Although no one in the media seems to be talking about it, a meeting is taking place in Virginia that could cement the same economic interests that lead us to the 2007 crisis. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated by 13 countries would lead to increased gas exports and increased imported foods, while undermining our domestic laws and increasing the financialization of nature.
The secretive talks are in their 14th round, having begun under George W. Bush in 2008, and have so far managed to avoid real scrutiny. Little of the document being negotiated has been made publicly available, but what we do know is frightening. The TPP would go well beyond NAFTA tearing down protections in the areas of financial services, telecommunications and intellectual property. It would create free trade for dairy, sugar and textiles. American manufacturers and farmers would suffer, while Wall Street banks reap huge profits and move more operations offshore.
The TPP is being sold as just another “free trade” agreement. But don’t be fooled, it’s so much more. Only two of the twenty-six chapters of the agreement are directly trade related.
In reality the TPP would be a permanent power grab by greedy corporations and their financers that would make it impossible for future generations to choose what laws and rules they want to live under. The TPP would permanently enshrine the very economic system that has lead to greater imbalances in income and wealth and increasing economic crises – all enforced by new international tribunals akin to the WTO. It’s outrageous.
We know that the TPP would decrease the ability of governments to issue regulations that would protect the environment, rein in the financial interests, protect food safety and push renewable energy while protecting us from risky practices like fracking for shale gas. What’s more, it would make offshoring of jobs easier and Wall Street banks would be able top set up shop in any member country with little oversight.
But what’s really frightening is that if completed, the TPP will be left open for any country to join. That means if we allow the TPP to move forward, no other trade agreement would ever have to be negotiated again. Instead countries could be added to the TPP, moving it from an ostensibly regional agreement to a truly global leviathan.