By Andrés Peñaloza Méndez
After five years of intense negotiations characterized by their secrecy, on Monday, October 5 of this year, the final agreement of the Trans-Pacific Free Trade and Investment Agreement (TPP) was announced.
The manifest rejection in Río de la Plata, Argentina, led by Presidents Lula da Silva (Brazil), Hugo Chávez Frías (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela) and Néstor Kirchner (Argentina) in 2005 to create a hemispheric free trade zone in the Americas , caused US geopolitics to turn to the Pacific. Currently the twelve nations committed to the TPP (Australia, Canada, Chile, Brunei Darussalum, the United States, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam), represent 36% of GDP, 25% of trade , 28% of the attraction of foreign direct investment and 11% of the world population.
The TPP negotiations cover NAFTA issues, including labor and environmental issues; some new ones like electronic commerce and information technology products trade. There are, of course, some tougher nuances and provisions. This is revealed when examining the draft of the text on intellectual property, according to the copies released by WikiLeaks on November 13, 2013; as well as other drafts: environment (January 15, 2014), investments (March 25, 2015), transparency (annex: health, June 10, 2015), the guide to establish supranational mechanisms for the resolution of State disputes -Private Investors - "state-owned enterprises" (SOEs) - (July 29, 2015).
The analysis of the content of the aforementioned drafts aroused enormous concerns about the advantageous conditions that transnational companies would have (for example, pharmaceutical companies would enjoy extraordinary benefits for protection for 12 or more years derived from the granting of patents and extensions of the same through lax procedures). Consequently, the demand that is imposed is the immediate opening of the negotiated texts so that public opinion, the productive and social sectors can have an opinion.
The lack of transparency during more than five years of negotiations must be corrected immediately; We urge the legislature, particularly the Senate of the Republic, to convene forums for public consultation and deliberation so that the contents of the TPP are open to society.
It should be noted that paradoxically the TPP contains a chapter on “transparency”. But this refers to the obligation of the States-Parties to notify transnational companies and their governments in advance; as well as, open consultations on any constitutional and normative modification contemplated in the agreement; Needless to say, invading sovereign powers of the legislative and judicial powers.
So once the conclusion of the TPP is announced, there should be no more secrets or delays in making the at least 26 chapters public.
For now, for the trade union, social and civil organizations that since last August we carried out the informative and pedagogical sessions: Social and sovereign resistance against the power of transnational companies, free trade and investment agreements and the financial architecture of impunity, The TPP represents "the worst alternative to multilateral trade agreements" (Horst alternative to a multilateral treaty agreement, HAMTA).
The TPP is one more turn of the screw of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) whose toxicity - greater than the Fukushima nuclear reactor - is more than documented, it is enough to notice the deep wounds, inequalities, environmental devastation and financial impunity that have left the two systemic crises promoted by NAFTA: the Mexican crisis and its tequila effect (1994-1995) -whose effect dominated Latin America, Russia and Southeast Asia in 1998- and the subprime crisis (2007-2008) and the immediate crash in the center of the system, particularly Europe that continues to be prostrate.
It is not difficult to predict that the next crisis under the TPP will be a devastating tsunami the likes of which has never been seen in the Pacific polluted by rampant free trade.