Part 5: Just what will it take to stop the TPP?
Preface by Pam Barker | TLB staff writer
In the first 4 parts of his 5-part series, journalist Brett Redmayne-Titley opened our eyes to many things regarding the 2012 round of negotiations of the TPP or so-called free-trade treaty with 11 other Pacific Rim nations at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront that he attended in person. These included the total disregard the US’s own trade representative had for our elected officials seeking information, the traitorous nature of our President for allowing this to go on in secret, the complicity of the mainstream media, as well as extreme American public apathy.
In this, the 5th and final part, he focuses on the detailed analysis that the organisation Public Citizen made of the leaked TPP documents, which makes clear the various ways the TPP agreement can override national, state and local laws.
Specifically, their analysis of the wording of the TPP shows among other things that:
– presidential decisions based on security concerns can be overridden;
– measures to ensure national financial stability can be overridden by multinational banks;
– unequal retention of tariffs on goods means US manufacturers will be encouraged to produce their goods abroad and ship jobs out;
– permit the importation of unsafe foods from countries with poor regulatory standards;
– give Big Pharma the green light to raise prices while limiting access to generic drugs;
– permit foreign corporations to challenge laws and win massive compensation in areas such as environmental protection, fracking and fossil fuel extraction, health protections, etc.
And worse, although the TTP has not yet been fully ratified, it will only take four out of ten countries, in addition to the USA and Japan, to see this pass into law. This being the result of weighting countries by their respective GDPs. That’s just 6 out of 12 nations that need to agree in order for it to become law – a mere 50%.
And where does the responsibility for this rest, aside from an apathetic public? With our corrupt, sold-out political class.
Enjoy Redmayne-Titley’s final article.
By Brett Redmayne-Titley
Author’s Note: This is Part Five of a series on the upcoming threat of TPP. The previous report was direct from the 2012 San Diego TPP negotiations re-published by Activist Post to bring urgent awareness of the threat of TPP to its American and international readers. In this, the final chapter, an update and references to the full text of TPP are provided. Like the European TTIP, TPP is treason. TPP must be stopped. Now! B.R-T.
You are a, “Technical Barrier to Trade” [Greed]. You are thus specifically defined within the finalized (Chapter 8) language of the finalized Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty (TPP). Or, you would be if you, the junk-food addled, disaffected and terminally apathetic American, finally cared enough to exercise any personal respect for self-preservation. As shown in the previous four-part series – from the San Diego TPP negotiations – the twelve nations of TPP had better wake-up. Quick!
This past weekend, many countries in Europe saw huge protests in their capital cities against TTIP (Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – the European mirror image of the Obama-inspired treason known worldwide as, TPP. Since TPP was finalized and then very quietly signed in New Zealand on Feb. 4, 2016, these past few months anti-TPP protests in the US are less than minimal. Meaningful media coverage or public protest, much less European-style outrage, is collectively and completely missing! All the while treasonous US congresspersons add their own silence (their complicity) to a plot that allows the finalized copy of TPP to slither quickly – thanks to congressionally approved “Fast Track Authority”- through the halls of Congress to an obviously treasonous president’s desk. After muted approval, then TPP will be law. What should be an explosion of coast-to-coast national outrage directed at all these traitors is, here in the “land of the free,” just a faded memory … “blowin’ in the wind.”
On Nov. 16, 2015, any mystery about the intentions or wording of all thirty chapters of TPP were finally cast into public view when the completed text was leaked by WikiLeaks which had previously, on separate occasions, leaked the chapters; Intellectual Property; Investments and Transparency. These alone sparked much concern, little of which was served up to an unsuspecting public by the whores of the 4th Estate. Now, the cat has escaped the bag. There can be no remaining doubt of two facts that must be reduced, now, to a call to order before it’s too late: TPP will steal the sovereignty of America and eleven other nations to be replaced by that of select multi-national corporations. Thus it follows; any elected US politician – like the incumbent president who spawned TPP – is a traitor to America and to every American. Period.
The leaked text of TPP has finally undergone close scrutiny. A chapter-by-chapter, detailed analysis by PublicCitizen.org, the only comprehensive watchdog of TPP, shows a pervasive intention in every chapter; that of negating sovereign national, state and local laws in favor of the diktats of powerful multinational corporations. Under this scrutiny the wording of TPP reveals why it was kept secret from the public and their elected officials for almost five years, while being crafted. The finalized terms are outrageous.
The annotated TPP analysis provided by Public Citizen is exceptionally well prepared and the full text is available. Throughout the majority of the thirty TPP chapters several important key phrases loom repeatedly and point to the central problems with its nefarious goals. The reader will surely note that it is these terms that define the evil of TPP. The term, “Expectations” is one key example. This, of course, refers to profits; the ones all shareholders of any TPP-linked corporation should be able to expect if not for… the “Technical Barrier to Trade” – the regulation of a sovereign country that restricts their aforementioned expectations of pure profit. (Chapter Eight is devoted to this). Next is the oft-mentioned specific threat of an “investor-state” dispute. This is the anticipated and willfully crafted corporation v. sovereignty lawsuit designed to allow the recovery of sovereign money damages in the form of, “Compensation for Regulatory Costs.” Thus is brought to bear the insidious final mechanism of TPP: the Tribunal. Here, for nations foolish enough to abrogate their legal rights via TPP, three corporate lawyers – none selected by the sovereign nation – will have the final say. Here, sovereign rights will literally be on trial for the high crime of putting public interest before corporate profits. So, the Tribunal will hence decide the fate of nations and millions of dollars in compensation to the aggrieved. Really!
Once TPP is ratified, foreign corporations will be empowered to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” the U.S. government – or the other eleven nations – before a tribunal of selected private lawyers that sits outside of any sovereign legal system. These lawyers would be authorized to order the U.S. government to hand millions of our tax dollars to the corporations for laws that they find to be a “barrier” to their “expectations.”
The reader is encouraged to review the full text of TPP or the much shorter and excellent analysis by Public Citizen. Examination proves it can now be stated with complete accuracy, by way of reference to the exact wording of each chapter, that the language of TPP would, (amongst many other requirements):
- Would subject any U.S. President’s decision that forbids foreign investment on national security grounds to the investor-state challenge. Even if that denial was based on a national security review recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), if that investment is blocked the firm could drag the U.S. government before an extrajudicial investor-state tribunal and demand taxpayer compensation.
- Empower the same financial firms that began destroying the world economy in 2007 to now use the extrajudicial Tribunals to challenge national financial stability measures that do not conform to their “expectations” of laissez-faire profit. The TPP’s Investment Chapter provides provisions that would grant multinational banks expansive new substantive and procedural rights that attack financial stability measures in legal ways not available to U.S. firms under their domestic laws.
- Lowers U.S. tariffs to zero while allowing many of the other TPP members to maintain their import taxes for years. The ability of other countries, like Vietnam, to maintain their tariffs for significant periods of time will provide further incentives for U.S. companies to outsource production and offshore jobs and use Vietnam as an export platform to send their products back to the U.S.
- Provide protections for corporations that offshore American jobs to low-wage countries like Vietnam. Worse than the results of the previous North American Free Trade Agreement‘s (NAFTA) – 57,000 American manufacturing facilities closed and nearly 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs lost – TPP would result in a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of the U.S. That is, for anyone making less than $88,000 per year.
- Require the US and participating nations to allow food imports from countries with poor records on food safety, such as seafood from Vietnam, solely due to the specious logic that the exporting country’s safety regime is arbitrarily deemed “equivalent” to that of the importing country. These rules would effectively outsource domestic food inspection to other countries. Additionally, any U.S. food safety rules on pesticides, labeling or additives that might be higher than the concocted international standards would be subject to challenge as being “illegal trade barriers.” The U.S., as example, could be required to eliminate regulations and allow the unsafe food due to the threat of monetary trade sanctions from the Tribunal.
- Food labeling will be challenged as a technical barrier to trade since TPP would impose limits on labels providing information on where a food product comes from, identifying genetically modified foods and how the food was produced.
- Pharmaceutical firms – already fat from profit gouging an impoverished world – would be given new rights and powers. These will allow continued increases in medicine prices and limit access to cheaper generic drugs by providing lengthy extensions of worldwide monopoly drug patents. Monopoly rights to corporations over surgical procedures is further prescribed by TPP. For people of all countries signing TPP, these rules could deny consumers access to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and cancer drugs. The resultant death toll, however, is not considered a barrier to trade.
- TPP will undermine government efforts to contain rising medicine prices – such as collective purchasing – in developed countries like the United States. The text explicitly binds Medicare to TPP rules that would limit proposed policy changes intended to keep costs down for seniors. The text shows that TPP would further empower foreign pharmaceutical corporations to directly attack our domestic patent and drug-pricing laws using the foreign tribunals.
- Foreign corporations will be able to directly challenge domestic regulations on toxics, zoning, cigarette, alcohol and other public health and environmental safety policies. By using the “investor-state” legal remedy, the barbarous corporation can demand taxpayer compensation for their loss of “expected future profits.”
- TPP would undermine efforts to combat the climate crisis, empowering foreign fossil fuel corporations to challenge environmental and climate safeguards in the rigged investor-state dispute settlement system.
- Guarantee Natural Gas Export and fracking companies a market by requiring the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to automatically approve all liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to all TPP countries thus increasing fracking and natural gas production, greenhouse gases, water pollution, health risks, and earthquakes.
Unlike their European brethren who already understand the threat of TTIP, Americans strangely relegate the catastrophic results of TPP to mere conspiracy theory. The documents, i.e., the TPP treaty, is undeniable as are its likely results. According to a financial analysis published in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. market access concessions in TPP will increase the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods and autos and auto parts by more than $55 billion dollars resulting in the loss of more than 330,000 jobs.
The further predictable results are already evident in other countries under the influence of similar draconian trade pacts.
- In 2008 Uruguay, and then in 2009 Australia began implementing its obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, including enhanced tobacco warning labels and requiring plain packaging for cigarettes. Philip Morris responded by launching “investor-state” challenges against both countries’ tobacco control policies using extrajudicial tribunals to order the governments to suspend plain packaging and compensate the corporate tobacco giant for “losses.” The case was dismissed only after Australia had spent $50 million in legal costs.
- Renco Group Inc., a company owned by one of the richest men in America, Ira Rennert, operated a metal smelter in La Oroya, Peru, which became notorious when the site was designated as one of the top 10 most polluted places in the world. Peruvian corruption being already endemic, Renco sought (and Peru granted) two extraordinary extensions to complete mandated environmental remediation. When refused a third extension, Remco used the terms of the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement and its investor-state legal system to demand $800 million from the Peruvian government for not granting the corporation a third extension on its unfulfilled environmental commitments. The actual Tribunal proceedings are available to read here.
- Already, using the terms of the WTO, the U.S. “dolphin-safe” tuna fish label has been successfully challenged and has disappeared. Next, Congress repealed American consumer “country-of-origin” meat labels after the WTO authorized a $1 billion award to Mexico and Canada until the U.S. repealed the law.
- Thanks to NAFTA, Canada lifted a ban on a gasoline additive banned in the U.S. as a known human neurotoxin after an investor-state attack by Ethyl Corporation under NAFTA. Canada also paid the firm $13 million and published a formal statement that the chemical was not hazardous. This was a definitive lie!
Despite further ratification of TPP by the signatory nations it is not necessary for all to do so for TPP to become law. There are three scenarios for TPP to enter into force, all of which require only 85% approval. Each nation’s influence is metered proportionately by current GDP, meaning that just the combination of the USA and Japan gets TPP within needing only four-out-of-ten of the remaining countries for the treaty to be in effect.
Back at the origin of TPP, Americans seem resigned to their fate. With the most fraudulent presidential election in US history in full regalia, questions of the remaining candidates about TPP are rare and go unanswered in finality. Distracted, voters fail to realize that TPP is already being favorably considered by many US members of Congress. As reported in the Washington Trade Daily on April 20, 2016, forty-seven House members – including the chair and ranking member of the Ways and Means trade subcommittee – told the Obama Administration that proper implementation of dairy market access provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership will influence whether they support the agreement. This fait accompli for TPP highlights the incorrect, treasonous concerns of this duly-elected, US legislative body. Missing was any mention of, much less a challenge to, casting away America’s nation interests. Why?
The answer should be obvious to anyone paying attention to this modern five-part parable. TPP or TTIP, the root cause – the cancer – is the same: politicians who have sold their allegiance to corporations, yet are voted back to office every two, four or six years by the same disaffected fools.
However, TPP is just one more historic junction where – as is usual these days across the globe – a lack of will by an apathetic super-majority meets the evil 1% and its latest attempt at their willing enslavement. The modern track record of successes shows that evil is regularly winning. The game seems to be close to finished. Worse, the apathetic American refuses to demand a seat at the table, preferring to merely change the TV channel while finally getting up of the couch… for a snack!
Three horns we now hear from the East?! God bless.
Note: This has been Part Five of a multi-part expose on the 2012 San Diego TPP negotiations. Please see Part One; Part Two; Part Three or Part Four for much essential information not included in this chapter.
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About The Author
Brett Redmayne-Titley began reporting on-scene in an effort to provide better quality reporting from current events of geo-political, environmental and moral importance. A life-long activist, political commentator and world citizen, he has published over one hundred in-depth articles, many of which have been re-published and translated internationally. He can be reached at: live-on-scene [at] gmx.com
About the contributor
Pam Barker is a TLB staff writer/analyst based in France. She has an extensive background in the educational systems of several countries at the college and university level as a teacher and administrator.