Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Let's Stop the Disaster that Is the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)!

Here is what Senator Bernie Sanders says about the TPP.  [Item 4 is a significant retreat from dealing with climate change.  A corporation's right to profit can override laws protecting the climate.  This is discussed on page 78 of Naomi Klein's book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate]:

10 Ways the Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Hurt Working Families
  1. TPP will allow corporations to outsource even more jobs overseas.    
    According to the Economic Policy Institute, if the TPP is agreed to, the U.S. will lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
    Service Sector Jobs will be lost.  At a time when corporations have already outsourced over 3 million service sector jobs in the U.S., TPP includes rules that will make it even easier for corporate America to outsource call centers; computer programming; engineering; accounting; and medical diagnostic jobs.
    Manufacturing jobs will be lost.  As a result of NAFTA, the U.S. lost nearly 700,000 jobs. As a result of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, the U.S. lost over 2.7 million jobs.  As a result of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. has lost 70,000 jobs.  The TPP would make matters worse by providing special benefits to firms that offshore jobs and by reducing the risks associated with operating in low-wage countries.
  2. U.S. sovereignty will be undermined by giving corporations the right to challenge our laws before international tribunals.     The TPP creates a special dispute resolution process that allows corporations to challenge any domestic laws that could adversely impact their “expected future profits.”
    These challenges would be heard before UN and World Bank tribunals which could require taxpayer compensation to corporations.
    This process undermines our sovereignty and subverts democratically passed laws including those dealing with labor, health, and the environment.
  3. Wages, benefits, and collective bargaining will be threatened.    
    NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China, and other free trade agreements have helped drive down the wages and benefits of American workers and have eroded collective bargaining rights.
    The TPP will make the race to the bottom worse because it forces American workers to compete with desperate workers in Vietnam where the minimum wage is just 56 cents an hour.
  4. Our ability to protect the environment will be undermined.    
    The TPP will allow corporations to challenge any law that would adversely impact their future profits.  Pending claims worth over $14 billion have been filed based on similar language in other trade agreements.  Most of these claims deal with challenges to environmental laws in a number of countries.  The TPP will make matters even worse by giving corporations the right to sue any of the nations that sign onto the TPP.  These lawsuits would be heard in international tribunals bypassing domestic courts.
  5. Food Safety Standards will be threatened.    
    The TPP would make it easier for countries like Vietnam to export contaminated fish and seafood into the U.S.  The FDA has already prevented hundreds of seafood imports from TPP countries because of salmonella, e-coli, methyl-mercury and drug residues.  But the FDA only inspects 1-2 percent of food imports and will be overwhelmed by the vast expansion of these imports if the TPP is agreed to.
  6. Buy America laws could come to an end.    
    The U.S. has several laws on the books that require the federal government to buy goods and services that are made in America or mostly made in this country.  Under TPP, foreign corporations must be given equal access to compete for these government contracts with companies that make products in America.  Under TPP, the U.S. could not even prevent companies that have horrible human rights records from receiving government contracts paid by U.S. taxpayers.
  7. Prescription drug prices will increase, access to life saving drugs will decrease, and the profits of drug companies will go up.     Big pharmaceutical companies are working hard to ensure that the TPP extends the monopolies they have for prescription drugs by extending their patents (which currently can last 20 years or more).  This would expand the profits of big drug companies, keep drug prices artificially high, and leave millions of people around the world without access to life saving drugs.  Doctors without Borders stated that “the TPP agreement is on track to become the most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines in developing countries.”
  8. Wall Street would benefit at the expense of everyone else.    
    Under TPP, governments would be barred from imposing “capital controls” that have been successfully used to avoid financial crises.  These controls range from establishing a financial speculation tax to limiting the massive flows of speculative capital flowing into and out of countries responsible for the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s.  In other words, the TPP would expand the rights and power of the same Wall Street firms that nearly destroyed the world economy just five years ago and would create the conditions for more financial instability in the future. ...
  9. The TPP would reward authoritarian regimes like Vietnam that systematically violate human rights.    
    The State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have all documented Vietnam’s widespread violations of basic international standards for human rights.  Yet, the TPP would reward Vietnam’s bad behavior by giving it duty free access to the U.S. market.
  10. The TPP has no expiration date, making it virtually impossible to repeal.    
    Once TPP is agreed to, it has no sunset date and could only be altered by a consensus of all of the countries that agreed to it.  Other countries, like China, could be allowed to join in the future.  For example, Canada and Mexico joined TPP negotiations in 2012 and Japan joined last year.
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Read more at Let's Stop the Disaster that Is the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership)!

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