Jun 142012

By aquabuddha, 99GetSmart

Democracy Now! aired an interview with Lori Wallach of Citizenstrade.org. She exposes the leaked draft of the secretive trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The newly leaked TPP draft is described by Citizens Trade Campaign as containing Special Rights for Corporations.

Only 600 corporate advisers have seen the text of this agreement, while Senator Ron Wyden, Chair of the Senate Trade Committee, has been denied access to the text of the agreement for 2 ½ years. Essentially, this new trade deal, which has been kept secret from the public as well as our elected officials, would give corporations complete control over our government.

According to Citizens Trade campaign, “The new texts reveal that TPP negotiators are considering a dispute resolution process that would grant transnational corporations special authority to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems.”

Fire Dog Lake notes:

Under the agreement currently being advocated by the Obama administration, American corporations would continue to be subject to domestic laws and regulations on the environment, banking and other issues. But foreign corporations operating within the U.S. would be permitted to appeal key American legal or regulatory rulings to an international tribunal. That international tribunal would be granted the power to overrule American law and impose trade sanctions on the United States for failing to abide by its rulings.”

Lori Wallach, in her interview with Democracy Now!, explained that corporations will have the ability to sue any government for not allowing them to pollute, for example. Lawsuits will be decided upon by a secretive tribunal made of three corporate attorneys.

In essence, the TPP will undermine the national sovereignty of any nation that signs the agreement.

Lori Wallach states:

“It’s been branded as a trade agreement but it’s really enforceable global corporate governance. It requires any signatory country to confirm its laws, regulations and administrative procedures to 26 chapters of comprehensive rules, only two of which have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters sets forth a whole new corporate set of rights that handcuffs governments and limits regulations.”

“The new rights give foreign corporations the right to privately enforce this public treaty and sue our government, raiding our treasury over the costs of complying with policies that all US companies have to comply with.”

“This isn’t just a bad trade agreement, it’s the 1 percenters power tool that could rip up our basic needs and rights.”

“Across all of the countries involved, their citizen movements are saying, ‘This is not in our name. We do not need global enforceable corporate rights. We need more democracy. We need more accountability’.  This agreement is the antithesis”.

“Nothing the public interests groups have said is reflected in the agreement. The US position on the agreement is the most extreme. It’s even blocking countries involved having the ability to use financial regulations, financial stability.”

It was also leaked that those involved in writing the agreement had to sign a secrecy agreement which prevents any of the text of the agreement to be known to the public until four years after its complication.

Wallach goes on to explain, “These agreements are not about trade, they are like cement. Once the cement dries on these agreements, you can’t change the rules unless all the other countries involved agree to amend the agreement. What we are talking about here with this leak chapter is literally a parallel system of justice. Corporations would have a parallel system of private attorneys, three of them with no conflict of interest laws. The US and other countries would submit themselves to the jurisdiction of this corporate kangaroo court. These three random attorneys would have the right to order the US government to pay unlimited amounts of our tax dollars to corporations and investors who a. claim regulatory costs that need to be refunded or b. claim they aren’t being treated well enough, regardless if the exact same policies apply to all of us.”

The 8 nations currently involved are Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore, Chile, Peru, Vietnam and the US. Malaysia has just joined. However, the TPP is being left as an open ended agreement that any country can agree to join in the future. Wallach goes on to state, “It could very well be the last trade agreement that is negotiated … once it’s done, any other country can join … it’s an agreement that can ultimately have the entire world in it, as a set of binding corporate guarantees of new rights and privileges, enforced with cash sanctions and trade sanctions.”

Wallach concludes, “It is not an exaggeration to say the TPP threatens to become a regime of binding global governance, right at the time the Occupy Movement and other movements around the globe are demanding more power and control. This is the fight back. This is locking in the bad old way, plus.”

The TPP would get rid of existing laws but also prevent new progressive laws from being implemented in the future. The agreement will allow NAFTA style offshoring and give corporations patent control over medicines and seeds. Countries will not be able to ban risky financial services or issue regulations. It also meddles with how local tax dollars are spent. Cities and activists will not be able to pass laws that provide a “local preference” for locally made products or “Buy American”.

The good news is that we still have time to stop this agreement. There is another TPP meeting scheduled during the July 4th weekend.  According to Wallach, the Obama Administration hasn’t been made aware of the text of the agreement because of the secrecy of the negotiations. So its time the Occupy Movement and others make the Obama Administration aware that this secret trade agreement needs to be scrapped if he hopes to be re-elected in November.

Plan of Action:

Lori Wallach has written extensively on the TPP at the Huffington Post, if you want to learn more. Follow Lori Wallach on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/PCGTW

Educate your friends and family about the TPP by sending them this article and Public Citizens You Tube video.

Tweet the official White House Twitter Account at www.twitter.com/blog44.  Contact the White House directly.

Submit comments online to the White House. Write or call the White House.  Create a petition at White House.gov.

Contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative requesting they investigate the private nature of these meetings and block the passage of the TPP.

Get politically active at the local political party of your choosing. Inform local party officials to take action against the TPP. Help select candidates that would block the TPP or help write the party platform that would deny its passage.

If you live in one of the 8 countries involved in this agreement, contact your government officials.

Join your local Occupy Movement camp. Find out more information at occupii.org or occupywallst.org

Organize a Protest at the next TPP Meeting:

The next negotiation round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will take place in San Diego, California from July 2-10, 2012. USTR will be hosting a Direct Stakeholder Engagement event on Monday, July 2, 2012. This event will provide stakeholders the opportunity to speak directly and one-on-one with negotiators, raise questions, and share their views.  We tried this format at the last round in Dallas, and most stakeholders expressed their preference for this one-on-one engagement.  Some stakeholders said they would like the opportunity to make presentations to negotiators as in earlier negotiating rounds and we will accommodate these requests.  In addition, there will be a stakeholder briefing on July 3. The negotiation round venue and registration information will be posted shortly.

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