In recent years, the Obama administration has put its full weight behind “fast tracking” the Trans-Pacific Partnership, eliminating Congress’s ability to edit or stall the agreement In response, Wikileaks recently released classified documents from the secret arrangement, and condemned the partnership in a press release
So what’s the big deal? The US has fast tracked a number of trade agreements between countries in the last decade, what’s so scary about the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Well, first of all, this agreement covers a huge section of the world It governs international investments and trade regulations between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam Together, these countries represent more than 40% of the world’s GDP, and make for the single largest economic treaty ever The most recent Wikileaks release revealed that the partnership establishes extrajudicial courts in which corporations can potentially sue countries over laws and policies that affect a company’s future profits This is a huge deal
Imagine a tobacco company suing a country because their anti-smoking regulations could potentially hurt the company’s profits Sound unlikely? Well, in 2011, tobacco giant Philip Morris used some clever legal maneuvering to sue Australia for that exact reason on the basis of an outdated trade agreement with Hong Kong The Obama administration has promised that the deal will increase jobs, boost US exports, and lower tariffs on US products in Asia, which will let the US compete more aggressively against China However, economists like Robert Reich have called this a global “race to the bottom” That’s an economic term for when governments reduce regulations and taxes in order to attract investing companies
This practice has the added effect of lessening labor laws, lowering wages, and raising the rate of outsourcing Additionally, Democratic Senator Ben Cardin [KAR-din] has voiced concerns that three of the countries, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, have histories of human rights abuses Since 2012 there have been a number of protests and petitions to stop the TPP, or at the very least to release the information within the agreement In a surprising twist, several House Democrats have vehemently opposed the idea of fast tracking the deal, while Republicans have shown strong support for the President So what’s so bad about the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement? In short, it’s a classified deal that creates an international court not bound by the laws of any country, that allows companies to sue countries over potential lost profits
Although supporters of the deal say that it is a means of future economic growth, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange warns that “Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies" With nearly 800 million people likely to be affected by this agreement, shouldn’t we know what’s in the agreement before it becomes law? Lobbying behind closed doors is a huge part of the american political system To learn more about how it works, check out our video here Subscribe right here to be the first to see all our latest videos! Thanks for watching!