We work to inform our fellow citizens about what is wrong with the TPP Pact and what are the people’s alternatives.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF WOSD POSITION PAPER ON THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TRADE AGREEMENT (TPP)JULY 2013
Women Occupy San Diego (WOSD), a women’s civic organization of over 200 women focused on issues of economic and social justice, has reviewed the information available on the TPP and has serious concerns about the impact of such an agreement on the health and welfare of American citizens, as well as the citizens of other nations who are parties to this proposed agreement. We represent mothers, grandmothers, daughters, grand-daughters, and all who are concerned about the quality of a free society for our children and grandchildren and for all of the citizens of our country and the international community.
We are extremely concerned that the proponent of this proposed agreement, (the United States Government under Presidents Bush and Obama) has not fully assessed and communicated the effects of its previous “free” trade agreements. There are lessons to be learned from over ten years of experience with NAFTA alone. Yet, these lessons appear to be ignored by the President and trade authorities in the USA.
Some of the concerns we have identified from our review of available TPP information include: threats to national sovereignty, threats to food sovereignty, threats to our economy, threats to the environment, threats to labor, secure jobs and wages, threats to health and access to life-saving drugs, and threats to the globally free Internet.
National sovereignty is severely threatened by little-known legal tribunals who rule for corporations against sovereign nations, awarding corporations damages based on claims of unearned profits due to environmental, health, and other regulations restricting them from selling their products for more profit. Examples of this are Philip Morris suing Uruguay for an amount exceeding their GNP because or a health law requiring warning labels on cigarette packages, and an American oil company suing a Canadian Province because of a law banning an ingredient in the company’s oil which was carcinogenic; the Provincial government paid the corporation $13 million and rescinded the law, rather than pay the $250 million demanded by the corporation.
Food sovereignty is equally threatened by the so-called “life science” corporations which have increasingly asserted their rights to make a profit throughout the countries of the world. Under TPP, they will have increased power to usurp land from indigenous farmers who only know that way of life and who have no other skills. Their produce will be replaced with genetically modified (GM) plants which will be forced on all farming in each country, without a say by the farmers and the indigenous people. Family farmers will lose their livelihoods and will be hired at a less-than-livable wage by the corporations to send their goods back to the United States and sold there for a very cheap price.
Labor will thus lose both skilled and unskilled jobs to other countries, and our manufacturing base will be eliminated, for all practical purposes. By outsourcing production jobs, we will have only a permanent underclass, which in turn will decrease our revenue base substantially.
Environmental and health regulations in the member countries, especially those governing tobacco use, will be challenged by the corporations in the tribunals. In 2012, 48% of the corporate claims filed with the tribunals were upheld, requiring tax payers in the nations losing the cases to pay millions in damages to the corporations. Furthermore, the drug companies will have their patents extended for many years, so that life-saving drugs will not be affordable for those with terminal diseases.
As for the Internet, TPP will grant big media new powers to lock users out of their own content and services, to shut down websites, and remove content, thereby blocking users and entrepreneurs from enjoying the benefits of the open Internet. This will be done in the name of greater protection from hackers and cyber attacks on databases. If that were the only reason, why are the negotiations on this subject being kept secret?
President Obama wants approval of the TPP fast-tracked through Congress by September, so he can start negotiations on a similar “partnership” with the European Union on the same basic terms. Congress has been kept in the dark about the contents of the TPP; however, very recently, one Congressman, Alan Grayson, was “allowed” to read the draft text, with the condition that he not reveal what the contents are. So much for any transparency on the part of the Obama Administration and its upholding the right of the public to know about laws affecting our lives.
CALL FOR ACTION
- We call on all American citizens to call and email their Congressional Representatives, send them this text, and tell them you do not want them to vote for fast-tracking TPP through Congress because they need to know what’s in it and to debate it.
- We call for an end to the secrecy surrounding the TPP and for the Obama Administration to release the draft text of the TPP immediately, including the drafts resulting from both the plenary and the “intersessional” meetings, past and future. These texts must be released immediately to the public, so that we have an adequate amount of time to form and submit our comments.
- We call on the nations of the world to maintain their sovereignty against the pressures being mounted by the multi-national corporations and by the United States. We want them to know that a very large number of Americans do not approve of the TPP as it currently exists.
- We encourage all Americans to inform themselves about it, based on documents which have been leaked from the negotiations, and based on our complete position paper which can be found at www.womenoccupysandiego.com. For more information, contact www.womenoccupysandiego.com. Additional resources: www.publiccitizen.org, http://www.exposethetpp.org.