Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on June 17, 2012
600 secret corporate “official US advisors” wrote themselves a beautiful deal in the TPP or Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, the final nail in the coffin for the United States as a sovereign nation. If you were proud to be an American, you can kiss your country goodbye when this becomes international law. It effectively supercedes the highest court in our land, because the TPP gives corporations the right to sue governments, and gives them the upper hand if it can be shown that our country’s laws threatened their profit-making agenda.
For example, if a foreign company thinks that our environmental protections are standing in the way of them making a profit, under the TPP, they can sue our government, have the case tried by a three-person “international tribunal” instead of an American venue, and if they “win”, we the taxpayers have to foot the bill for the fines. “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,” writes Zach Carter of the Huffington Post.
But it’s not just about punishing us for having food safety laws and environmental protections. The TPP also gives corporations patent control over medicines and seeds. That means a small seed company can be driven out of business if a foreign company files a suit for patent infringement and the tribunal rules in favor of the multinational conglomerate. Who is more likely to afford the attorneys for such a case? And what difference would it make, when the deck is already stacked their favor because the tribunal was put into place by the same companies who want control over the seed supply.
This is bad on so many levels, that one wonders who would ever vote for this sort of thing. Yet, whenever trade agreements didn’t work for us Americans, like GATT, or NAFTA, or the FTAA, our congress and president passed those without any difficulty, and against public opinion.
Obama has already reaffirmed his commitment to the TPP, and Romney would sign it because he would argue that it represents “free trade.”
The TPP Agreements are so secretive that even members of congress have a hard time getting their hands on them. According to a Zach Carter, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee’s subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, was stonewalled by the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) when he attempted to see any of the draft documents related to the governance of the TPP.
“I would point out how insulting it is for them to argue that members of Congress are to personally go over to USTR to view the trade documents,” an aide to Wyden stated. “An advisor at Halliburton or the MPAA is given a password that allows him or her to go on the USTR website and view the TPP agreement anytime he or she wants.”
Public Citizen, a non-profit that reviews trade agreements writes: “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ‘free trade’ agreement is a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America, a dream of the 1 percent, that in one blow could:
- Offshore millions of American jobs
- Free the banksters from oversight
- Ban Buy America policies needed to create green jobs and rebuild our economy
- Decrease access to medicine
- Flood the U.S. with unsafe food and products
- Empower corporations to attack our environment and health safeguards”
Lori Wallach, an attorney who studied the one of the 24 secret TPP documents that were leaked so far, says that the “Dracula strategy” might be the best method for fighting this bill. “When something has been so secret and it so extreme, when it’s dragged out into the sunshine, if the public gets involved, and demands, demands that this is unacceptable, these agreements in the past have been stopped. … But if we’re quiet about it, if we don’t continue to dig, if we don’t demand that the whole agreement’s released, we could literally see this kind of imposition of corporate rule via so called ‘trade agreements’ through the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“The trade representative Ron Kirk said nothing would make him happier than if China signed this agreement. So we really need to get the rules right. We do not want this tribunal system for the whole world. It would set up a two track system of justice, where systematically, officially, formally, corporations are privileged over all the rest of us.”