Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00

Despite Outcry of Opposition, Obama Pushes "Horrific" Trade Deal in Asia

Written by  Jon Queally | Common Dreams
Japanese farmers and their supporters hold placards and chant slogans against an anti-Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal at a rally in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on April 22, 2014, the day before US President Barack Obama visits. Japan seeks to retain tariffs on five farm product categories, rice, wheat, beef and pork, sugar, and dairy products, amid strong concern from the domestic agricultural industry. Japanese farmers and their supporters hold placards and chant slogans against an anti-Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal at a rally in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on April 22, 2014, the day before US President Barack Obama visits. Japan seeks to retain tariffs on five farm product categories, rice, wheat, beef and pork, sugar, and dairy products, amid strong concern from the domestic agricultural industry. (Photo: AFP)

Though president once railed against so-called "free trade" agreements, he has now become outspoken champion of secretive deals that critics call attack on democracy, workers, and the planet.

Despite consistent and vocal opposition from organized labor, environmentalists, progressive economy experts and others warning against the damaging impacts of a trans-Pacific trade agreement that remains under negotiations by the U.S. and twelve other nations, President Obama on Monday once again voiced his support for what he said would be a "historic" agreement.

In Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart and to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Obama championed the so-called "free trade" deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), even though critics have described the agreement as a "horrific" corporate giveaway that would further codify the undemocratic mechanisms of global trade, breaking down protections for workers, consumers, and the planet's natural systems.

Though Obama ran for president in 2008 as a staunch opponent of similarly designed trade deals, including NAFTA, since taking in office, he has forcefully pushed for the TPP and a similar deal with European nations, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

"This has the potential for being an historic agreement," Obama said of the TPP to heads-of-state and trade commissioners at the APEC summit's opening session on Monday.

If approved, the TPP would be the world's largest economic trade agreement, encompassing more than 40 percent of the world's GDP. Though China would not be party to the agreement, the TPP would cover the U.S., Canada and Mexico in North America; Chile and Peru in South America; and Japan, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in the Pacific-Asia region.

Though U.S. officials said no breathroughs or announcements were expected on the deal during this trip, the president used the occasion to champion the aims of the TPP.

"What we are seeing," Obama told those in attendance, "is momentum building around a Trans-Pacific Partnership that can spur greater economic growth, spur greater jobs growth, set high standards for trade and investment throughout the Asia-Pacific."

Following last weeks mid-term elections in the U.S., some analysts argued that a Republican-controlled Congress—which is generally friendlier to the corporate trade framework of such deals—is more likely to help Obama push through the agreement. However, as Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch, pointed out, that calculation may be misplaced.

According to Public Citizen, the TPP would be a grab-bag of policies designed to empower corporate entities while stripping the people of these twelve nations of self-determination and democratic process. According to the group:

Although it is called a "free trade" agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP's 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations.

Link to original article from Common Dreams

Read 2279 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • How Texas could give up on its DREAM

    Is this check-mate? With Gov.-elect Greg Abbott poised to take over the governor’s mansion in the Lone Star State later this month, the Texas legislature will be in prime position to attack and ultimately dismantle one of the state’s most successful pro-immigrant initiatives on the books: the Texas DREAM Act.

    Read More
  • Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy

    Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima says political leaders will ignore inequality at their own peril. According to the nation's richest people, the poor have it easy. Fifty-four percent of survey respondents categorized as the most financially secure said "poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without

    Read More
  • Yep, That's Right... "Free": Obama Plan Would Cover Community College Tuition

    Proposal put forth by White House would see federal and state governments pay for two years of college for all those able to maintain 2.5 GPA A new proposal unveiled by President Obama would make two years of a community college education "free" for all those who maintain a certain

    Read More
  • Icy Cold and Cut Services Create Dangerous Perfect Storm for Homeless

    With number of people without permament housing rising nationwide and services for them falling, near-zero temperatures put thousands at severe risk As record-breaking cold weather sweeps across the nation this week, reports from around the nation show how the U.S. homeless population—which has risen dramatically in recent years—are being hit the hardest in the

    Read More
  • In Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack, Let’s Not Sacrifice Even More Rights

    EFF is stunned and deeply saddened by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper. As free speech advocates, we mourn the use of violence against individuals who used creativity and free expression to engage in cultural and political criticism. Murder is the ultimate form of censorship.

    Read More
  • The Right Tries (and Fails) to Justify Its Assault on Social Security

    How does the right justify the kind of action Congress took this week, when it moved to cut disability benefits for millions of people by 20 percent? Answer #1: With buzzwords and rhetorical dodges. Answer #2: Not very well. For details on the House’s action, we pointed yesterday to a number of

    Read More
  • As Top Democrats Embrace a Robin Hood Tax, It’s Time for Activists to Go Big

    Americans who are serious about addressing income inequality have long recognized that the United States needs a Robin Hood Tax—a charge on financial transactions proposed by campaigners who have argued since the Wall Street meltdown of 2008 that “banks, hedge funds and the rest of the financial sector should pay their

    Read More
  • As France Mourns for Charlie Hebdo, Calls For Unity and Understanding

    'If this attack is allowed to feed discrimination and prejudice, it will be playing straight into the hands of extremists whose clear aim is to divide religions and societies.' As people across France and around the world mourn the death of the twelve people killed at the offices of the

    Read More
  • 'Hostage-Takers': Republicans Go After Social Security on Very First Day

    Advocacy groups vow to fight back against what they believe is a preliminary "stealth attack" that portends a wider assault on a program that makes survival possible for millions of vulnerable Americans As Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik immediately remarked: "Well, that didn't take long."  

    Read More
  • GOP Rule Change in Congress Signals New Dawn for 'Voodoo Economics'

    'Few economic theories have been as thoroughly tested in the real world as supply-side economics, and so notoriously failed.' A seemingly arcane rule change passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday night signals that a new wave of tax cuts for the wealthy and what has long been criticized

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Featured News

  • #SOTU2015 #DemandERA White House Phone Blast +

    Please join us in supporting our President's bold agenda and in reminding him to "REMEMBER THE WOMEN" in his #SOTU address by vigorously supporting the movement Read More
  • How Texas could give up on its DREAM +

    Is this check-mate? With Gov.-elect Greg Abbott poised to take over the governor’s mansion in the Lone Star State later Read More
  • Russia Blamed, US Taxpayers on the Hook, as Fracking Boom Collapses +

    As Congress removes restrictions on taxpayers bailing out the too-big-to-fail banks, the right is blaming environmentalists and Russia for the Read More
  • TPP Media March +

    Join our TPP Twitter Storm. Everyone with a Twitter account can participate. The Twitter storm begins on Tuesday at 9pm Read More
  • Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists +

    Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • How Texas could give up on its DREAM +

    Is this check-mate? With Gov.-elect Greg Abbott poised to take over the governor’s mansion in the Lone Star State later Read More
  • Amid Time of Soaring Inequality, Rich Say: The Poor Have It Easy +

    Oxfam International's Winnie Byanyima says political leaders will ignore inequality at their own peril. According to the nation's richest people, Read More
  • Yep, That's Right... "Free": Obama Plan Would Cover Community College Tuition +

    Proposal put forth by White House would see federal and state governments pay for two years of college for all Read More
  • As Top Democrats Embrace a Robin Hood Tax, It’s Time for Activists to Go Big +

    Americans who are serious about addressing income inequality have long recognized that the United States needs a Robin Hood Tax—a charge Read More
  • 'Hostage-Takers': Republicans Go After Social Security on Very First Day +

    Advocacy groups vow to fight back against what they believe is a preliminary "stealth attack" that portends a wider assault Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap