It’s common practice in Washington, DC for people who hold a position in public office to migrate to the private sector. Many of these people use their influence in the government to profit from decisions made by their connections and nearly two weeks ago the Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade joined the game. Daniel Weitzner, a former White House deputy chief technology officer for Internet policy, is now advising the new group and his power could change the way the Internet is regulated. (RT America)
Have you heard of the Trans-Pacific Partnership? The lobbyist-penned trade deal that could give global corporations the right to sue America for getting in the way of their profits? It’s largest than NAFTA and Obama is a fan. This episode features well-known activists Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been lauded by U.S. officials as the 21st Century version of the Free Trade Agreement. However, many of the talks remain behind closed door so the details of the agreement are murky at best. But leaked documents are beginning to paint a grim picture when it comes to Intellectual Property rights. Doctors Without Border recently released a report detailing how these talks could endanger millions of people’s lives by extending drug patent rights for pharmaceutical companies. RT Correspondent Meghan Lopez details six ways that company profits could interfere with public health when it comes to the TPP.
Abby Martin speaks to the legislative representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Mike Dolan, about the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama administration’s efforts for a new trade agreement with the EU, and the negative implications of said agreements.
US trade Representative Ron Kirk has announced he’ll be stepping down. During his time in the office he has overseen one of the most significant trade negotiations in recent history – the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Now his office has made an assurance that despite his departure the TPP talks will continue. Celeste Drake, trade and globalization policy specialist for the ALF CIO.
Dragging Secretive Trade Talks Into the Light: Activists Expose Slow-Motion Corporate Coup ~ Lori Wallach
By Lori Wallach
While the election season seized everyone’s attention, government officials and 600 official corporate “advisors” were working behind closed doors to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Negotiations have been cloaked in unprecedented secrecy and its proponents have mislabeled the TPP as a “free trade” agreement. In reality, the TPP is about much more than trade. It threatens a stealthy, slow-motion corporate coup d’etat, formalizing and locking in corporate rule over most aspects of our lives.
Thirteen years ago, at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Seattle Ministerial, a similar threat in the form of a massive expansion of the powers and scope of the WTO was stopped.
At the Battle in Seattle, the immovable object called grassroots democracy was victorious over the allegedly unstoppable force of corporate-led globalization. The “Doha Round,” which followed two years later and continued the attempt to expand the WTO’s reign, was also derailed thanks to tenacious campaigning by organizations and activists worldwide.
Recalling these historic moments, when people power stopped the dangerous expansion of corporate power, is especially sweet today, when we must again act to safeguard these inspiring victories. All of us who will live with the results must become active to stop the TPP, the latest iteration of corporate coup via “trade” agreement.
What Would the TPP Do?
Eleven countries are now involved—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States—and there is an open invitation for more to join. Think of the TPP as a NAFTA on steroids, which could encompass half of the world.
This is the largest, most potentially damaging agreement since the 1995 establishment of the WTO. And you may never have heard about it before. That’s because the negotiations, which have been underway for three years, are being conducted in extreme secrecy. The public, Congress, and the press are locked out, but the 600 official corporate advisors have access to the negotiating texts.
The TPP is the latest strategy by the same gang who got us into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and pushed for the expansion of the WTO: American job-offshorers like GE and Caterpillar; banksters like Citi; pharmaceutical price-gouging giants like Pfizer; oil, gas, and mining multinationals like Chevron and Exxon; and agribusiness monopolists like Cargill and Monsanto.
They’ve misbranded the TPP as a model 21st-Century “trade” deal to try to sell it with the usual false promises of it expanding exports. But only two of the TPP’s 29 chapters are about “trade.”
Most of the TPP’s proposed provisions instead comprise a corporate power grab. The TPP would include extreme protections for foreign investors, which would help corporations offshore American jobs to low-wage countries. These terms would require governments to provide foreign investors a guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” when they relocate, including special privileges and rights that domestic firms and investors do not enjoy. Foreign firms—or foreign subsidiaries of U.S. firms—could extract unlimited amounts of taxpayer money as compensation when investors claim that U.S. government actions undermine a corporation’s expected future profits. Seriously.
In 2008, the United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab announced the U.S. entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks as “a pathway to broader Asia-Pacific regional economic integration.” Originating in 2005 as a “Strategic Economic Partnership” between a few select Pacific countries, the TPP has, as of October 2012, expanded to include 11 nations in total: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, with the possibility of several more joining in the future.
What makes the TPP unique is not simply the fact that it may be the largest “free trade agreement” ever negotiated, nor even the fact that only two of its roughly 26 articles actually deal with “trade,” but that it is also the most secretive trade negotiations in history, with no public oversight, input, or consultations.
Since the Obama administration came to power in January of 2009, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has become a quiet priority for the U.S., which overtook the leadership role in the “trade agreement” talks. In 2010, when Malaysia joined the TPP, the Wall Street Journal suggested that the “free-trade pact” could “serve as a counterweight to China’s economic influence,” with Japan and the Philippines both expressing interest in joining the talks.
In the meantime, the Obama administration and other participating nations have been consulting and negotiating not only with each other, but with roughly 600 corporations involved. The TPP is accelerating the most dangerous free market policies of previous U.S. administrations, bestowing unprecedented powers and privileges upon Trans-National Corporations (TNCs) while dismantling regulations and laws without any democratic oversight or input.
This three-part investigative series examines the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a legally binding trade agreement for advancing transnational corporate tyranny and dismantling domestic democratic accountability.
Jobs. That is the issue in the election – at least that is the issue Obama and Romney are focused on – who will create more jobs for a country in desperate need of them. During his convention speech, President Obama mentioned jobs 19 times, Romney did so 16 times. Obama promised a future where the U.S. will “outsource fewer jobs.” Of course, Romney is known as someone who made hundreds of millions by outsourcing jobs. Former President Clinton put forth a job scorecard, arguing Obama and the Democrats will create more jobs.
Neither candidate is arguing for a New Deal style government jobs program. Both are relying on private industry to create jobs. But, big business profits by spending less on labor. While in the spotlight of the convention, Obama is critical of jobs being sent overseas but at the same time his U.S. trade representative, Ron Kirk, who works out of the executive office of the president, is negotiating a secret treaty behind closed doors – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – known as ‘NAFTA on steroids’. This is a corporate trade agreement that will result in massive outsourcing of jobs.’
In 2008, candidate Obama (along with candidate Hillary Clinton) promised that as president he would renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico with new terms favorable to the United States. He even threatened to leave NAFTA saying “we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage . . .” Not only did he and his secretary of state fail to renegotiate NAFTA, but now they are negotiating the largest corporate trade agreement in history that will outsource jobs, lower wages and undermine, environmental, consumer and labor laws. People on the right who are worried about the New World Order and on the left concerned about corporate power should all be concerned about the TPP – a global corporate coup.
Remember the impact of NAFTA, a report by the Economic Policy Institute summarizes the effects: “Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed in 1993, the rise in the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico through 2002 has caused the displacement of production that supported 879,280 U.S. jobs. Most of those lost jobs were high-wage positions in manufacturing industries. The loss of these jobs is just the most visible tip of NAFTA’s impact on the U.S. economy. In fact, NAFTA has also contributed to rising income inequality, suppressed real wages for production workers, weakened workers’ collective bargaining powers and ability to organize unions, and reduced fringe benefits.” Every state in the nation lost jobs as a result of NAFTA.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership will do even more harm to U.S. employment. The treaty is being negotiated in secret by the United States Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. The TPP contains an unusual provision, a docking agreement, which allows other countries to join. Right now, the U.S. is attempting to bully smaller, economically desperate countries with a few allies joining. This October Canada and Mexico will be part of the TPP, but only after key sections are negotiated without them. Later, Japan and China will likely join but it will not stop there. The TPP could set the standard for worldwide trade – a major reshuffling of our social contract without our participation.
In comparing job loss from NAFTA to the TPP Economy in Crisis reports the “negative effects may seem small compared to the damage the TPP could do. Free trade has allowed companies to seek out the lowest standards in wages and regulatory conditions, and the TPP would give these companies even more low-wage, low-regulation countries to do business in. Americans will either have to lose their jobs, or be willing to work in horrendous conditions for little pay.”
It is obvious how the TPP will result in lost jobs and lower wages for Americans. When you are creating a corporate trade agreement with a country like Vietnam, where the CIA estimates the GDP per capita was $1,400 in 2011 compared to the U.S. where it is $48,400. There is no question that transnational corporations will go to a country where they can pay pennies on the dollar for labor. There is no way for U.S. workers to lower their wages enough to compete.
If virtual free labor is not enough reason, the Citizens Trade Campaign reports that “provisions of the TPP would grant transnational corporations special authority to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems.” Here’s the way it will work: if a country has an environmental law that will cost a corporation $50 million in profits over five years, the corporation can sue to have the country pay the corporation for those lost profits. And, to ensure the outcome the corporation wants, the members of the tribunal – the judges – will for the most part be corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate job. The TPP has no provisions regarding conflicts of interest. Special corporate courts that allow corporations to avoid paying for environmental damage, health care, pensions or salaries for workers or other laws and regulations combined with pennies on the dollar labor ensure a massive exodus of jobs from the United States.
The TPP is building on a corporate court system that has been developing in other trade agreements but the TPP goes further by giving corporations the right to sue governments. The impact of these trade tribunals has already been significant, as Global Trade Watch reports: “Over $350 million in compensation has already been paid out to foreign investors in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA-style deals. This includes attacks on natural resource policies, environmental protection and health and safety measures, and more. In fact, of the over $12.5 billion in the 17 pending claims under NAFTA-style deals, all relate to environmental, public health and transportation policy – not traditional trade issues.” Thus foreign firms will have an advantage over domestic corporations that have to pay to obey environmental and other laws. This will make competition impossible and result in making laws designed to protect the environment, workers and consumers more difficult to enact.
One recent notorious case involved a judgment of an international tribunal convened under the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty. The trade tribunal ordered Ecuador to stop enforcement of an $18-billion judgment against Chevron to pay for three decades of pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon. This is one example of how unaccountable corporate panels, from which no outside appeal is available, empower corporations to skirt real courts. The TPP entrenches laws that have already undermined consumer health and safety policies, environmental and land-use laws, government procurement decisions, regulatory permits, intellectual property, financial regulation, and more.
The TPP negotiation is being conducted in secret, indeed Senator Wyden could not even get copies of the U.S. proposals. Of course it is not a secret to transnational corporations as there are 600 corporate advisers helping to write this corporate trade agreement who have real time access to the text as it is being negotiated.
The little that has been leaked makes it obvious why the trade pact is being negotiated in secret. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk admitted as much when he told MSNBC that in previous negotiations when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released, it became impossible to finish the deal. But, isn’t this a democracy where the people rule? If a proposed law is unpopular – as this one definitely would be – it should not become a law. The fact that negotiators insist on secrecy is a warning that this is a proposal bad for the people and the planet.
On Sunday, I attended the “stakeholder” meeting in Leesburg, VA where public comment was allowed. It was one of those all-too-common situations where the government allows the public to speak and ask questions and the government gives vague, non-answers. Due to the leaks of portions of the TPP there were specific questions about many issues. Concerns are growing. On healthcare the United States is advocating protecting the profits of Big Pharma at the expense of people’s health by extending patent protections which keeps drug prices artificially high. As Judit Rius, the U.S. manager of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicine Campaign said that “Bush was better than Obama on this. It’s pathetic, but it is what it is. The world’s upside-down.” Environmentalists are worried about the impact on the environment, as Margrete Strand Rangnes, director of Labor and Trade for the the Sierra Club said the “investment chapter would severely undermine attempts to strengthen environmental law and policy.” The Electronic Freedom Foundation has raised concerns about Internet Freedom being undermined by the TPP.
When I spoke at the stakeholder meeting, I focused on the overall direction of putting corporate profits before human needs, making corporations more powerful then governments and undermining democracy. The lack of transparency and the corporate courts are two examples, but the process of congressional review will also undermine democracy. The Obama administration is expected to avoid debate, committee hearings and amendments in Congress by ‘fast tracking’ the legislation. I asked the U.S. Trade Representative if the administration would agree to committee hearings and full debate in Congress since the U.S. was a democracy. She refused to make that commitment. They know that if the TPP is debated it will not become law as it only serves the interests of transnational corporations and undermines the interests of everyone else.
It was President Clinton who signed the disastrous NAFTA into law, and propagandistically-called “free trade” has been in the Democratic Party Platform since 2000. Of course, it is also supported by the Republican Party. Indeed, at the 2012 Democratic Convention free trade lobbyists had a very strong presence. One investigative report found “a brigade of free trade lobbyists were among the cadre of influential people behind the parties at the DNC.” So, while President Obama says he will stop outsourcing, in fact he is negotiating a treaty that will do the opposite – remember he also said he opposed NAFTA in 2008.
Obama is taking corporate trade to new levels, as his trade representative, Ron Kirk, is proposing some of the worst aspects of the TPP – the increased jurisdiction of corporate trade tribunals, the lack of regulation for banks and financial institutions and the extension of patents to protect drug profits. It is no wonder, especially during an election year, that the TPP and especially the U.S. proposals are being kept secret. The president does not want the public to know that what he is saying in the spotlight of the campaign trail is the opposite of what he is negotiating behind closed doors on behalf of his corporate donors.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s swing through Asia has been marked by a revelation in Beijing: the source of all China’s problems with its neighbors is the United States. A Xinhuaeditorial paints the United States as a “sneaky trouble maker sitting behind some nations in the region and pulling strings.” In the Global Times, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar Ni Feng states that the U.S. pivot is “stirring up tensions between China and its neighbors”; while Renmin University scholar Jin Canrong argues that Washington aims to “dominate the region’s political agenda, and build a Trans-Pacific Partnership that excludes China, as well as further consolidate its military edge.”
Fortunately, these same media and analysts have a relatively simple answer to the problem: the “U.S. owes China convincing explanation of true intentions of its Asia Pivot policy”; the United States needs to prove that it is “returning to Asia as a peacemaker, instead of a troublemaker”; and a real zinger from the Global Times, “We hope Clinton can reflect upon the deep harm she is bringing to the Sino-U.S. relationship in the last few months before she leaves office and try to make up for it.”
If only it were that simple. Unfortunately, when the problem is misstated, the solution is likely to be as well. China’s problems in the region do not originate with the United States but with China’s own interactions with its neighbors. Some context might help:
First, take the South China Sea, perhaps the source of Beijing’s greatest concern at the moment. Tensions in the region—particularly between China and Vietnam and China and the Philippines—have been heightened over the past year. However, conflict between China and its neighbors (as well as among the neighbors themselves) in the South China Sea has been a fact of life for almost forty years. The year-old U.S. pivot did not create the problem nor did it exacerbate it. U.S. policy has been consistent. In 1995, Washington explicitly supported the 1992 ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea, as well as any diplomatic effort to resolve competing claims peacefully. More than 15 years later, Secretary of State Clinton articulated U.S. policy as follows: “The United States does not take a position on competing territorial claims … but we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation and certainly without the use of force. That is why we encourage ASEAN and China to make meaningful progress toward finalizing a comprehensive code of conduct in order to establish rules of the road and clear procedures for peacefully addressing disagreements.”
Second, the United States is not a puppet master, “sitting behind other countries” and “pulling strings.” Countries in Asia are replete with intelligent leaders and diplomats. They are fully capable of debating the issues surrounding the U.S. pivot and making their own decisions about how to interact with China and the United States. The Philippines kicked the United States out of Subic Bay two decades ago; if it now wants to allow some U.S. submarines to dock there, China should take a step back and ask itself what prompted the Philippines to shift its policy.
Third, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not a plot against China; negotiations for the agreement started in 2007, well before the current tensions and the pivot (the original negotiations did not even include the United States). The TPP is an effort by the United States to realize the economic benefits of deeper engagement with the most economically robust region in the world—much in the same way that China has done for decades. Moreover, China is welcome to join the TPP under precisely the same conditions as any other member, the United States included. People can disagree about the merits of the TPP, but it represents a recognition of past failings of U.S. trade and economic policy, not an effort to box out China.
Fourth, security relationships in Asia are not exclusionary. China and the United States each have military-to-military relations with a wide range of countries throughout Asia (including with each other), and those countries have security ties among themselves that engage neither Washington nor Beijing. Moreover, China increasingly has military ties throughout the world. In the United States’ backyard, for example, China hosts military personnel from at least eighteen Latin American countries and sells arms to countries such as Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The United States clearly can’t define the terms of engagement for its neighbors, and China shouldn’t attempt to do so in its neighborhood.
China spent more than thirty years earning the respect and admiration of its neighbors for its economic accomplishments, for its repeated emphasis on “win-win” solutions, and for serving as an important engine of growth in the region. What is causing consternation in the region now is not change in U.S. policy but more assertive Chinese rhetoric and military maneuverings. Once Beijing can acknowledge the real source of its problem, it has the opportunity to identify the correct solution. It is not about the United States assuaging Chinese concerns; it is about China assuaging the region’s concerns.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “is a key trade initiative” that the Obama administration claims is “seeking to support jobs for American workers by boosting American exports to the dynamic Asia-Pacific region, promote manufacturing, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and at the same time, reflect in the agreement important values on key issues such as worker rights and the environment.”
However, the agenda of the TPP is a securitization of customs and border patrol services, telecommunications, corporate competition policy that directly effects immigration, corporate investments, and the addition of intellectual property rights with focus on copyright limitations.
The TPP, held in secret, is in actuality a multi-national trade agreement that seeks to extend intellectual property rights across the globe; creating an international enforcement scheme.
Have you heard about the small U.S. government agency engaged in years of closed-door negotiations that could undermine the Obama administration’s declared goals of creating jobs, reregulating the financial sector and lowering healthcare costs?
With the direct participation of 600 corporations and shocking levels of secrecy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is rushing to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Branded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate proponents, TPP largely has evaded public and congressional scrutiny since negotiations were launched in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration.
But trade is the least of it. Only two of TPP’s 26 chapters actually have to do with trade. The rest is about new enforceable corporate rights and privileges and constraints on government regulation. This includes new extensions of price-raising drug patent monopolies, corporate rights to attack government drugformulary pricing plans, safeguards to facilitate job offshoring and new corporate controls over natural resources.
Also included are severe limits on government regulation of financial services, zoning and land use, product and food safety, energy and other essential services, tobacco, and more. The copyright chapter poses many of the threats to Internet freedom of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which was stalled in Congress under intense public pressure.
The proposed pact is so invasive of domestic policy space that it would even limit how governments can spend tax dollars. Buy America and other Buy Local procurement preferences used to reinvest our tax dollars in the American economy would be banned and sweat-free, human rights or environmental conditions on government contracts would be subject to challenge in closed-door foreign tribunals.
Indeed, signatory countries would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to TPP’s rules, effecting a quiet corporate coup d’état. And, regardless of election outcomes or changes in public opinion, these extreme rules could not be altered without the consent of all signatory countries. Failure to conform to these rules would subject countries to indefinite trade sanctions.
A recent leak of one of TPP’s most controversial chapters reveals that the pact would elevate individual corporations and investors to equal status with sovereign nations to privately enforce this treaty.U.S. negotiators are among the greatest champions of this “investor state” enforcement system. It would give any foreign firm incorporated in any TPP country new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges.
After Obama’s election, U.S. trade officials were instructed to withdraw from the TPP negotiations Bush had launched – supposedly to sort out a new approach that implemented candidate Obama’s campaign commitments to fix the damaging old NAFTA model. But after a kabuki dance of ears-closed check-the-box “consultations” with a minimal number of congressional representatives and civil society groups, Obama’s trade officials picked up where Bush left off. Actually, they doubled down — pushing even more extreme positions than the Bush administration on issues like Internet freedom and access to medicines.
For over two and a half years, the global Elite have been negotiating an agreement that would define the global corporate police state in remarkable detail. The purpose of the agreement is to implement corporate dominance over not only our Constitutional Republic, but other sovereign nations.
The inception of over-reaching international laws, rules and regulations which benefit the technocratic takeover of any federal, state or local laws in any town, city, state, or nation.
The agreement encompasses over 20 areas of corporate activity, such as:
• Intellectual property
• Industrial relations
The buzz term “free trade” aligns this agreement in the reality of conceptualizing corporate privileges and rights while simultaneously restricting those in place for governments and individuals.
Ron Kirk, US Trade Representative (USTR) describes the TPP as a “living agreement” that allows for the changes in “trade issues emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.”
Contextually speaking the recent development of draconian legislation that has graced the floor of the Congress and passed onto being signed into law by President Barack Obama, has painted a clear picture.
Corporate global governance with an army of police and law enforcement officials that stonewall rebellion and assist in the transition from our once free society to a nightmare Orwell once imagined.
All modes of facilitation of freedom are being reworked to serve the trans-national corporation, international governances and the global Elite.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the brainchild of the United Nations, as it clearly resembles other globalist “free trade” agreements.
As defined in TPP, recognizable courts will be replaced by a UN style three attorney tribunal where conflict of interest does not preclude participation. Nations could be dragged into this tribunal with the use of taxpayer money. Multi-national corporations will use these re-appropriated funds to cover costs for adherence to environmental regulations. These regulations will be UN mandates as defined by their Agenda 21 Sustainable Development scheme which transforms local governments into empty fronts for the global Elite.
The banking cartels would have free reign to continue their derivatives bets without the threat of government regulation. The tribunal would burden governments with proving unequivocally that the technocrats were intentionally thwarting the global and national financial markets. Without that, they would have no governing authority or legal recourse.
In anticipation of these new regulations and tribunals, corporations have received over $350 million for zoning laws, toxic bans, logging regulations and other rules.
This international tribunal of multi-national corporations mandate binding arbitration that overrides the rulings of the US Supreme Court. Essentially, the individual’s right to legal recourse against the actions of any corporation will be rescinded under this private corporate judicial system.
International tribunals governing over corporate actions and required arbitration where the monetary responsibility falls to the taxpayers facilitates not only a conflict of interest but severely restricts the ability to appeal the tribunal’s decision.
Within the TPP, tribunals are defined as having authority over corporate trade and cash sanctions; that are transferred tax-money into the off shore accounts of multi-national corporations.
Under TPP, corporations have unilateral rights that become encompassing not only within the international laws, but regulate national sovereignty by constant threat of taking a country to tribunal “court” and charge the accused nation the costs of the bending arbitration. When an independent nation is leery of approving legislation because the international community and multi-national corporations can file lawsuits on a whim, the foundation of a global corporatocracy has been laid.
According to Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch : “These agreements are a little bit like Dracula. You drag them in the sunshine, and they do not fare well. But all of us, and also across all of the countries involved, there are citizen movements that are basically saying that this is not in our name. We don’t need global enforceable corporate rights. We need more democracy. We need more accountability.”
Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Trade Committee (STC), has voiced his concerns about the secrecy of the negotiations surrounding the TPP.
Wyden lacks proper security clearance to “documents, including classified materials, relating to negotiations for a trade agreement to which the United States may be a party and policies advanced by the Trade Representative in such negotiations.”
Because Wyden was repeatedly denied access to the TPP documents, he introduced legislation to force the Obama administration to release information on the TPP to the STC.
House Representative Darrell Issa has publicly called out Obama’s suspect demands for total secrecy involving TPP.
Kirk calls the TPP “an ambitious, next-generation . . . agreement that reflect US priorities and values.” However, perhaps he is referencing the corporatocracy that America is being transformed into. Under that new rule, the TPP surely does represent the future of American values and priorities.
Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises – Huffington Post
A critical document from President Barack Obama’s free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises.
The leaked document has been posted on the website of Citizens Trade Campaign, a long-time critic of the administration’s trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive.
“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch in a written statement.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has been so incensed by the lack of access as to introduce legislation requiring further disclosure. House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has gone so far as to leak a separate document from the talkson his website. Other Senators are considering writing a letter to Ron Kirk, the top trade negotiator under Obama, demanding more disclosure.
The newly leaked document is one of the most controversial of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. It addresses a broad sweep of regulations governing international investment and reveals the Obama administration’s advocacy for policies that environmental activists, financial reform advocates and labor unions have long rejected for eroding key protections currently in domestic laws.
Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.
The terms run contrary to campaign promises issued by Obama and the Democratic Party during the 2008 campaign.