MILLINOCKET, Maine, May 17, 2015 – It’s guarded like the military’s latest top-secret weapon. If someone is able to see it, they are not permitted to take photographs, or in any way copy what they see.
Bizarrely, note-taking is allowed, but you can’t take your notes with you. And you’re not supposed to talk about what you see.
It’s called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP for short. It is a far-reaching treaty/trade deal with Pacific Rim countries that some have dubbed “NAFTA on steroids.”
At present, the TPP includes the U.S., Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei. It will impact 40 per cent of the global GDP and fully one-third of all global trade.
The text of the treaty has 29 “chapters” that lay out guidelines for things like international banking, intellectual property rights, telecommunications and the environment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has said, “This enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.”
Kevin Kearns, president of the United States Business and Industry Council, which represents small and privately held businesses, referred to the TPP in an interview with the International Business Times. He indicated that the TPP favors large corporations and, like past free-trade deals, would cost American manufacturing jobs and does not address the U.S. trade deficit.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange characterized it this way: “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you are ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”
If Congress were to grant the president the authority to negotiate trade agreements, it would streamline, or “fast-track” the process. The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill is intended to do just that.
But last Tuesday the bill, in a 52-45 vote, failed to pass the Senate.
The Obama administration isn’t going to drop the issue, even if appears that the TPP is a secret many Democrats don’t want to share.
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