The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been negotiated behind closed doors and an agreement was reached on 5 October 2015 after 5 years of negotiations. The TPP is a monsterous global trade deal that could massively expand internet censorship, and is Big Pharma and Monsanto’s dream come true. But to become law, each country has to ratify it. The good news is that a growing chorus of Democrats and Republicans in the US are coming out against it, and if the US Congress says no, this terrible agreement dies.
The TPP will shape lives across the world from North America to Chile to New Zealand, but most of the text was written in secret by negotiators and corporations, without public input. When Wikileaks revealed a portion, we got a sampling of how bad it is:
If a nation bans a toxic chemical, or labels genetically modified foods, or tightens environmental regulations, TPP empowers companies to sue governments in secret global tribunals, run by corporate arbitrators. If the government loses, taxpayers could be forced to pay companies billions of dollars for lost profits.
Under TPP, pharmaceutical giants could extend their monopolies so far that cheap life-saving drugs for cancer and AIDS patients could be prevented.
The deal could criminalise those who sound the alarm on corporate illegal activity through a computer system.
Those are just a small part of the agreement. We have no idea what corporate lobbyists wrote into the bulk of the treaty because governments have refused to release the text to the public. While trade treaties can be critical to a healthy global economy, representatives should never be able to ram through new laws without letting citizens know what’s in them — and they certainly should not do it in service to corporate profits at the expense of the public good.
According to the New York Times, “the clearest winners of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would be American agriculture, along with technology and pharmaceutical companies, insurers and many large manufacturers” who could expand exports to the other nations that have signed the treaty. Translation: More big government pandering to corporations and their special interests.
A large and growing number of global health professionals, internet freedom activists, environmentalists, organised labour, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticised and protested against the treaty, in large part because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement’s expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.
“We’ve been fighting these types of agreements for years, and have won. Allies in the US Congress just told us ‘this is not a done deal’, but to bury it, they need all the public help they can get. Let’s stop the corporate takeover of our democracies. Join the call and spread the word.” This needs all of us:
It can be easy to feel small in the face of big corporate forces driving our governments. But when they tried to push a trade deal that threatened our internet freedom, almost 3 million Avaazers took action, and our community was a key force in stopping it completely. Let’s do it again here and remind our governments that people, not money, are the true source of power.
An explainer on Obama’s ‘secret’ trade pact (Guardian)
Who is writing the TPP? (Boston Globe)
Trans-Pacific Partnership is reached, but faces scrutiny in Congress (New York Times)
TPP: What is it and why does it matter? (BBC)
Avaaz uniquely brings voices from all twelve countries and the whole world to the debate. Let’s give our allies in Congress the massive public backing they need to protect our freedoms. Join the call and tell everyone — our call will be delivered directly to Congress: