Bernie Sanders says: “If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.” I agree.
Sanders also points out previous trade agreements that didn’t work out as planned:
NAFTA was supposed to create 200,00 American jobs, but resulted in the loss of 1 million American jobs and a cumulative trade deficit of $8.8 TRILLION dollars.
The trade agreement with China was supposed to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs. However, in reality it has resulted in the loss of more than 3 million American jobs. We all see the labels: “Made In China.”
The Korean free trade agreement resulted in the loss of 60,000 American jobs.
So why is President Obama pushing for a fast track on this? Why are the details being hidden from the very people it is supposed to benefit and pay for it?
While this is being labeled a “free trade agreement” it is comprised of 29 chapters, only 5 of which are on trade. The other 24 are about the rights and privileges of the signatory countries which allows them, among other things, to privately enforce public treaties which enable them to sue our government — effectively raiding the U.S. Treasury — over laws that American companies have to comply with, but under the TPP the signatory countries’ companies would not.
The countries that are currently in negotiations are the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. The countries comprise approximately 40 percent of the global economy. The Phillipines, Thailand, Columbia and other countries are expected to join the negotiations. According to Citizens Trade Campaign, this would be the largest Free Trade Agreement in the world. According to Bernie Sanders (see video below) this would be the largest trade agreement in United States History. So, again, how come we don’t know anything about it?
According to Public Citizen:
One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.
The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the ‘expected future profits’ they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies.
We only know about the TPP’s threats thanks to leaks – the public is not allowed to see the draft TPP text. Even members of Congress, after being denied the text for years, are now only provided limited access. Meanwhile, more than 500 official corporate ‘trade advisors’ have special access. The TPP has been under negotiation for six years, and the Obama administration wants to sign the deal this year.
WATCH Bernie Sanders address President Obama on the issue and sign his petition to Stop The TPP:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beOJtXLSQyc?feature=player_detailpage]
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF BERNIE’S SPEECH:
While the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has not been made public there have been some leaks of what is included in it. And what these leaks tell us is in fact very disturbing. I think it is obvious to anyone who has taken a look at the issue that the TPP is just a new easy was for corporations to shut down in America and to send jobs abroad. The United States, it is estimated, would lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone if the TPP goes into effect. And the reason for that is when you’re dealing with a country like Vietnam, it is my understanding there is that minimum wage is 56 CENTS per hour.
Maybe I’m old fashioned but I don’t think American workers should be forced to compete against people who are working for 56 cents an hour. Mr. President, at a time when corporations have already outsourced over 3 million service sector jobs in the U.S., the TPP includes rules that will make it easier for corporate America to outsource call centers, computer programming, engineering, accounting and medical diagnostic draws.
Under the TPP, Vietnamese companies will be able to compete with American companies for Federal contracts funded by U.S. taxpayers, undermining ‘buy American laws.’ If the United States is to remain a major industrial power, producing real products and creating good paying jobs, we must develop a new set of trade policies which work for the ordinary American worker and not for large corporations and big campaign donors.
Let me be very frank as an Independent. It’s not just Republicans who have been supporting these unfettered free trade agreements. There have been Democratic Presidents as well. Corporate America has said ‘we want these trade policies’ and both political parties have said ‘yeah, that’s what we’ll do.’ But I think it’s time to stand up and say, enough is enough. This country now is in a major race to the bottom.
Workers are working longer hours for lower wages. No American worker should be forced to compete against desperate people around the world who are making pennies an hour.
Corporate America, every night on television, in every ad that you see tells us ‘buy this product, buy that product’… Well, if they want us to buy these products here in the United States of America maybe it’s high time they started manufacturing those products here in the United States of America.
So I am opposed to the TPP. That’s my view. But I would hope that every member is opposed to this fast-track process which gives the President the authority to negotiate these agreements in the final terms and that is because nobody has had the opportunity to really even see what is in the proposed agreement right now. Transparency has been minimal, absolutely minimal. So I think, Mr. President, if we are serious about creating decent paying jobs in this country, if we’re serious about raising wages, if we’re serious about dealing with other issues that have surfaced in terms of sovereignty, the idea that we would make it easier for tobacco companies to sell their deadly products to children around the world, and make it harder for governments to protect the health of their citizens, is an absolute outrage. It is an outrage, Mr. President.
I hope the American people stand up and tell Congress ‘enough is enough.’ We need to created decent paying jobs in this country for a change and not just in other countries around the world.
To learn more, here is a video from 2012 from Democracy Now, which condenses this very complicated subject into easily understandable terms:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmMsZAVnySI?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]
Featured image: via YouTube screengrab