Sunday, November 15, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Finally Released

Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Finally Released: A Disaster for Workers, Communities and the Planet, and a Gift to Multinational Corporations

By James Wheat

After years of secret negotiations, the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been released. If passed, it will be the largest trade agreement in the world, covering 38 percent of the world's economy. It will be unprecedented in its scope. It will be an utter disaster for workers, communities, and the planet, and will cement and expand corporate rule.

The TPP will be a repeat of other free trade agreements, such as NAFTA and the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. The Economic Policy Institute demonstrated that the latter lost nearly 60,000 jobs[1] while the former cost nearly 689,000 jobs.[2] As the TPP covers a much larger portion of the global economy, we can expect a much larger loss of jobs. But it is not simply American workers who will suffer. NAFTA also exacted a heavy price on Mexico, where cheaper American agricultural products flooded the market and undercut the price of domestic products. Many Mexican smallholder farmers were no longer able to make a living and left the land, and dependency on American agricultural products increased. Mexico now imports 42 percent of its food.[3]

The TPP will also water down international environmental protections. It will eliminate the government's ability to regulate natural gas exports by requiring the Department of Energy to automatically approve all exports of liquefied natural gas to all TPP countries.[4] This will encourage greater LNG production, much of which will be extracted through fracking.

Additionally, the TPP will establish an Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, similar to the one implemented by NAFTA. Under such a system, a corporation may sue a government in a secretive court for passing a law which diminishes that company's profits. This means that companies could challenge laws such as those that require GMO labeling, discourage smoking, or prohibit the use of certain chemicals. In one such case, Methanex, a Canadian corporation, sued the United States government for $970 million after California restricted the use of a gasoline additive. Currently, PhillipMorris is suing Uruguay and Australia over laws related to cigarette packaging. Even if these cases are resolved in the country's favor, as in the Methanex case, their high costs can serve as a deterrent for other countries. New Zealand recently reversed its decision to implement a cigarette packaging law after the lawsuit against Australia.[5]

Ultimately, the TPP will displace jobs in the United States and abroad, it will lead to further environmental degredation, and it will continue the consolidation of corporate rule. As socialists, we are opposed to a world where the people work for the benefit of corporations. Let us work to build a world where the economy works for us! Oppose the TPP!




[1]     Robert E. Scott. (14 March, 2014). U.S.-Korea Trade Deal Resulted in Growing Trade Deficits and Nearly 60,000 Lost Jobs. Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/blog/korea-trade-deal-resulted-growing-trade/
[2]     Robert E. Scott. (3 May, 2011). Heading South: U.S.-Mexico Trade and Job Displacement After NAFTA. Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/publication/heading_south_u-s-mexico_trade_and_job_displacement_after_nafta1/
[3]     Timothy A. Wise. (2 January 2014). How Beer Explains 20 Years of NAFTA's Devastating Effects on Mexico. Global Post. Retrieved from http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/global-pulse/nafta-20-years-mexican-beer
[4]     The Sierra Club. (Undated). An Explosion of Fracking? One of the Dirtiest Secrets of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement. Retrieved from https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/uploads-wysiwig/TPP-LNG_Factsheet_Updated.pdf
[5]     Jim Armitage. (22 October, 2014). Big Tobacco Puts Countries on Trial as Concerns over TTIP Deals Mount. The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/big-tobacco-puts-countries-on-trial-as-concerns-over-ttip-deals-mount-9807478.html

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