The TPP Investment Chapter … is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.
Ron Kirk, until recently Mr. Obama’s top trade official, was remarkably candid about why he opposed making the text public: doing so, he suggested to Reuters, would raise such opposition that it could make the deal impossible to sign.
Companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.
Ron Paul says that the TPP would erode national sovereignty:
While it’s falsely called a “trade agreement”, only 5 out of 29 of TPP’s chapters have anything to do with trade. And conservatives point out that even the 5 chapters on trade do not promote free trade. Bloomberg calls TPP a “corporatist power grab”, “as democratic and transparent as a one-party state,” and shrouded in “Big Brother-like secrecy”.
A very credible inside source – with a proven track record of access, accuracy, intelligence and dedication to working for our country – tells Washington’s Blog that TPP contains provisions which would severely harm America’s national security. Specifically, like some previous, ill-conceivedtreaties, TPP would allow foreign companies to buy sensitive American assets which could subject us to terror attacks or economic blackmail.
Huffington Post quotes the New York Times and Wikileaks to explain how the dispute provisions would gut the American legal system:
The WikiLeaks analysis explains that this lets firms “sue” governments to obtain taxpayer compensation for loss of “expected future profits.”
Let that sink in for a moment: “[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals….” And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies’ ability to collect what they claim are “expected future profits.”
The Times‘ report explains that this clause also “giv[es] greater priority to protecting corporate interests than promoting free trade and competition that benefits consumers.”
The tribunals that adjudicate these cases will be made up of private-sector (i.e., corporate) attorneys. These attorneys will rotate between serving on the tribunals and representing corporations that bring cases to be heard by the tribunals. This is a conflict of interest because the attorneys serving on the tribunals will have tremendous incentive to rule for the corporations if they want to continue to get lucrative corporate business.
This ISDS mechanism [“Investor-State Dispute Settlement” tribunals created by TPP] originates from a time when investors in wealthy, developed countries wanted to invest in projects in unstable “third-world,” “banana-republic”-style countries but worried that dictators or revolutionary governments could decide to seize their property — a refinery, railroad or factory — leaving them with no recourse. So before investing, the target country agrees that in the case of disputes, a tribunal is set up outside and beyond the reach of the country’s justice system (courts where the judge is a brother or other crony of the dictator, for example), providing recourse in the event of unjust seizure of property. This would make investment less risky.
However, under agreements like the TPP, these provisions apply to and override the laws of modern, stable, developed countries with democratic governance and fair court systems. The corporate representatives negotiating modern trade agreements see such democratically run governments as “burdensome” and chaotic, introducing “uncertainties” and “interfering” or “meddling” with the corporate order. As onesupporter of these ISDS provisions put it, they protect corporations from “the waves of madness that occasionally flit through the population.”
To give an idea of what would happen to American law if TPP passes, just look at Equador … Its courts awarded billions against Chevron for trashing huge swaths of rainforest. But then a private arbitration panel simply ignored the country’s court system. If TPP passes, we’ll be treated like a third world country, and our American laws and courts will be ignored as well.
(Those opposed to a “one world government” or a “new world order” should oppose TPP as the big fight. Conservatives might want to read read this. Remember that one of the best definitions of fascism – the one used by Mussolini – is the “merger of state and corporate power”. TPP a giant step in that direction.)
The backers of TPP – including Obama and many in Congress – are trying to approve a “fast track” procedure this week that would prevent Congress from having any real input into the agreement, or to even have the opportunity to debate what should be in the agreement.
But the treaty is so bad, that if we just defeat the attempt to fast-track it, it will die a natural death as soon as it’s made public … and Congress has to engage in serious debate on the horrible agreement, and answer to its angry constituents.
The American people are already strongly opposed to TPP, and are disgusted by the proposed fast-tracking of the TPP vote. But we have to let our Congress members’ know how we feel on this.
Postscript: Find your House member here, and your Senator here.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.