If You Loved NAFTA, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Knock Your Sweat-Shop Socks Off

by lizard

For those who pay attention to the mechanisms of the global corporate elite, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not new news, considering whispers of the secret negotiations have been wafting out since 2010.

What is relatively new is the wikileaks disclosure of one of the secret draft chapters:

The 30,000 word intellectual property chapter contains proposals to increase the term of patents, including medical patents, beyond 20 years, and lower global standards for patentability. It also pushes for aggressive measures to prevent hackers breaking copyright protection, although that comes with some exceptions: protection can be broken in the course of “lawfully authorised activities carried out by government employees, agents, or contractors for the purpose of law enforcement, intelligence, essential security, or similar governmental purposes”.

WikiLeaks claims that the text shows America attempting to enforce its highly restrictive vision of intellectual property on the world – and on itself. “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly,” says Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, who is living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London following an extradition dispute with Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape.

“If instituted,” Assange continues, “the TPP’s intellectual property regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

The legislative process that the duplicitous Obama administration was trying to fast-track is being slowed down thanks to 151 House Democrats. Here is an excerpt of the letter they sent to the president:

We write to express our serious concern with the ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a potential agreement of tremendous consequence for our country. Specifically, we remain deeply troubled by the continued lack of adequate congressional consultation in many areas of the proposed pact that deeply implicates Congress’ constitutional and domestic policy authorities.

For some time, members of Congress have urged your administration to engage in broader and deeper consultations with members of the full range of committees of Congress whose jurisdiction touches on the numerous issues being negotiated. Many have raised concerns relating to reports about the agreement’s proposed content. While your Administration’s goal was to sign a TPP FTA at the October 2013 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, we believe that to date the process has failed to provide adequate consultation with Congress.

Such opportunity for input from Congress is critical as the TPP FTA will include binding obligations that touch upon a wide swath of policy matters under the authority of Congress.

Beyond traditional tariff issues, these include policies related to labor, patent and copyright, land use, food, agriculture and product standards, natural resources, the environment, professional licensing, competition, state-owned enterprises and government procurement policies, as well as financial, healthcare, energy, e-commerce, telecommunications and other service sector regulations.

The TPP—described as NAFTA on steroids—is incredibly dangerous, and should be opposed by anyone who thinks maybe corporations shouldn’t have full spectrum dominance over the lives of humans across globe.

For a list of the Democrats who didn’t sign this letter, click continue.

*

Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Xavier Becerra (CA-34)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Dian DeGette (CO-01)
Jared Polis (CO-02)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
John Larson (CT-01)
Jim Himes (CT-04)
John Carney (DE-AL)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Bradley Schneider (IL-10)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Chris Van Hollen (MD-08)
Richard Neal (MA-01)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Sander Levin (MI-09)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Gregory Meeks (NY-05)
Charlie Rangel (NY-13)
Joe Crowley (NY-14)
David Price (NC-04)
Mel Watt (NC-12)
Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Pete Gallego (TX-23)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Jim Moran (VA-08)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
Rick Larsen (WA-02)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Adam Smith (WA-09)
Denny Heck (WA-10)
Ron Kind (WI-03)


  1. Liberal Democrats, it’s time to cut the cord. Obama needs to hear it loud enough that it forces him, and congressional Democrats, to reverse direction.

  2. I see where you’re going with this, lizard – and I agree that medical patents need to be closely limited (however, any agreement not affecting India and Brazil will have little effect on medical patenting and generics). But I also would like to point this out – we know the American middle class is struggling, we know that this is partly a result of an absurd trade imbalance with China, and we know that the majority of this trade imbalance is caused by their lack of respect for intellectual property rights. So until something is done about international IP rights, America will continue to run a trade deficit, the savings glut from China will continue, and the middle class will continue to suffer. The TPP may not be the way to do it, but the goal here is a worthwhile one.

    • lizard19

      the TPP is not some transparent attempt to resolve intellectual rights in order to address our trade imbalance with China to help out the middle class. it’s a corporatizing process that will eventually supersede national sovereignty.

      • 1. That may be, but the material you quoted isn’t evidence of that – it’s evidence that Intellectual Property rights will be addressed by the TPP in a direction consistent with the interests of producers and distributors of IP.

        2. The problem is an international one, therefore it must be solved by some kind of treaty. Treaties by definition limit national sovereignty.

        3. The ‘proper’ way to do this, then, is to sign it as a treaty (not an executive agreement) and have it ratified by the Senate. Again, I see your point that this may well benefit certain corporations – however, the demand to consult every House committee that is going to be effected sounds more like an effort to rent seek on individual aspects of the agreement. I certainly applaud greater transparency; I do fear, however, that even a totally transparent process is meaningless if not enough people bother to look at it.

        • lizard19

          we only know about this draft chapter because wikileaks leaked it. there have been whispers about other provisions, like a process for corporations to sue governments if said corporations feels a particular regulation is too onerous to its ability to profit.

          • Okay I’m being a little lazy, so if you don’t know this off the top of your head I can go look it up myself, but what’s the plan to enact the TPP? Is it being signed as an executive agreement, a treaty, or is it being passed as a law? An executive agreement, unratified by the Senate, does not have the force of law. A treaty needs to be ratified by the Senate, so all these ‘draft chapters’ would become public before the vote. Sure, no one in power is going to make an effort to bring media attention to the issue before the vote, but the treaty would be published – ultimately transparent, if anyone is watching. Am I missing something (it’s fully possible that I am)?

            • lizard19

              I don’t know if there is a answer to that because so much of this is still being kept secret, but if you find out please let me know.




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