On May 11, International Fair Trade Day, days prior to the opening of the 17th Round of the TPP in Lima, Peru (May 15th-24th) TPPxBorder calls on the 99% who are harmed by corporate globalization to oppose the TPP in their community. Here is why you need to organize a People’s Assembly Resisting the TPP or join one in your community.
- The TPP undermines access to fundamental medicines by extending monopoly protections for Big Pharma
- The TPP empowers corporations to sue governments for environmental and health measures they do not like
- The TPP restricts Internet innovation and increases the surveillance of online interactions
- The TPP undermines Indigenous rights and human rights
- The TPP creates a race to the bottom on working conditions, environmental standards and all kinds of public regulations
- The TPP prioritizes large-scale corporate agriculture (GMOs, antibiotics, etc) over sustainable local farming
Trans-national community resistance put a freeze on the WTO. It stopped the Free Trade Area of the Americas. It can stop the TPP.
stay tuned for information about May 11th People’s Assemblies & Actions across the Americas throughout the TPP Round in PeruRead More
It’s 20 years since NAFTA. Its damage is why latest trade deal must be stopped
By Raul Burbano, Kristen Beifus and Manuel Pérez-Rocha, TheTyee.ca
16th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations is underway in Singapore this week. Canada and Mexico join the nine other TPP countries for the second time since the U.S. government invited its NAFTA partners to join late last year.
The TPP is a super-sized trade deal-expanding on so called “next generation” trade and investment deals that NAFTA countries have pursued in the wake of the stalemate at the World Trade Organization. This pluri-lateral agreement poses serious new threats to North American communities — threats that a tri-national movement of trade justice activists is preparing to fight in the lead-up to a possible July TPP negotiating round in Canada.
Since NAFTA was signed almost 20 years ago, all three North American countries have seen good jobs vanish, worsening income inequality, public services weakened through underfunding or offloaded to the private sector, increased food insecurity (in particular in Mexico), and ecosystems on the point of breaking. NAFTA promised a flourishing North American economy that would benefit all. In Jan. 2014, NAFTA has been in place for 20 years and the promised trickle down benefits have not been realized by communities.
Three nations, no winners
In the past 10 years, Canada has lost 500,000 manufacturing jobs. A new United Way Toronto report found that in and around Toronto, Canada’s largest city, 20 per cent of people are now employed in precarious, unstable or part-time jobs. This type of employment has increased by 50 per cent in the past 20 years since NAFTA was signed. In this same period, not a single notable social program has been introduced or expanded. Free trade has permanently eroded our sense of what people can do together for the common good.
Canada is also facing over $2.5-billion worth of legal suites by corporations that are permitted to sue countries under NAFTA for potential profits if blocked by health and safety or environmental laws from conducting business as usual. Current suits include a U.S. corporation challenging a moratorium on natural gas fracking in Quebec, a court decision to annul a patent by Eli Lilly, a decision against opening a new gravel quarry in Ontario because of the likely effect on water and farmland, and many others “coming down the pipeline.”
The United States, which is leading the TPP charge, has also suffered under NAFTA. The AFL-CIO in February challenged the benefit the TPP offers to workers, citing that the U.S. trade deficit “has increased dramatically under NAFTA — from $75 billion in 1993, to $540 billion today (in nominal terms).” Since the implementation of NAFTA, says the AFL-CIO, “the growth in the trade deficit with Mexico has cost the United States nearly 700,000 net jobs.” The AFL-CIO is calling for a Global New Deal that promotes growth “with equity, protect their health and safety and foster sustainable development.”
Next generation of handcuffs
Next generation corporate trade deals like the TPP and the proposed “comprehensive” pacts that Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are pursuing with the European Union, purposely take away our ability to pursue alternative economic strategies. These deals are designed to ensure that governments have no power in the economy, and that they are only useful when they are using tax payer dollars to bail out large banks and other corporations.
Like NAFTA, the TPP will handcuff our ability to set regulations in key areas like finance, industry, the environment, public procurement and fostering programs to create jobs at home. Free trade offers corporate subsidies for the rich and cut-throat competition for everyone else. So it should come as no surprise that communities across the continent and the Western Hemisphere are mobilizing in what can be expected as the battle against the TPP.
On Dec. 1, hundreds of labour, community, public health and internet freedom advocates from Canada, the U.S and Mexico descended on the Peace Arch Park in Surrey, B.C., between Washington State and British Columbia. The Tri-National Unity Statement that came out of that strategic gathering has been signed by hundreds of organizations representing tens of thousands of people across the continent.
Since our Dec. 1 cross-border action, community and NGO organizations from central and Latin America are raising their collective voices in opposition to the TPP. This opposition was solidified at the People’s Summit in Santiago de Chile — parallel to summit EU-CELAC Summit — this past January where civil society gathered to express and share their concerns and develop strategies to stop it. They are calling out the TPP as a ‘tool of disintegration’ in the region because it attempts to destabilize regional processes of integration that challenge the neoliberal model inherent in the TPP.
These alternatives include the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and The Community of Caribbean and Latin American States (CELAC), as well as economic blocs like MERCOSUR and ALBA trading regions. The TPP is seen in Latin America as a second attempt by the United States to push a Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in the region with help from countries whose governments are subservient to de the U.S. led neoliberal ideology and “free trade” economics.
Stopping our governments from doing any more damage with corporate rights pacts like the TPP needs to be a priority of the peoples of North America. We must demand an alternative, more equitable and sustainable global trade regime. Trade and investment deals must respect and promote fundamental environmental rights, indigenous sovereignty, labor rights, including equal rights for migrant workers and people of color.
Communities and local governments need to be able to actively create high-wage, high-benefit jobs in ways that do not undermine the well-being of our sisters and brothers globally.
Rich people, poor communities
Governments must be able to promote democratic public policies in the public interest without fear of catastrophic lawsuits in non-democratic and non-transparent investment tribunals.
Free trade creates rich people not rich communities. We have 20 years of evidence from NAFTA… we don’t want any more. Stop the TPP! Sign the tri-national statement of unity against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Raul Burbano is the program director of Common Frontiers (Canada). Kristen Beifus is the executive director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition and Manuel Pérez-Rocha is a member of the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC) and an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).Read More
To all the governments negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:
- It is only getting bigger by the day: Thailand knocking at the TPP Door
- We have not learned from NAFTA: Mexico ordered to pay Cargill $95 million for attempting to keep out high-fructose corn syrup
- In Free Trade Agreements, corporate profits always trump the environment: Canada/Quebec sued under NAFTA for its ban on fracking by a US corporation
- It Doesn’t Matter if you are a sovereign nation with labor and environmental laws: Here is a list of the NAFTA chapter 11 cases
- Or just trying to survive with a life-threatening illness on a few dollars a day: Public Health advocates in Malaysia protest reduced access to generic medicines in trade deals
- Congress is trying, but those who we elect are not part of negotiating this deal-our democracy is at stake! Recent Sign-On Letter to President Obama from Senator Al Franken on the labor rights concerns in the TPP. Urge Senators Cantwell and Murray to sign it!
- Sweatshops still exist: Here is a recent report by Right2Work
- Companies are willing to invest millions of dollars to keep consumers in the dark: Here are the corporations who defeated the GMO labeling initiative in California
- Only when we connect our issues, and combine our strength can we succeed: Dec. 1st is also world AIDS Day
- We are not alone, we are the majority, and our voices are needed for trade to ever benefit workers and support healthy communities and a sustainable planet: One Million Sign Avaaz petition to stop the Corporate Death Star aka the TPP!!!!
Backbone’s Free Trade My Ass Balloon…Flush the TPP will also be flying along the border and TPP: No New NAFTAs thanks to IBEW Local 46!
Then we, the People will jointly strategize on how to engage with social media with Global Exchange & Witness for Peace, get organizations onto a Tri-National Unity Letter with Citizen’s Trade Campaign, talk about the TPP in 2 minutes or less with SPEEA and develop and implement creative tactics to stop the TPP by the next round in March, 2013!
A delicious hot Mexican meal will be provided for everyone
thanks to Community to Community!
Questions? Contact Kristen@washingtonfairtrade.org or 206.227.3079
Reflections on the 14th Round of the TPP Negotiations-and why the 15th Round is destined to be more of the same…
‘We don’t know, exactly, what the Trans-Pacific Partnership is,
but I’m against it’
An account by Stan Sorscher, SPEEA, EOI, WFTC who met with negotiators in the last round of TPP negotiations in Leesburg, VA…
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is probably the most important trade agreement you’ve never heard of. Sometimes described as our “21st Century trade agreement,” its terms are being negotiated in secret by 11 countries, big and small, arranged around the Pacific Ocean. As the TPP takes shape, we see that it’s really the old NAFTA model, built from the ground up to shield global businesses from public debate, public policy, and public regulation.”Read More
From the Backbone Campaign:
“Instead of being debated out in the open, the TPP has thus far been negotiated in the shadows. Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been given access to the TPP negotiating texts. A handful of civil society groups also have access to the texts, but they are vastly outnumbered and are legally prevented from sharing what they’ve read. Meanwhile, the people whose lives will be affected by the TPP have been barred from even reviewing what negotiators have proposed in our names.”
Check out www.flushthetpp.org for a preview of what we’ll be bringing to this international solidarity action for human rights.Read More