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Monday, 02 September 2013 00:00

TPP Talking Points

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed agreement between the U.S. and 12 nations that do business throughout the Pacific Rim. TPP and its European cousin the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (aka TAFTA), are "free trade" agreements that do much more than the term implies.

  • For nearly five years, the TPP (arguably the broadest-reaching and least consumer-friendly trade agreement in the history of the world) has been in negotiations behind closed doors. Though 600 corporate "trade advisers" and industry trade associations enjoy online access to the working text, the information remains classified - kept by law from public view. What we do know comes from "leaks" this year and last.
  • Congress is the branch of government constitutionally charged with overseeing trade with foreign nations; yet members of Congress have been excluded from negotiating talks and have only recently been allowed to read the proposed agreement. Members viewing the text have not been permitted to take notes or make copies, though they will be asked to vote on TPP when negotiations are completed.
  • Trade is on the president's agenda in a big way. He's pushing Congress to renew Trade Promotion Authority, also known as "fast track," so that he may sign the TPP first, and then bring it back to Congress for a quick up or down vote. Debate time would be limited and amendments prohibited.
  • To ensure a full public hearing and debate on TPP and all future U.S. trade agreements, Congress must reject the president's request for Fast Track authority;
  • The U.S. media have a responsibility to shine a light on this deal. Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, says fast track authority is not necessary to pass trade agreements, just to pass BAD trade agreements – deals that would go nowhere if people knew what was in them. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/obamas-covert-trade-deal.html?_r=0 http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-eu-free-trade-agreement-a-corporate-stitch-up-by-any-other- name/5339789

TPP would reportedly:

  • Swap democracy for corporate rule by relinquishing our right to regulate within our own borders http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16295-why-the-transpacific-partnership-is-a-scary-big-trade-deal
  • Subordinate U.S. law to the decisions of a global business tribunal, favoring "investor states" over the public interest http://www.ustr.gov/tpp
  • Create special protections and remove any remaining global barriers for "too big to fail" banks, potentially making the activities of some community banks illegal http://investmentwatchblog.com/big-banks-attempt-secret-coup-against-low-interest-loans
  • Give preferred "investor state" status to foreign companies operating within our borders—encouraging U.S. companies to offshore jobs http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130605/09400423328/people-begin-to-wake-up-to-dangers-investor-state-dispute-resolution.shtml
  • Lower wages http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/net-effect-of-the-tpp-on-us-wages
  • Exempt foreign companies from environmental regulations http://www.citizen.org/documents/fact-sheet-tpp-and-environment.pdf
  • Affect consumer protections for food safety http://www.exposethetpp.org/TPPImpacts_FoodSafety.html
  • Destroy collective bargaining and threaten hard-won worker protections http://www.cwa-union.org/pages/10_ways_the_tpp_would_hurt_cwa_represented_workers
  • Bring "Buy American" programs to a halt by: 1. Allowing foreign companies to underbid U.S. companies on government contracts paid for with our tax dollars, and 2. Allowing foreign investors to file lawsuits in a global business court to challenge "buy local" programs as unfair. They would be further empowered ask these foreign tribunals to award them compensation for anticipated profit not realized as a result of any local or national incentives in place.
  • Threaten to extend restrictive intellectual property laws and impose draconian sanctions with respect to:
    • Pharmaceutical patents, raising the cost of prescription medicines http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/publications/article.cfm?id=6664&cat=briefing-documents
    • Digital innovation and fair use (See Electronic Frontier Foundation);
    • Internet freedom/net neutrality; ISPs could become censors and block content sharing between individuals. https://www.eff.org/issue
  • Give Monsanto a "field" day by further relaxing already lax U.S. standards for GMOs, making it impossible for Americans to know what we are eating; threaten Europe's effective ban on GMOs.
    http://fairworldproject.org/in-the-news/10-reasons-why-food-justice-activists-should-care-about-the-tpp-trans-pacific-partnership/
  • Encourage fracking and drilling; threaten environmental protections; effectively strip the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of its power to control damage to the landscape caused by fracking http://www.sierraclub.org/trade/downloads/TPP-Factsheet.pdf
  • Drive up energy prices. The DOE (Department of Energy) would lose regulatory authority over fuel imports and exports; oil and natural gas could be sold on the open market to the highest bidders.
  •  

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Andrea Miller

Andrea Miller was the Democratic Nominee in 2008 for House of Representatives in the Virginia 4th District. Prior to running for office, Andrea was a part of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, first as Statewide Coordinator for Virginia and subsequently as Regional Coordinator. From 2006 until leading the VA Kucinich campaign Andrea was MoveOn.org’s Regional Coordinator for Central, Southwest and Hampton Roads areas of Virginia and West Virginia. Andrea is also the PDA Virginia co-chair as well as the Technical Director. Andrea co-hosts, organizes and programs PDA's Blog Talk Radio show. She is also the lead designer and production team leader for PDA's websites and printed materials. Andrea co-directs PDA's Capitol Hill letter drops and Hill meetings.

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