Proponents of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) claim that it will liberate international trade within the lucrative Asia-Pacific region that is inhabited by 800 million people and generates up to 40 percent of the world’s GDP. At the same time, there are many detractors who have peered behind the innocent-sounding rhetoric and have drawn a totally different conclusion.
TPP critics include Global Trade Watch, which calls the proposal “a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America. (It’s) a dream of the 1%.”
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief, added that “if you farm or consume food [or] if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
Trans-Pacific Partnership Q&A
Q. What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and who are the major parties that are promoting its passage and implementation?
A. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement involving 12 Pacific Rim nations that includes the United States, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, and Japan that is being spearheaded by 600 corporations and their lobbyists and lawyers for the purpose of transferring governmental oversight and control over to private firms. Final negotiations among the respective nations are being conducted in secret.
With the help of disclosures obtained from WikiLeaks and other websites, we know that the TPP would:
• Allow foreign firms to challenge environmental laws if it is felt that those laws threaten their profits. Negotiators of the TPP are asking Congress to vote on the treaty as written, with no changes.
• Extend patents to further benefit major pharmaceutical companies.
• Creates supra-national powers that override national laws and constitutions.
Q. If you live in one of the twelve countries that would be directly affected by the implementation of TPP, would it help to communicate your thoughts about this agreement with your elected representatives?
A. While it certainly wouldn’t hurt to call or share your opinion in writing, I don’t know whether it would influence their position or their vote. While members of the US Congress have been granted permission to read the text of the TPP document, as noted in the Truth-Out report excerpted below, very few besides Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions have actually done so and all of them are forbidden from taking notes or disclosing the information to the public.
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of the few members of Congress who has taken the time to jump through the hoops and read the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But, he has gone a step farther than other members – he told members of Congress what he read. He told the truth about what the TPP says and why Congress should oppose it in a five page letter to his colleagues.
Sessions’ action flies in the face of the threats made by the US Trade Representative to prosecute elected officials who tell people what is in the trade agreement. Others should follow his example and get out the truth about the TPP.
Q. If the TPP is implemented, could its provisions restrict or even prohibit future sales of organic sulfur and other dietary supplements?
While there’s not enough hard facts to come up with a definitive answer, the possibility exists. Organic sulfur is technically classified as a food, not a drug, and is sanctioned for international trade via its assigned World Trade Organization number (WTO #2930.90). Because specific details about the TPP are being kept secret, right now we can only speculate on the outcome, based on what little we know from various sources.
As a starting point, let’s look at how TPP would impact health and food-related issues. Under TPP, any labeling of GMO foods in the US would be prohibited. In addition, all country-of-origin labels on foods sold in US grocery stores would no longer be allowed. Also, if you organized a boycott against a corporation, you could be sued in a foreign court for negatively impacting their future profits.
Suppose a large multinational like Monsanto initiated and then closed a business deal to buy Bergstrom Nutrition – arguably, the largest and most well-known distributor of MSM (methylsulfonylmethane). Monsanto then proceeds to synthesize MSM in one of its labs and follows up by getting a patent for its product.
Monsanto holds many patents and is adamant about protecting the sale of its herbicides and GMO products. Under the Investor State Dispute Settlement provision contained in the TPP, multinational corporations would be allowed to file lawsuits against governments (both local and federal) in a special tribunal court if they deem that their profits would be negatively constrained by any laws that undermine their TPP privileges. These tribunals would be staffed by private sector lawyers who rotate as judges and as advocates for the same corporate interests that sue the governments.
In summation, the TPP does not appear to be about encouraging free trade and the flow of goods across borders. Rather, the TPP is really designed to allow large corporations to gain monopolistic control over the entire marketplace and continue to pollute and exploit with impunity.
Obscure TPP Provision Will Lead to Corporations Replacing Nations As the Rulers of the Planet
Dave Hodges | The Common Sense Show
Mar 6, 2015
Senator Reads the TPP and Exposes Its Contents; Other Elected Officials Should Do the Same
Kevin Zeese | TruthOut
May 18, 2015
Japanese Movement Against TPP Growing
Protests in New Zealand against Trans Pacific Partnership
by John Braddock
World Socialist Web Site
March 12, 2015
The “Trans-Pacific Partnership”: Trade Liberation — or Global Domination?
Monsanto And Syngenta About To Receive Dozens Of Patents On Unpatentable Plants
Glyn Moody | TechDirt
May 22, 2015
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