Corruption hidden by ‘partnership’

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), because the countries involved have been confidentially negotiating the terms of the treaty for nearly the past eight years.
The partnership is an agreement aimed at bringing on economic growth, which sounds fantastic, and extremely necessary. But it gets a bit more complicated than that.
The TPP is a deal between twelve Pacific Rim countries: The U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. The BBC said that “the pact is aimed at deepening economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth.”
Slashing tariffs? For context, tariffs are taxes that are implemented on the imports and exports of a country. The goal is to open trade routes between these countries, making routes of ‘seamless trade’.
But the TPP covers more than just imports and exports. According to the Washington Post, the twenty-nine chapters cover “everything from financial services to telecommunications to sanitary standards of food.”
So here’s why it should be stopped.
The Trans Pacific Partnership was designed by some of the largest multi-national corporations, mostly big media and pharmaceutical companies wanting to ‘protect their profitable interests’.
Protecting profitable interests, in this case, means making said interests more profitable at the American people’s expense. For instance, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that 130,000 service sector jobs would be outsourced to Japan and Vietnam alone, jobs that could be employing American workers and feeding our economy.
The pharmaceutical companies involved are working to ensure that the TPP passes, because the treaty also covers data protection for biological drugs, or biologics, which are very expensive and difficult to manufacture. In the U.S., there are laws set down by the FDA that state that “any maker of a biologic gets twelve years of exclusivity” until the patent is approved, Vox reported. The TPP would extend drug data protection, allowing companies to extend their patents, and therefore extending their pharmaceutical monopolies.
Not only that, the agreement will grant more political power to corporations, allowing them to challenge domestic laws that would impede their expected profits, just like every similar deal since NAFTA. This allows corporations to “bypass a country’s courts and directly sue national governments in international UN or World Bank tribunals”, said the Communications Workers of America Union.
The White House is in support of the TPP, stating that the “trade policy is the best tool we have to ensure that our workers, our businesses, and our values are shaping globalization and the 21st century economy.”
In June, President Obama approved a bill that granted him a ‘fast track’ negotiation authority. The President can’t ‘fast track’ trade agreements through Congress, where the agreement can be approved or disapproved, but not amended or filibustered. Obama’s intent with the ‘fast track’ legislation is to ratify the policy as soon as possible, in order to conclude negotiations.
Huffington Post aptly writes that the “fast track legislation will pave the way for the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership”, and I could not agree more. By outsourcing so many jobs, the US will have a lot less working Americans, therefore less money circulating through the economy.
The political power that the TPP gives corporations will undermine the government. Corporations would be able to challenge domestic laws, which would increase their profits from outsourcing and monopolizing, and make the middle and lower classes poorer and the upper class much, much richer.
The amount of outsourcing would transfer much of our economy overseas, leaving the U.S. in the hands of the countries and corporations involved with the agreement. This would leave the country vulnerable to economic instability, or even failure.
The Trans Pacific Partnership’s potential to sabotage America and its democratic system is too great to risk. It follows failed agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and others, and is similarly doomed to fail. To sign the petition, visit www.sanders.senate.gov/stop-the-tpp.