The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Problem

The occupy movement was fairly successful at bringing to light the massive influence that corporations have over our governments, the internet and our daily lives. If only they could see what was going on in San Diego, California. Cloaked in secrecy, negotiations are taking place between 600 industry advisers and non-elected trade representatives to engineer an international agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The negotiations were initiated by George W. Bush back in 2008 and after a brief pause under Barack Obama talks have continued since 2009. Nine countries are currently taking part; Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States. Canada and Mexico received invites last month, but are not actually permitted to take part in negotiations (they are only permitted to join).

On the surface, the TPP seems like just another free trade agreement, but the majority of these countries already have free trade agreements in place, so what’s the point? Why the secrecy? The answer is simple; the policies of the TPP would never survive public scrutiny.

In fact, less than 10% of the chapters in this agreement actually deal with traditional free trade. It is essentially an international attack by the one percent on national sovereignty and personal freedom. Participating nations would be obliged to conform all their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP’s rules, but that’s just the start.

Through the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, foreign firms would gain a vast array of rights, including:

• Rights to acquire land, natural resources and factories without government review
• Risks and costs of off-shoring to low wage countries eliminated
• Special guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” for relocating firms
• Compensation for loss of “expected future profits” from health, labour, environmental laws
• Right to move capital without limits
• New rights cover vast definition of investment: intellectual property, permits, derivatives
• Ban performance requirements, domestic content rules. Absolute ban, not only when applied to investors from signatory countries

The agreement will empower corporations to sue governments, outside their domestic court systems, over any action the corporations believe undermines their expected future profits.

The corporate coup d’état goes further, it picks up where SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and Bill C-11 left off. Leaked documents reveal that TPP includes what Open Media refers to as an internet trap. It would in effect criminalize some everyday use of the internet, force service providers to collect and hand over your private data and give media conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use, remove online content (including entire websites) and even terminate your access to the internet altogether.

It’s amazing that in the age of information, something this extreme can go unreported. The few reports you might have seen from the mainstream media would have you believe that it’s just another free trade agreement aimed at benefiting us all.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true, this deal is being deliberated by those who have it all, yet want more. Those who benefit most from the TPP will be those at the top and it will remain there. Since NAFTA and similar pacts were signed, five million people have lost their jobs and fifty thousand factories have closed in the United States alone, yet corporate profits are at record highs.

The Trans Pacific Partnership has no end date and no limit to the amount of countries that can join so long as they obey their draconian laws. If this deal is approved as is, our lives, our laws, even the way we are taxed will be vastly different in the near future.

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