affecting every aspect of our lives, the public, press and Congress are locked out. Astoundingly, Senator Ron Wyden, chair of the Senate committee with official jurisdiction over TPP, has been denied access even to US proposals to the negotiations. But 600 corporate representatives serving as official US trade advisers have full access to TPP texts and a special role in negotiations. When challenged about the conflict with the Obama administrationís touted commitment to transparency, Trade Representative Kirk noted that after the release of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) text in 2001, that deal could not be completed. In other words, the official in charge of the TPP says the only way to complete the deal is to keep it secret from the people who would have to live with the results.

The goal was to complete the TPP this year. Thankfully, opposition by some countries to the most extreme corporate demands has slowed negotiations. Australia has announced it will not submit to the parallel corporate court system, and it and New Zealand have rejected a US proposal to allow pharmaceutical companies to challenge their government medicine formulariesí pricing decisions, which have managed to keep their drug costs much lower than in the United States. Every country has rejected the US proposal to extend drug patent monopolies. This text was leaked, allowing government health officials and activists in all the countries to fight back. Many countries have also rejected a US proposal that would forbid countries from using capital controls, taxes or other macro-prudential measures to limit the destructive power of financial speculators.

However, we face a race against timeómuch of the TPP text has been agreed on. Will the banksters, Big Pharma, Big Oil, agribusiness, tobacco multinationals and the other usual suspects get away with this massive assault on democracy? Will the public wake up to this threat and fight back, demanding either a fair deal or no deal? The Doha Round of WTO expansion, the FTAA and other corporate attacks via ďtradeĒ agreements were successfully derailed when citizens around the world took action to hold their governments accountable. Certainly in an election year, we are well poised to turn around the TPP as well.

To learn more and get involved, go to tpp2012.com.

MORE AT:

http://www.thenation.com/article/168627/nafta-steroids#

OR:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/07/03-0

9 replies, 1817 views

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Reply 'NAFTA on Steroids': The Trans-Pacific Partnership (Why didn't we know) (Original post)
KoKo Jul 2012 OP
xchrom Jul 2012 #1
Teamster Jeff Jul 2012 #2
enlightenment Jul 2012 #3
OnyxCollie Jul 2012 #4
truth2power Jul 2012 #5
fasttense Jul 2012 #6
Lydia Leftcoast Jul 2012 #7
rhett o rick Jul 2012 #8
BrendaBrick Aug 2012 #9

Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 09:37 AM

1. du rec. nt

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 09:51 AM

2. The extreme corporate demands rejected by other countries..

are all being pushed by the US

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 10:04 AM

3. I've been watching this for awhile,

since reading about it in the FT last year (here: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/47dd4d14-06cc-11e1-90de-00144feabdc0.html )

The secrecy is bad enough - the reasons why they are being so secretive are downright criminal.


Isn't transparency wonderful?

Thank you for posting - recommended.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 12:00 PM

4. K&R. nt

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 12:23 PM

5. I can only conclude that we are living under Sheldon Wolin's "Inverted Totalitarism",

where the face of Fascism is not political but corporate/economic.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 01:37 PM

6. If this becomes a treaty, say good bye to Farmer's Markets.

Under this T-peepee, encouraging the purchase of produce and crafts from local farmers, artisans and businesses would be illegal. Farmer's Markets would turn into outdoor Wal-Marts.

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Tue Jul 3, 2012, 03:33 PM

7. To answer the question in the headline: The Kardashians are more important

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Wed Jul 4, 2012, 05:53 PM

8. k&r

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Response to KoKo (Original post)

Sun Aug 19, 2012, 09:41 AM

9. Kicking

Also from the HuffPo article:

<snip>

That statement is belied somewhat by recent American efforts in other international negotiations to establish controversial medical patents that grant companies long-term monopolies on life-saving medications. Those monopolies increase drug prices, which impede access to medications, particularly in developing nations. The World Health Organization and dozens of nonprofit public health groups have objected to the standards sought by the Obama administration. Two United Nations groups recently urged global governments not to agree to trade terms currently being advocated by the Obama administration, on the grounds that such rules would hurt public health. (bold=mine)

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