(The following post appeared on the blog of the International Association of Machinists — IAM.)
If the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) is signed into law at the end of this year, the rules for international trade and the global economy will change dramatically, and not for the better.
Despite the potential for the TPP to negatively impact hundreds of thousands of American jobs, the negotiations to create the massive trade pact are being conducted in unprecedented secrecy. Access to the pact’s draft language is limited almost exclusively to a handful of government negotiators and corporate advisers.
Among those denied access to the pending terms of the trade deal was Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness. Outraged, Wyden responded with a bill demanding greater transparency in the negotiations. Over 130 members of Congress also took action, sending a letter to the U.S. trade representative demanding a more open process.
While members of Congress and the American public are unable to view the details of TPP, access and input is being granted some of the most deep-pocketed corporations in the world, including Chevron, Halliburton and PhRMA (The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America).
According to documents leaked by consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, the deal includes extraordinary terms that explain why trade officials are so anxious to keep the negotiations secret. (See video above.)
“Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do,” said Public Citizen’s founder Lori Wallach.
Additional terms in the leaked documents reveal the TPP would ban “Buy American” procurement rules and incentivize U.S. corporations to invest abroad and offshore more jobs to low-wage countries.
Click here to sign a petition urging President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to support a trade policy that creates jobs in the United States; does not promote offshoring; improves working conditions and strengthens workers’ rights at home and abroad. The petition, authored by an IAM member at Trane Corp in La Crosse, WI also calls for a trade deal that protects the rights of sovereign governments to make policies in the public interest, including policies with respect to clean air and water, affordable medicines and food safety.