Monday, October 26, 2015

TPP: Good or Bad Deal? By Erick San Juan

TPP: Good or Bad Deal? By Erick San Juan

After nearly six years of negotiations, trade ministers recently announced they had reached agreement on the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This does not mean the TPP is a done deal. The next hurdle for this perceive rigged corporate power grab is to convince the participating governments, including Congress, to ratify it.

Both chambers of Congress must ratify the TPP by a majority vote using a process called “fast track.” The Trade Justice Movement fought a multi-year campaign to prevent Congress from giving the president fast-track trade authority. "We delayed it for much longer than the corporate traders wanted, forcing the TPP into the election year. Since the TPP is believed to be a 'Toxic Political Poison,' an election year is not when they wanted to consider it. The corporate traders were required to compromise and to pass fast track. One key compromise was making the text of the agreement public for 60 days before Congress considers it. This is a tremendous opportunity to educate and mobilize people."

Just after the TPP negotiators reached an agreement, Ralph Nader was asked if the TPP could be stopped. He said, “It will be stopped on its demerits.” He further noted its wide impact, saying, “Its scope is everything,” and described it as a “global corporate coup … the most brazen corporate power grab in American history.” The TPP, he added, is “a major peril to our national authority” that is “ceding our sovereignty, ceding our self-reliance, ceding everything we can do within the boundaries of the United States.”

The TPP is a bad deal. Just like every other similar agreement, it is going to outsource jobs, lower wages globally, increase the wealth divide, increase the U.S. trade deficit, undermine democracy, weaken the federal court system, degrade the environment and undermine sovereignty at every level of government. The more people who learn about this deal, the worse it will look, and if we resist it, the likelihood of passage in Congress will shrink.

And, similar to the TPP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is having troubles in Europe. Europeans see TTIP either not advancing or going in the wrong direction because of the heavy handedness of the U.S. The French negotiator said: “France is considering all options including an outright termination of negotiations.”

More than 3 million people across Europe signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement and hundreds of thousands marched in Berlin last Oct. 10 opposing the TTIP. People realize that rather than opening up new markets, since the U.S. and EU countries already trade a great deal, it will privatize public services for corporate profits. (By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, Global Research, October 24, 2015)

As the TPP getting closer to its ratification, opposition to the said agreement is also growing stronger. There are reports that the US Congress will delay the ratification until late 2016.

“In the US, opposition continues to mount, suggesting that the TPP faces a difficult time getting through Congress.

US Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, came out against the TPP, arguing that it is too favourable to powerful pharmaceutical companies and believing that it didn’t “meet the high bar I have set”. While Clinton’s opposition could be viewed as mere politicking in the lead up to an election year, opposition is mounting across the board.

The powerful US pharmaceutical lobby is reportedly livid that the TPP did not secure better monopoly protections, whereas big tobacco lobby and its representatives in Congress are furious that the industry has been carved-out of the investor-state dispute settlement provision, thus limiting its ability to take legal action against member states that regulate against the tobacco industry.” (By Leith van Onselen,

The much talked about US pivot to Asia wherein the TPP is the centerpiece seemed to have lost its way by dealing with the Middle East crisis.

As what Fareed Zakaria opinion writer at the Washington Post online) wrote “The Obama administration’s foreign policy energies are fully engaged in the Middle East — negotiating the Iran deal, sending Special Operations forces into Iraq, supporting Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, working with the Syrian rebels. Whatever happened to the pivot to Asia?

Remember, the basic argument behind the pivot was that the United States was overinvested in the Middle East, a crisis-prone region of dwindling importance to the U.S. national interest. Asia, on the other hand, is the future. Of the four largest economies, three are in Asia, if measured by purchasing-power parity. As Singapore’s late leader Lee Kuan Yew often said, “America will remain the world’s dominant power in the 21st century only if it is the dominant Pacific power.”

The growing tension in some of the flashpoints where a regional conflict might be waiting to be triggered by a miscalculated event are just too overwhelming for a leader who will be facing an election soon. President Obama will have to play his cards well in order to have a legacy that will go down in history as something to be proud of. If not.....

No comments: