Trans-Pacific Partnership

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The text as it appears on the back of the card

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration along with eleven other foreign governments. The public and civil society are excluded from seeing the text but hundreds of corporate advisors have access and help write the text. Little was known about the TPP until a series of leaked documents were published by the Citizens Trade Campaign and WikiLeaks revealing the TPP is not about trade, but is rather a corporate power grab that circumvents domestic judicial systems and undermines national and local sovereignty.

The TPP would allow corporations to challenge laws, regulations and court decisions (including local and state laws) if they adversely impact the corporation’s expected future profits. Under the TPP’s “investor-state” provisions, corporations can file lawsuits in Trade Tribunals where the judges would primarily be corporate lawyers on temporary leave from their corporate jobs. Corporations can file for expected lost profits. The decisions of the Trade Tribunals could not be overturned by federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Every trade agreement has resulted in a net loss of jobs, lowering of incomes and expansion of the wealth divide as well as massive trade deficits. Economists predict these same results from the TPP. The TPP already constitutes 40% of the world economy and contains “docking” provisions allowing other nations to join later.

The TPP will also require that laws and regulations of federal, state and local governments be consistent with the agreement.

Provisions in the TPP specifically threaten to:

  • Undermine food safety protections by making it harder for countries to adopt regulations such as labeling laws or banning GMOs.
  • Dismantle the “Buy Local” movement by overturning government laws designed to keep taxpayer dollars in the local economy.
  • Inhibit access to lifesaving medicine by extending monopoly drug patents for big pharmaceuticals.
  • Curtail Internet freedom, spur further financial deregulation, roll back environmental laws and more.

The TPP is one of three massive international treaties being negotiated in secret by the Obama administration. The other two are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe and the Trade in Services Agreement with 50 countries. These agreements will put in place laws that give massive, transnational corporations greater power to control the global economy than governments, creating an era of corporate domination of our lives.

The TPP is being negotiated under unprecedented secrecy because previous attempts to pass similar agreements have been met with widespread public opposition. Grassroots movements in the past have successfully stopped the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the expansion of the World Trade Organization, and others. In 2015 the Obama Administration was given the power to “fast track” the vote, i.e. Congress only has a short time review it and cannot amend the TPP. The vote could be as early as Fall 2015 or Spring 2016. We must act now, using education, protest and civil resistance to stop the TPP and build a broad-based movement for future battles.

References & external links:
Public Citizen
Electronic Frontiers Foundation