The Trans-Pacific Partnership Charade

The Trans-Pacific is a corporate raid. It’s about stealing our sovereignty and killing democracy. Investor-state dispute settlement provisions mean that when big corporates tell us to jump, the only thing we will be able to do is ask “how high?”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have confirmed that negotiators from the 12 participating countries will meet in Hawaii from March 9 to 15 to try to wrap up the Trans-Pacific free trade agreement. We can’t let that happen.

Time to dust off the banners and take to the streets again on March 7th to try to get the message across to New Zealanders and the New Zealand government that this agreement is a crock and we should have no part of it. There will be marches in 22 towns and cities across New Zealand. Similar actions are happening in the other 11 participating countries.

Unlike the big corporations, ordinary citizens aren’t allowed at the negotiating table. We don’t have the money to wine, dine, and lobby the politicians and negotiators. Nor do we have any threats to hold over them, like moving our businesses elsewhere if they don’t do our bidding. So direct action is the only way to voice our opinions.

The TPPA is not about trade, but it should be. Trade agreements should be about countries working together for the good of everyone, everywhere. Well intentioned, well thought out trade agreements could set the rules for trade in ways that will reduce inequality, eliminate poverty, and prevent climate change. And the TPPA could lead the way.

The TPPA could be negotiated in the open, by representatives of all stakeholder groups – consumer, organized labour, environmental, health, democratically elected politicians – instead of secretly by giant multinational corporations and their political lackeys.

The TPPA could prohibit companies from suing countries.

The TPPA could outlaw the sale of goods made in conditions that are unsafe for workers, or if workers are paid below a living wage, or if processes are used that pollute the environment.

The TPPA could set a limit on the pay gap between CEOs and their employees. The TPPA could set minimum standards for product safety and reliability and customer support.

The TPPA could protect the creative commons, the flow of information, and internet neutrality.

If it doesn’t, we don’t want it. And it’s time our government got the message.