In October 2015, US President Barack Obama praised the TPP as "the most progressive trade agreement in history," keeping alarming key points secret.
Progressive public interest organizations that had access to the TPP agreement document claim that the final text, the fruit of seven years of secret trade negotiations between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries, not only follows the majority of the worrying features of trade agreements since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but also opens new dubious paths.
To better orient itself in this deceptive system, the In These Times portal has asked the experts to explain the 7 most alarming points of the treaty, based on one of the leaders of the agreement, the United States.
Some leaked documents suggest that large industries and multinational companies, including large pharmaceutical companies operating in North America, South America and Asia, would gain broad powers to challenge the regulations, actions and decisions of the courts of sovereign governments before organized courts. under the World Bank or the United Nations. This system is called 'investor-state dispute arbitration', meaning that foreign-owned companies rank at the same level as sovereign governments. A document discovered by WikiLeaks reveals that the TPP was designed to favor large transnational corporations , allowing them to sue governments and request millionaire compensation on behalf of taxpayers. Even when governments win, under the TPP rules multinationals can demand payment of trial costs and attorney fees, which average about $ 8 million per case.
Most notably, in the nearly 6,000 pages of TPP text, they don't even mention the words "climate change." The agreement takes a step back from the environmental protections of all US free trade agreements since 2007, by failing to require TPP countries to comply with their obligations in a set of core international environmental treaties.
Furthermore, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources, among others, have publicly denounced the TPP, arguing that it would allow governments to be sued for trying to limit industries that pollute the air.
Thus, in 2013, the American mining company Lone Pine Resources sued the Canadian province of Quebec for approving the prohibition of 'fracking' in the area, in which there were serious polluting effects on human health and the environment, something that, according to company representatives, it cost the government more than $ 250 million.
Between 1997 and 2014, the U.S. lost more than 5 million jobs in manufacturing. The vast majority, according to the Institute for Economic Policy, disappeared as a result of the growing trade deficit with US investment-supply and free trade partners. Some 850,000 jobs were lost to NAFTA after it entered into in force in 1994.
But the prognosis for the jobs that will be lost to the TPP is even worse. "The Wall Street Journal" has calculated that by 2025, the agreement would increase the US trade deficit in the manufacture, assembly of automobiles and auto parts by $ 55.8 billion a year. At that rate, based on the Commerce Department formula, the TPP would put another 323,000 US manufacturing workers out of work. That is almost a million jobs every three years.
And that's a conservative estimate, since the TPP negotiators did not include applicable methods to stop foreign labor abuses, including miserable wages and dangerous working conditions.
The current trade deficit, for example, in the US is around 500 billion a year, or 3% of the country's GDP. These figures, for their part, depend on the creation of demand and employment in other countries and imply the loss of about 3 million jobs in the United States per year. This matters enormously in the context of an economy facing a deficit in demand, or "secular stagnation." In normal times, the loss of demand to the trade deficit could be replaced by higher investment or consumer spending, but under current conditions it would not even cover that loss.
The TPP, for its part, does not address the main reason for the trade deficit: currency manipulation by other countries. The increase in the prices of exports and the reduction in the price of imports make national goods and services less competitive at the international level.
Following the WikiLeaks leaks, the Nobel laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz warned about health issues and the risks for consumers that could be associated with TPP. “In the US we had an agreement to balance generic drugs and those of big pharma. We wanted Big Pharma to bring in new drugs and generics to keep the price low. While our drug prices are still the highest in the world, if it hadn't been for generic drugs, they would have gone through the roof, ”he says.
The director of the Global Access to Medicines Program, Peter Maybarduk, for his part, has pointed out that, “if the TPP is ratified, the people of the countries bordering the Pacific would have to live in accordance with the rules of this text that has been filtered out". “New monopoly rights for big pharmaceutical companies may jeopardize access to medicines in TPP countries. The TPP could cost lives ”, he warned. (On the Redcom page we have published two articles about the brutal increase in drugs).
In the immediate term, the TPP would open a flood of seafood, dairy, fruit and vegetable imports to the US at a time when import inspections are severely underfunded. The US currently inspects only 2% of food imports, and there is evidence from Consumer Reports showing that 60% of seafood (91% of which is imported) is contaminated.
The TPP also offers companies new ways to challenge food safety inspection processes. A “rapid response mechanism” would be created that would allow foreign companies to challenge food safety decisions.
The TPP would ban capital controls, which allow countries to block destabilizing flights of "hot money" from investors hoping to cash in on speculative opportunities and then exit the country, just before the bubbles they created collapse. The agreement would also stop the enactment of taxes on financial transactions, a means of dampening speculation and a necessary mechanism to increase public revenues.
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