TPP negotiators are meeting in Singapore from December 7 to 9 to attempt to complete the text of the TPP agreement. As the year ends, pressure is growing to both finish the TPP and to pass Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority in Congress. If the President is given Fast Track, then he can sign the TPP and Congress will have a limited time to read the agreement before they are required to vote up or down on it. Fast Track has been used historically to pass trade agreements that would not survive under Congressional scrutiny. Congress only has one more week in session this year, the week of December 9. So far our pressure to stop the TPP has been working. Close to 200 members of Congress have expressed opposition to Fast Track. We must keep the pressure on (because you know that the corporate lobbyists are) to send Congress home with a clear message that they must not give up their responsibility under the Constitution to oversee commerce and they must go through the process of understanding the full implications of the TPP before they vote on it. That means that they must oppose Fast Track.
The Indictment A. We the Justices of the Global People’s Tribunal on WTO, Free Trade Agreements, Investments & Transnational Corporations, have heard the substantive testimonies of the affected communities and sectors, including women and children, peasants, fishers, workers, migrants and indigenous peoples in Indonesia, other Asian countries (India, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia), and other regions – Latin America, Canada. B. These testimonies have given evidence on: The systematic violation of human rights; The massive destruction of livelihoods and the environment; The privatization and commodification of the commons and of nature; The violation of international law. . . . I. We underline people’s inalienable right to justice. We acknowledge the importance of social movements and civil society organisations engagement in the campaigns to end corporate impunity, the WTO and the trade & investment regime. J. We recognize that the struggle of resistance goes hand in hand with the construction of alternatives of an economy for the people and the planet, with initiatives such as the indigenous knowledge systems, seed banks, food sovereignty, and a new paradigm for trade and investment, as well as a new juridical system that will deliver justice.
This weekend, trade negotiators from the 12 countries negotiating the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement are meeting in Singapore for the latest round of negotiations. Joining them, as normal, will be representatives from the corporate world who have been granted more access at seeing and shaping the bill than elected members of Congress. But this time members of the media are also being wooed as it is widely expected that negotiators will announce the framework of a final deal. No matter what the trade negotiators in Singapore say or how they spin it, this trade deal is far from settled. In fact, concern against the deal at home is both broad and deep. While they will want to call it a done deal, there is significant concern about the TPP at home and abroad. Congress has the chance to stand up for American business owners, workers and families by taking a full look at the secretive text and not grant fast-track trade authority.
Democrats’ Congressional Campaign Chair, Senior Party Members Warn Obama: Don’t Rush into a TPP Deal in Singapore They Vow to Block Any Pact Without Enforceable Labor and Environmental Standards, Currency Disciplines or that Includes Patent or Copyright Extensions Senior Democratic members of Congress said Thursday the still-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact is dead on arrival in Congress if it doesn’t meet their demands to protect American workers and punish currency manipulation as well as provide enforceable labor and environmental standards, in addition to meeting other conditions.
Activists in Baltimore and more than 30 cities across the world take action to highlight the failures of so called free trade agreements. On Tuesday December 3, activists from Baltimore and more than 30 cities across the U.S. and Mexico participated in a Global Day of Action against so-called “toxic trade agreements”. Called for by civil society in Indonesia as the World Trade Organization begins meetings in Bali, the events also precede negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) set to begin in Singapore on Dec. 7th. Meanwhile, thousands of Japanese farmers protested US Vice President Joseph Biden’s Tuesday visit to Tokyo, while hundreds marched in Bali’s Renon Square.
“You might be interested to know the TPP looks terrible for environmental protection too, due to a proposed mechanism called ‘investor-state arbitration’. Basically this’d allow investors to sue countries for passing legislation detrimental to the financial interests of those investors. Yep, think environmental protections, workers’ rights laws and any other kind of public protection that might reduce a profit margin. The international climate change group 350.org is starting a new campaign against the TPP on these grounds; there’s a petition and links to further information at the link. The more fronts we expose and fight this thing on the better: the TPP will reduce the power of civil society in all kinds of ways and we shouldn’t let it happen.
Washington has spearheaded negotiations, describing the TPP as creating “gold standards” for the 21st century economy by taking into account fast-changing sectors such as intellectual property. But there is significant resistance in some participating countries, and outside observers are sceptical that such a diverse field can reach accord before the New Year. Opposition is fierce in Japan, where cossetted industries such as agriculture and auto-making fear they have much to lose if steep barriers to participation are lowered. Around 3,000 demonstrators, mostly farmers, rallied at a Tokyo park against the pact, which they say would deal a terminal blow to Japan’s largely geriatric farming community. Participants wearing hairbands with the slogan: “Take a firm stand on TPP,” marched through streets near the prime minister’s office, where Biden and Abe were to hold talks.
A dozen activists at the U.S. Trade Representative Building in Washington, DC today demanded to see Stan McCoy, the lead negotiator of the intellectual property rights section of the trade treaty called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). While McCoy, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation, wouldn’t meet with the protestors, a USTR staff member listened to their concerns about secrecy surrounding TPP negotiations, its preference for corporate interests and McCoy’s “bullying” tactics. The delivery of the petition and protest at the USTR Building was part of an International Day of Action Against Toxic Trade Agreements to stop the progress of TPP negotiations. It coincides with the first day of World Trade Organization meetings in Bali, Indonesia. TPP negotiations will take place at the end of those meetings. The Flush The TPP! Campaign coordinated the petition effort.
Since Wikileaks made the intellectual property (IP) chapter public, multiple organizations have provided extensive and detailed critiques. According to these analyses, the text demonstrates U.S. preference for increasing protections on existing copyrights and patents over balanced policies that promote global innovation, creativity and political freedom. The disclosures especially suggest the inordinate influence of the motion picture and pharmaceutical industries. In the first brief interview commenting on the leak, the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman defended the proposal saying it is within the bounds of U.S. law. He happened to make this comment while touring Paramount Pictures studios in Los Angeles. Further analysis of the IP chapter shows that it violates international consensus on several important issues.
On November 25th, Barack Obama came to Beverly Hills for a high dollar fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees at the Beverly Park homes of former basketball star Magic Johnson and billionaire media mogul Haim Saban. Tickets started at $2500 a person for the reception and $16,200 a person for the dinner. 250 protesters were there to greet Obama and tell him to flush the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Below is how the day and night went in pictures. The TPP is a global trade agreement being secretly negotiated by the US Trade Representative with 600 transnational corporations and industry trade groups, will affect nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives. If passed, it will undermine state, local and federal laws, including those governing food safety, environmental protection, internet freedom, worker rights, democratic sovereignty, healthcare and drug prices, and banking and finance regulation.
The approach of global trade is not working for most people in the world. The failure of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to move forward is one more example of a failed approach. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Atlantic version, TAFTA, are additional examples. The WTO and these trade agreements pursue a path that puts profits ahead of the necessities of the people and the planet. They have expanded the wealth divide, destroyed the environment and undermined the rights of workers. Unlike the spokesperson from the United States in the article below, we are pleased to see this failure. Our view is that an entirely new approach is needed to international trade. We need to change the goals of trade and the method of reaching agreements on trade. The new goals should be one of cooperation, not domination; it should put the people and planet before process. The approach to achieve trade for the benefit of people and planet should not be one of secrecy and participation by transnational corporations, as the current approach takes but rather one of transparency and participation of civil society in creating economic democracy. These negotiations are creating international laws, the people affected by those laws should participate in making them.
This week, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators have been meeting in Salt Lake City to hash out the final details of the TPP before the end of the year. They have been ‘welcomed’ with daily creative protests. We understand that the protests are giving negotiators from other countries the courage to stand up to the US. However, word leaked out yesterday that the US negotiators are using outrageous bullying tactics to force other countries to accept exorbitant patent protections that will keep the cost of healthcare and medical treatments high and out of our reach. This hurts everyone! The bullying is being led by Stan McCoy of the Office of the US Trade Representative. As a former employee of Covington and Burling, the world’s largest defender of Pharma’s profits, McCoy is accustomed to doing whatever it takes to protect his clients profits, even at the expense of human suffering and lives.