The little known Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) threatens to surrender our national, state and local sovereignty to corporate interests. This past Friday, legislation for Trade Promotion Authority, known as Fast Track, for the TPP was introduced in the House and Senate. The Executive branch has negotiated the TPP in meetings that have been secret to the general public and even most members of Congress, but open to transnational corporations who are deeply crafting it with an eye to increase their profits and protect their interests.
The Fast Track legislation being debated eliminates the time needed for Congress to fully discuss the agreement and their freedom to amend in any way. Fast Track forces Congress to merely rubber stamp the TPP unread, and also takes away citizen and advocacy groups’ opportunity to engage in the decision making.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently being negotiated between 12 countries around the Pacific Ocean including several of the world’s largest economies. The TPP has the potential to extend the negative consequences of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to nearly 40% of the world’s economy. Despite promises of the 90’s that NAFTA would improve the economy and provide jobs, history reveals that it forced more people in Mexico to migrate North as it destroyed small-scale farmers’ ability to survive, had massively negative effects on labor rights everywhere, and removed environmental regulations deemed to be inconvenient impediments to free trade. Today the Obama administration is reportedly preparing to undermine strong environmental safeguards and critical regulations in order to secure the TPP deal. These include legally binding requirements for pollution limits, logging, and fishing standards.
The TPP is known as “NAFTA on steroids” because it goes much further than trade issues by threatening democratic decisions on laws governing food safety, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, and establishes new powers for corporations. It is also known as “SOPA on steroids” because of its threat to internet freedom.
If you are concerned about how any of our laws governing the environment, health and safety, workers rights, etc. could be altered outside the democratic process, then we need to act. In fact, we have every reason to be alarmed about allowing big corporations to use a non-public process to overturn or change democratically-decided rulings and safeguards based on their assertion that it must be done to protect their trade interests, e.g. competitiveness… And it is particularly offensive to allow this to happen with so little public discussion and involvement. We all need to contact our representatives in Congress and let them know that Fast Tracking the TPP is outrageous, especially given its potential impact and all the ways it subverts democratic process. And please consider sharing this with others who can join us in acting soon, before it’s too late. Together we can do something!