Friday, April 6, 2012

Act now to stop back-room trade talks

Teamsters protest the last job-killing trade deal.
Just how infuriating is it that 600 lobbyists for multinational corporations can find out details about the secret negotiations for the latest job-killing trade deal, but the workers and citizens who'll be affected by it are kept in the dark?
Pretty damn infuriating.

The "Trans-Pacific Partnership" is a massive proposal (we just can't call it a "free trade deal," since its main purpose is to deregulate multinational corporations) that would affect nearly two dozen Pacific Rim countries. The next round of negotiations will be in the United States, but we don't know when or where. Protesters flash mobbed a local news station during the latest round of negotations in Melbourne.

Here's how Economy in Crisis describes the proposed deal:
When plans commenced in 2005, the Trans Pacific Partnership was slated to be a small agreement linking New Zealand, Brunei, Chile and Singapore. ... the TPP (is) the major focus ... pushing for the United States’ inclusion in the pact. The resulting increase in global interest has attracted Australia, Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and Japan to enter into discussions, as well.

Japan, which has the world’s third largest economy, will already be a major obstacle for the United States if the TPP goes on as planned. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Japan had a trade surplus with the U.S. of over $60 billion in 2010. And that figure looks to be roughly the same for the 2011 financial year. Opening up American borders to more unrestricted trade with Japan makes absolutely no sense from an economic standpoint.
But it gets worse. With Canada and Mexico looking into joining the TPP, an outcome worse than NAFTA is a certainty.
Lori Wallach is a general in the battle against job-killing trade agreements. Recently she wrote that the TPP would,
...undermine financial regulation, increase drug prices, flood us with unsafe imported food and products, ban Buy America policies aimed at recovery and redevelopment, and empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards before tribunals of corporate lawyers.
The Teamsters are sending around an online petition urging U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to publicly release the negotiating proposals for the Trans-Pacific FTA. They'll be delivered to U.S. trade negotiators prior to the start of the next negotiating round, widely rumored to take place in the United States in May. We need lots and lots of signatures, so please act now and tell your friends.

Click here to sign the petition.