STOP THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TREATY!

We will be posting as often as we can perspectives on the Fast Track Trans-Pacific Partnership, a treaty that will unite global corporations and twelve nations in a unified agreement on trade.  In summary, the aggreement, in the process of formation for many years now, will lock-on more favors to global manufacturers by providing mostly an easier ability to exploit labor markets in Indonesia and southern Asia.  There also exist loopholes around and restrictions to action involving labor rights, environmental concerns and even traditional tariffs to protect goods produced in countries such as the United States.  If you thought the trade with China over the last forty years or so has destroyed American manufacturing and business, just imagine that expanded even more.  Needless to say, labor leaders and groups worldwide are coming out against new global affront to the planet and to working people.

Our first analysis on this issue comes from the Socialist Worker.org:

A treaty to outlaw democracy

Australian socialist Michael Kandelaars explains what’s what we’re learning about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, in an article published at Red Flag.

Thousands protest in Tokyo against the Trans-Pacific PartnershipThousands protest in Tokyo against the Trans-Pacific Partnership

THE TRANS-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is set to be the largest economic treaty ever signed. It currently involves 12 countries, including Australia, that represent more than 40 percent of the world’s GDP.

Yet it is being negotiated in secret to ensure it is free of any public criticism or scrutiny–so secret that the text of the agreement will be released only four years after the deal has been signed.

How do we know what’s in the agreement? We know parts only because sections of the working documents have been leaked and published by whistleblower website Wikileaks. These leaks have exposed how the rich and powerful are conspiring to make tougher the lives of millions of people across the globe.

On 25 March Wikileaks released the Advanced Investment chapter of the TPP. It details a massive expansion of the rights of the rich and their corporations to rampage across the world.

The most controversial part is the establishment of an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) arrangement. This will give “investors” the right to sue governments if they pass laws that impede profits.

A case would not be held in the country that is being sued, but in a special international court with no right of appeal. This not only grants exceptional legal rights to corporations but also erodes the basic right of countries to make their own laws.

An example of how this can be used involves the provincial government of Quebec in Canada. It is currently being sued for $250 million by U.S.-based Lone Pine Resources Inc. over the government’s ban of gas fracking. Lone Pine is not suing primarily for loss of income, but for the loss of future profits expected from fracking. This is being conducted through the ISDS clauses in the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

Another important case involves French multinational Veolia, which is suing the Egyptian government under a similar bilateral agreement for increasing the minimum wage. Egypt is also being sued by Indorama Corp. for the nationalization of a textile factory during the 2011 revolution.

To continue reading:  A Treaty to Outlaw Democracy

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