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Archive for February 8th, 2016

On Feb 4, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman  joined other trade ministers from throughout the Pacific Rim in signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in New Zealand. Signing is not the same as ratifying. What the signing means is that the negotiations are concluded; the text is done; and that the TPP can now be submitted for a Fast Tracked vote in Congress at almost any time. Because of Fast Track legislation pushed President Obama, Wall Street Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, Wall Street Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, and almost all the Republican Party except a few, such as US Senator Jeff Sessions.

The TPP is the largest international income redistribution treaty ever concocted. It will ship millions of US jobs to China and Vietnam, circumvent US law and the US Constitution, and raise prices for US citizens and citizens throughout the area of the Pacific on such things as medicines. The difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages, and the difference between the old lower prices and the new higher prices, will go straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising share prices, and soaring dividends. The TPP will also drive millions of immigrants from Latin America to the USA illegally because their jobs will be shipped to Vietnam and China too, and they won’t have anyplace else to go.

Currently, the 1 percent steal about 37 percent of all the income produced yearly in the USA, up from 8 percent in 1980. Wyden, Obama, Clinton and almost the entire Republican Party intend to redistribute even more to the 1 percent with the TPP. And here we are facing the unfolding storm of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. I’ve been watching it unfold since last summer. It’s picking up steam, and officially should hit somewhere between September 2016 and June 2017. The entire US manufacturing sector has been in recession, for example, since November 2015.

It’s critical that Congress is hearing strong constituent opposition to the TPP right now. Please write your Members of Congress and urge them to come out publicly against the TPP.

For the better part of a decade, we have told our representatives we want a “Fair Deal or No Deal” on Trans-Pacific trade. Now that the text is finalized and changes are all-but-impossible, it’s clear that — while a handful of well-connected corporations got a more-than-fair deal for themselves — for everyone else, the TPP would be a disaster for the economy, the environment and public health.

The TPP Is Bad for Jobs & Wages
As you would expect from a deal negotiated with hundreds of corporate advisors, while the public and the press were shut out, if enacted, the TPP would offshore good-paying American jobs, lower wages and increase inequality by forcing Americans into competition with highly-exploited workers abroad paid less than 65 cents an hour.

The TPP’s much-touted new labor standards are so abysmally weak that countries could literally set their minimum wage at $1/day and their maximum hours of work at 24/day and still be in compliance. The pact simply does not do enough to protect jobs at home or human rights abroad. Instead, it would only accelerate the global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions.

On top of that, the TPP is so poorly negotiated that it contains a massive backdoor for products that are assembled mostly from parts made in third-party countries such as China, with no TPP obligations whatsoever, to enter the US duty free.

The TPP will also force China to manipulate its currency by at least 15 percent. This increases the profits of US corporations manufacturing products in China, and exporting them to the USA. This will compel many US companies to export jobs to China since the currency manipulation will increase the profits of these companies from 36 to 140 percent.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a massive new job-killing, wage-suppressing trade deal.

The TPP Is Bad for Food Safety
The TPP would flood the United States with unsafe foods. Going beyond previous trade deals, the TPP includes first-of-its-kind language allowing corporations to challenge both U.S. food inspection protocols and individual food inspection decisions.

Consumer advocates have warned the TPP could have a major chilling effect on efforts to keep out unsafe foods that don’t meet the same standards that U.S. farmers, ranchers and other producers are required to meet.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that jeopardizes the safety of the food we feed our families.

The TPP Is Bad for the Environment
The TPP would actually roll back environmental enforcement provisions found in all U.S. trade agreements since the George W. Bush administration, requiring enforcement of only one out of the seven environmental treaties covered by Bush-era trade agreements.

Beyond just failing to mention the term “climate change” in its thousands of pages, the TPP would also provide corporations with new tools for attacking environmental and consumer protections, while simultaneously increasing the export of climate-disrupting fossil fuels.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink and the future we leave for our children and grandchildren.

The TPP Is Bad for Access to Medicine
Many of the TPP’s intellectual property provisions would effectively delay the introduction of low-cost generic medications, increasing health care prices and reducing access to medicine both at home and abroad.

The TPP contains requirements that TPP nations allow additional 20-year patents for new uses of drugs already under patent, among other rules that would promote the “evergreening” of patent monopolies. Other TPP provisions may enable pharmaceutical companies to challenge Medicare drug listing decisions, Medicaid reimbursements and constrain future U.S. policy reforms to reduce healthcare costs.

Tell Congress we can’t afford a trade deal that limits access to life-saving generic medications.

The TPP Is Bad for Human Rights
The TPP includes several notorious violators of international human rights, such as Brunei, where LGBT individuals and single mothers can be stoned to death under Sharia law and Malaysia where huge numbers of ethnic minorities are trafficked through the jungle in modern slavery.

Tell Congress we can’t afford to ignore the actions of notorious human rights abusers.

Too many Congress members have hemmed and hawed about the TPP, refusing to state their position. Now that the text has been public for months, and that the agreement has actually been signed, the time for fence-sitting is over. Please contact your Members of Congress now and urge them to oppose the TPP.

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