Americans need details of the TPP

Trans-Pacific Partnership lacks the necessary transparency.

Justin Yun, Writer

Few know the details behind the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a colossal trade agreement whose advocates claim will cultivate global economic integration, increased wealth, and competition in the free-market.

Curiosity and Skepticism

TPP’s formation behind closed doors invokes curiosity and even skepticism. What little we know about the TPP comes from leaked documents and whistleblowers, and the deceptive nature of free trade agreements reveals itself through past agreements.

Every citizen has the right to know about the TPP because its contents will shape the economics of some of the most powerful countries in the world as well as shape the lives of millions of individuals as consumers and citizens.

Largest Trade Agreement in History

The agreement involves the United States and 11 other nations — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. “The countries have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US $28,136 billion on 2012 figures, which represents almost 40 percent of the world’s GDP” — making it the largest trade agreement in history according to the Guardian.

The mainstream media has not reported on the TPP or its effects because the agreement is meant to be kept a secret. Dan Cantor, National Director of the Working Families Party, states in an In These Times article, “It’s one of those issues that is deliberately obscured by its proponents.” Robert Reich criticized the TPP in an article published on Truthdig, stating, “Lobbyists from America’s biggest corporations and Wall Street’s biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That’s a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world.”

Shaping Interaction

In an interview with Huffpost Live, political theorist Noam Chomsky proclaims the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.” What little we know about the agreement will shape the way businesses interact with intellectual property, investment, E-commerce, medicines and health, the environment, financial regulation, labor rights, tobacco control and agriculture.

The Pharmaceutical industry alone will give significant leverage in obtaining strong patent protections and eliminating or delaying cheaper generic versions of drugs inhabitants of developing nations need to survive. The TPP, according to Reich, will also allow transnational corporations an “international tribunal of private attorneys, outside any nation’s legal system, who can order compensation for any ‘unjust expropriation’ of foreign assets.”

Demand Transparency

Americans as citizens must demand transparency from our leaders. This means releasing the full text for the TPP. Democracy entails the public being aware of activities that will have an effect on how they live — for better or for worse. The TPP is an attack on the democratic principle of public participation and is ultimately an assault on the open society.

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