Nov. 5, 2015 press release: Secret TPP Text Unveiled: It’s Worse Than We Thought, With Limits on Food Safety and Controversial Investor-State System Expanded, Rollback of Bush-Era Medicine Access and Environmental Terms.
Pact’s Fate in Congress Uncertain at Best; Long-Awaited Text Reveals Gaps Between Administration Claims and Actual TPP Terms On Key Congressional, Public Concerns
WASHINGTON – Today’s long-awaited release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s (TPP) reveals that the pact replicates many of the most controversial terms of past pacts that promote job offshoring and push down U.S wages while further expanding the scope of the controversial investor-state system and rolling back improvements on access to affordable medicines and environmental standards that congressional Democrats forced on the George W. Bush administration in 2007.
“Apparently, the TPP’s proponents resorted to such extreme secrecy during negotiations because the text shows TPP would offshore more American jobs, lower our wages, flood us with unsafe imported food and expose our laws to attack in foreign tribunals,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “When the administration says it used the TPP to renegotiate NAFTA, few expected that meant doubling down on the worst job-killing, wage-suppressing NAFTA terms, expanding limits on food safety and rolling back past reforms on environmental standards and access to affordable drugs.”
On some key issues, the text reveals provisions that will cost TPP support from members of Congress who supported the narrow passage of Fast Track trade authority this summer, and affirm for the many members of Congress who backed past trade deals but opposed Fast Track that the TPP must be stopped.
“Many in Congress said they would support the TPP only if, at a minimum, it included past reforms made to trade pact intellectual property rules affecting access to affordable medicines. But the TPP rolls back that past progress by requiring new marketing exclusivities and patent term extensions, and provides pharmaceutical firms with new monopoly rights for biotech drugs, including many new and forthcoming cancer treatments,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “The terms in this final TPP text will contribute to preventable suffering and death abroad, and may constrain the reforms that Congress can consider to reduce Americans’ medicine prices at home.”
The text also confirms that demands made by Congress and key constituencies were not fulfilled.
“From leaks, we knew quite a bit about the agreement, but in chapter after chapter the final text is worse than we expected with the demands of the 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests satisfied to the detriment of the public interest,” said Wallach.
Today’s text release confirms concerns about TPP that were based on earlier leaks and reveals ways in which the TPP rolls back past public interest reforms to the U.S. trade model and expands anti-public-interest provisions demanded by the hundreds of official U.S. corporate trade advisers:
Worse anti-public-interest provisions relative to past U.S. trade pacts
- The TPP Intellectual Property Chapter would roll back the “May 2007” reforms for access to medicines.
- The TPP Environment Chapter would roll back the “May 2007” reforms by eliminating most of the seven Multilateral Environmental Agreements that past pacts have enforced.
- The TPP Investment Chapter would expand the scope of policies that can be challenged and the basis for such challenges, including for the first time ever allowing ISDS enforcement of World Trade Organization intellectual property terms and new challenges to financial regulations.
- With Japanese, Australian and other firms newly empowered to launch ISDS attacks against the United States, the TPP would double U.S. ISDS exposure with more than 9,200 additional subsidiaries operating here of corporation from TPP nations newly empowered to launch ISDS cases against the U.S. government. (About 9,500 U.S. subsidiaries have ISDS rights under ALL existing U.S. investor-state-enforced pacts.)
- The TPP E-Commerce Chapter would undermine consumer privacy protections for sensitive personal health, financial and other data when it crosses borders by exposing such policies to challenge as a violation of the TPP limits on regulation of data flows.
- TPP “Sanitary and Phytosanitary” chapter terms would impose new limits on imported foods safety relative to past pacts. This includes new challenges to U.S. border inspection systems that can be launched based on extremely subjective requirements that inspections must “limited to what is reasonable and necessary” as determine by a TPP tribunal. New language that replicates the industry demand for a so-called Rapid Response Mechanism that requires border inspectors to notify exporters for every food safety check that finds a problem and give the exporter the right to bring a challenge to that port inspection determination meaning new right to bring a trade challenge to individual border inspection decisions (including potentially laboratory or other testing) that second-guesses U.S. inspectors and creates a chilling effect that would deter rigorous oversight of imported foods.
Anti-public-interest provisions that are the same as past U.S. pacts
- The TPP Investment Chapter would eliminate many of the risks and costs of relocating American jobs to low-wage countries, incentivizing more American job offshoring.
- The TPP procurement chapter would offshore our tax dollars to create jobs overseas instead of at home by giving firms operating in any TPP nation equal access to many U.S. government procurement contracts, rather than us continuing to give preference to local firms to build and maintain our public libraries, parks, post offices and universities.
- Contrary to Fast Track negotiating objectives, the TPP would grant foreign firm greater rights that domestic firms enjoy under U.S. law and in U.S. courts. One class of interests – foreign firms – could privately enforce this public treaty by skirting domestic laws and courts to challenge U.S. federal, state and local decisions and policies on grounds not available in U.S. law and do so before extrajudicial ISDS tribunals authorized to order payment of unlimited sums of taxpayer dollars.
- There are no new safeguards that limit ISDS tribunals’ discretion to issue ever-expanding interpretations of governments’ obligations to investors and order compensation on that basis. The text reveals the same “safeguard” Annexes and terms that were included in U.S. pacts since the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) that have failed to rein in ISDS tribunals. CAFTA tribunals have simply ignored the “safeguard” provisions that are replicated in the TPP and as with past pacts, in the TPP such tribunal conduct is not subject to appeal.
- The TPP would ban the use of capital controls and other macroprudential financial regulations used to prevent speculative bubbles and financial crises.
Please see a bullet point analysis of key TPP investment, food safety, labor and environmental, market access, rules of origin, procurement, and other provisions prepared by labor and public interest experts for more details. More detailed analyses of each chapter will be available next week.
The TPP can take effect only if the U.S. Congress approve it given the rules about conditions for the TPP to go into effect. The TPP’s fate in Congress is uncertain at best given that since the trade authority vote, the small bloc of members of the U.S. House of Representatives who made the narrow margin of passage possible have expressed concerns that the text release shows were not addressed.
Ten U.S. presidential candidates have pushed anti-TPP messages in their campaigning, stoking U.S. voters’ ire about the pact.
An unprecedented number and wide array of organizations oppose any attempt to railroad the TPP through Congress by using the Fast Track process. Groups united on this extend well beyond labor unions and include consumer, Internet freedom, senior, health, food safety, environmental, human rights, faith, LGBTQ, student and civil rights organizations.
“Now that Congress and the public can scrutinize the actual text, the reality that it fails to meet Congress’ demands and its terms would be harmful to most Americans will replace the administration’s myth-based sales job for TPP, further dimming the TPP’s prospects in Congress,” Wallach said.
We hope that you’re right, Lori Wallach, and thanks for all you and your colleagues do on our behalves. And oh, yes, fuck the lying O, tool of the capitalist corporate world.
As I understand it, it can only be voted up or down, but only after the President agrees to the text. That is a substantial delay, likely timed to allow the shock and anger to pass before it gets brought to Congress.
I wish some good international trade wonk would write about how this agreement actually will interact with the relationships that these countries have already with China. And another analysis of how Indonesia benefits from being in the agreement.
By far the most troubling aspect of the agreement is the roach hotel ratification and amendment clause — one the countries go in, it is very hard for them to get out or to change the terms short of blowing up the entire agreement.
And then, the ISDS provisions.
I’m not clear how many votes it takes to kill it when it comes up; my last understanding was there would be no amendments, just and up-or-down vote. But the geniuses in Congress can figure a way to slice-and-dice an up-or-down vote. Or hold a hostage to force a “yes” vote through.
I will be very pleasantly surprised if this agreement has an unfortunate accident in Congress like some other bad pieces of legislation. Democrats should make the Republicans walk the plank on this, but won’t. Too many goodies for Democratic industries like software, media, and finance. And government contracting.
Well, my friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family have been given the opportunity to read the 5,500-page document. Some of them might have the work experience to understand at least one of the technical sections. It’s the stuff that must be read in context with the existing situation and practices that is going be the killer for ordinary readers. Hoping there are some good technical wonks on our side in all of trade areas who can spot where the thievery is going on.
i’m sure your friends, relatives, and co-workers thank you, amigo. :-)
yves smith gave a link that my.fdl’s synoia had constructed, searchable chapters, as did the WaPo. neither link booted for me. yves also asked those of her commentariat with expertise to search, and told them what conflicts they might zero in on.
yes, up or down per the TPA which O signed in june, but as to the forced delays, wiki says:
If the President transmits a fast track trade agreement to Congress, then the majority leaders of the House and Senate or their designees must introduce the implementing bill submitted by the President on the first day on which their House is in session. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(c)(1).) Senators and Representatives may not amend the President’s bill, either in committee or in the Senate or House. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(d).) The committees to which the bill has been referred have 45 days after its introduction to report the bill, or be automatically discharged, and each House must vote within 15 days after the bill is reported or discharged. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(1).)
In the likely case that the bill is a revenue bill (as tariffs are revenues), the bill must originate in the House (see U.S. Const., art I, sec. 7), and after the Senate received the House-passed bill, the Finance Committee would have another 15 days to report the bill or be discharged, and then the Senate would have another 15 days to pass the bill. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(e)(2).) On the House and Senate floors, each Body can debate the bill for no more than 20 hours, and thus Senators cannot filibuster the bill and it will pass with a simple majority vote. (19 U.S.C. § 2191(f)-(g).) Thus the entire Congressional consideration could take no longer than 90 days.”
yes, the dems will be pre-whipping any vote to see which of them can safely vote Nay for cover.
i agree esp. that one of the worst provision are investor state, but precluding open source is hideous for snoops, as per wikileaks. he’ll be collating reports, of course, but i’d look to eff and ars technica, and MSF has already weighed in. slow death? but with a hella lot of suffering. and always seeking the weakest regs as the gold standard, in banking, the environment, and the list goes on.
heh; i’ll give his pinned top tweet, and you can go from there. it’s a doozy.
on edit: she seems to have a new post on just the ISDS chapter.
Sending a cybersecurity wonk to negotiate over a “sex offense” seems kinda strange to me. Sorta gives the not-so-hidden game away.
Juan Cole is of the opinion that the latest Bond film has to do with an Assange/Snowden-like plot in which criminals back-end the GCHQ database on everybody to conduct identity theft, blackmail, and other shenanigans. And he is curious as to why the silence in the reviews about this. I guess we don’t want to see a plot-spoiler. :)
And Michael Moore’s latest is “Who Shall We Invade Next?”
Two interesting twists in popular culture for next year.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. “Feminist Foreign Policy”! HA HA HA HA HA!
Mark Bzrezinski, Obama-appointed “ambassador” 2 Swede-land, is son of Polish terrorist and russo-phobe, Zbigniew Kazimierz [the Polish name Kazimierz, derived from the Slavic element kaziti “to destroy” combined with miru “peace, world”] Bzrezinski.
Feminist Foreign Policy!!! Hegemonsters don’t discriminate, you female knucklehead.
(falsetto) “i sooooo long for a hillary clinton presidency, and with john podesta…”
feminist by way of trouncing assange, that is. i thought both women ha recanted, or at least said that they’d been misrepresented as to what they’d complained about. well, anyway, here’s to miz we-are-family-linde.
Watch what’s going on with black football players at Mizzou. They possibly have the “Curators” of the University by the short ones relative to firing a president who has been lackluster on dealing with racism. There are not many significant football or basketball teams or high-salaried coaches not dependent on black labor. So far, the president in question wants only to talk-talk.
Also, Bibi is coming to DC asking for $50 billion over 10 years and having just approved a 20,000 unit housing development on stolen land. He’s trolling Obama. Is this when the “special US-Israeli relationship” changes? Will be very interesting consequences if it is. Both domestic and international politics become much more interesting. The question is whether enough people now perceive Bibi as the asshole he is to provide political support for Obama punishing him. And how severe that punishment is. Might be nothing but the Bibi’s chutzpah might have overreached this time.
i’d seen news of the Mizzou black football players strike, not here, but this is one. withholding labor is a very important (key, yes?) ingredient of nonviolent social justice revolution.
dinnae know about bibi, but fook him. i might hope that he’s over-reached, but hasn’t he before? stay tuned, i guess.
oh, and there’s a strike for fifteen (what a pathetic ‘ask’) fast food strike, or really protests, coming soon. until workers en masse withhold their labor, and jam the machine (yes, very difficult unless they are financially supported by those who are able), not much will change significantly.
Mizzou “curators” apparently have meeting tomorrow.
‘Missouri University President Resigns Amid Racism Protests’
“The president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe, resigned amid mounting pressure by students and faculty members over his handling of racial issues on campus.
The faculty of the University of Missouri will walk out of class on Monday and Tuesday in solidarity with hundreds of students who gathered Sunday to protest the use of racial slurs against a black student and football player at the school.
Various faculty members issued a statement Sunday night announcing their protest.
“We, the concerned faculty of the University of Missouri, stand in solidarity with Mizzou student activists who are advocating for racial justice on our campus and urge all MU faculty to demonstrate their support by walking out on Monday, November 9, and Tuesday, November 10,” the statement, sent out by Associate Professor Elisa Glick, said. ” [snip]
“The decision by the faculty members comes as the university’s football team is on strike until the resignation of its university President Tim Wolfe, who failed to respond to incidents of on-campus racism, severed relations with Planned Parenthood and stripped funding for graduate students.”
This action and the results just shows that threatening their money flow is the only effective way to attack the powerful and get positive results even though the replacement president will likely be a cookie-cutter clone of the one removed.
I recall the courts ruled that college athletes couldn’t legally organize so the strikers may face legal consequences for behaving like a Union.
yeppers; hit em where it hurts: in their pocketbooks. (withhold labor) that’s why i’d been suggesting to reality checker on a thread or two that general strikes could work wonders, if nough workers were so inclined. hard to find enough folks to support striking workers as in the 1930s, and as you say, the laws are designed to punish strikers.
and ‘inclination’ seems to have a lot to do with how little one reckons they have to lose at a certain point. it used to be about affordable food; dunno what the metrics of tipping points would be now.
even the ‘real deal’, the ilwu kinda screwed their own members after the big one at portland’s longview terminal. remember? obama called out the coast guard, the fascist? but those longshoreman up and left the afl-cio because trumpa was such a coward about it all.
i didn’t know about a ruling that athletes couldn’t strike. was that after the long baseball strike in ’94?
I thought there was a ruling about NCAA players not qualifying to unionize a few months ago.
The Pros have money and lawyers so millionaire’s rights are respected.
These amateurs will return to concussion practice and most will hope to find a job after their short amateur career ends.
The movement for a general strike will probably reach the tipping point about the same time that automation and computers replaces any need for the workers so they can march to the unemployment offices and then to the homeless shelters or by then FEMA camps.
yes, dear; whatever you say, dear.
TD, your fantasy about ‘severe punishment’ for Bibi was just wishful thinking as seen by the results of this meeting, with Bibi smiling and Zero displaying submissive body language.
The $50 billion will go a long way to defray the costs of Israel’s increasing expansion into Palestinian lands.
Obama and the Party are moving to clear the way for HRC’s assent to power. Have you seen the shiny bauble that Bernie and Liz are offering to the retired and crippled class, supposedly paid for by the wicked 1%.
I and many other retirees could use a raise but is a $3.7Billion hit on the SS Fund with only $235Million in new revenues a wise move? This shows that the Democrats care even if their math is a bit weak, most people probably won’t even notice and proclaim it as another reason the Democrats are the best masters to vote for.
It gets very interesting when the tail wags the dog, doesn’t it? If Obama had the power in this situation, he would have used it. People who have dissed him openly before have had unfortunate political accidents.
My latest anti-freed Traitor offering:
PUT DOWN TPP, NOW; and Nobody GETS HURT!
no, no, no; not even as a metaphor, please, bruce.
“take your hands off the Yes vote lever, and back away”, yes.
Mizzou. Gone a president and a chancellor. Football revenue is hardball until the NCAA institutes rules against boycotts.
Tomorrow 270 cities: fight for $15. Moral Monday movement is pushing it locally.
i got to thinking about the SEIU being/pretending to be in ‘an advisory position’ to walmart supply chain strikes (long ago), and ‘fight for fifteen’ (still rather covert plus self-serving. but what it triggered was my memories of miz jane hamsher taking (ahem) issue with some of my challenges to big labor as almost heretical…until (i found out later) she and andy stern, then head of the SEIU dissed her publicly, then…she’d backed off a bit.
good times. ;-)
I’m not sure that Fight for 15 has yet been successfully captured by SEIU. Lots of young leadership in these new movements are a little cranky about well-heeled professional organizers (even deeray and company) or white older activists trying to drive their “revolution”.
lol. dunno about ‘successfully captured’, but someone on their twit acct. had linked to this at the hill saying the movement is. otoh, in oakland, the food workers are aided by the East Bay Organizing Committee (EBOC) and the seiu. oh, don’t read the comments under the hill piece without an air sick bag handy.
i (ahem) signed a fight for fifteen petition, or so i’d thought, then got an email saying i’d just signed up for ten robo calls a month…or something from a company called ‘revolutionmessaging.com.’ somebody’s got some bucks to spend.
still, i like these actions, since they’re allied across color lines and involve home care and health care workers besides, and ask for unionization of workers. it does seem pretty dem-centric, but i guess that’s the way it goes. hillary’s on already, but some mayors are joining the strikes, cities have enacted higher wages…so i’ll put up a thread, even though it barely matters on such a wee website. solidarity, i guess. ;-)
I sympathize with the growing population of people stuck in low skill, low paying careers with no real path for gaining better skills or advancement. Using the government, Democrats, not worker power to elevate them into a little higher level of poverty may bring some relief but as prices rise to protect profits they will soon be back in line at the SNAP office.
Without productivity gains to offset lost profits the Business Class will look for alternatives so don’t be surprised when you see R2D2 stocking shelves at Walmart or Google driverless trucks delivering the goods and Bezos’ drones delivering your packages.
The technological push to eliminate the low skilled workforce has been a Capitalist goal for at least decades and this, fight for fifteen, didn’t cause it but it will help accelerate the trend.
My first job after HS in an auto factory is done by robots now and when I worked at Intel in 1990 the bosses salivated when we watched a film about a Japanese Fab that had no Operators, our minimum wage workers, only a few Techs to maintain the machines.
Relying on the government to, stick it to the capitalists, may make some people feel relief or even power but this same government will be offering the Capitalists tax incentives to eliminate the jobs they depend on.
i agree that this only a temporary fix for now, but the low-wage immiseration is extreme. as in: needs must. i’m putting up a storify now with some facts and figures.
Ah, the glorious ’90s, when it was still possible for compradors to believe crapitalists would bring a New Economy of leisure. I wonder, “comrade” “anarchist”, whether your contempt for government crystallized while working for the militaristically run Intel?
Maybe got a case of the Rand-roids?
HA HA HA HA HA HA.
No, Tovarich my radical and anti-authoritarian views crystalized decades before the 90’s, I was just trying to support my family and explore something interesting. It didn’t last long, corporate culture is stifling and the bosses heads spun, like a scene from the Exorcists, when I recommended Unionizing to my poorly paid Operators in the lunchroom.
A Black Day in July of the Summer of Love is when reality came into clear focus as I exited the auto plant in Detroit and saw my world on fire and had a fixed bayonet walked under my chin by a newly arrived representative of the Occupying Forces just home from the other War Zone.
The seeds of revolt were planted in the ’50s when I listened to Race Music and Elvis with his Black inspired Devil Music among many other sights and sounds that showed that something was very wrong in my world.
My Class consciousness didn’t come from Marx or university lectures but from viewing extreme poverty and exploitation directly in my neighborhood and the one room schoolhouse I attended, classmates who’s parents couldn’t afford store bought head lice treatments and instead used kerosene and others who couldn’t afford pencils.
My ecological awareness was learned directly by watching the beautiful fish filled stream behind our homestead turn red with blood from the unregulated slaughterhouse down the road, long before Silent Spring started the environmental movement. This is happening while we produce most of our food using methods learned from Organic Farming and Gardening..
There’s only “one honest response to the devil in these details, which would be a uniform “It is pretty much what I would expect’.”
Don’t you feel like you’re in the real-life Pacific Heights? Shite, we tried out this rentier economy and now we got fucking psychos living in our First Bedrooms.
Goodbye, crapitalism (and peanut-brained compradors)!!
Of course, this is why former liberals and the left imperialists must choose militarism. They must go the outdo the Kook Kraemers like that Krackhead Kissinger did. When you got nuttin’ but hammers, …
These reality checkers are lookin’ moar and moar insane.
The marginal revolution – pretend to focus on the incremental advance while sliding in degeneracy. Marginal justice or “[‘h]uman rights[‘] takes history out of justice.” Jah, that’s the Kazimierz type of peace and justice.
That reminds me. Remember the Day of the Jackal? The Frogs caught their Brit hitman. But, turns out, he probably wasn’t hired by French wingnutz — ‘e’s a bloomin’ CIA contractor.
too much here to respond to now, but i did listen to the talbot interview. one of the key reasons that i like RT is that heterodox authors and scholars can get a gig there. same for trnn and telesur.
but it did remind me that sometime earlier on an Open Menu i’d posted an interview with him no trrn, and never remembered (or taken the time) to go back and either listen or read (if there happened to have been a transcript).
the three i dug up binging were here….here…and here. (not to self: provide the links!)
but while i was at ‘the wrong color of green, i was wickled titless to see their ‘
‘Truth between the Lines: The “BREAKING: Keystone XL pipeline rejected!” announcement circulated by 350.org’
because i was sickened green about bill mckibben and friends taking bows for it all, and claiming ‘now we know we have the power!’ bullshit.
let me add to their mix: ‘Green Capitalism and the ‘Peoples Summit’ at Rio+20’, café babylon
and ‘Tweeting While the World Burns or: Elites Against the XL Pipeline’
…at my auxiliary/overflow wordpress site. oh, what a hit it was at my.fdl! or…mebbe not. greenwashing is such fukkery. REDD? carbon trading? even the 350 ppm was an old standard. my stars. wish i’d kept more diaries from those days. i wrote some here, but i didn’t categorize them well, but allow me to say that i lost friends over them. ah, well.
They didn’t get you to trade your heroes for ghosts, comrade.
no entiendo, Señor.
Claro, mi Dulcinea del Toboso.
but…might you explain ‘why’ the song? (i even looked up the lyrics, the hmmmm….vocals are so…hmmmm.) but do remember cory morningstar. i just found another green-industrial-complex post i wrote, and you were blondie ___. mmmm….mebbee, anyway.
roy is brilliant; i get why cusack is so in awe of her; we all should be, no? i keep a quote of hers around on a blogging-help word.doc:
To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
~ Arundhati Roy
those eco-socialist pieces? would you want to put some of them, and the passages you’d used, together for a stand-alone post?
They didn’t get you to trade your heroes for ghosts; for lies, for deceptions. I don’t know why this song came to mind. I like it’s melancholy and alienation. “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year”, except, we are more than two, comrade.
Sure, there’s another piece by Chris Williams @ Truthout to review. I’d like to mix in some of Terrence Deacon’s work on consciousness, at the risk of obtuseness.
i’d wondered if your use of the song: a) meant that i’d traded my heroes for ghosts, of course, or b) that it was an xo to me (smile), or c) you were wondering if i could tell ‘a green field from a cold steel rail, from a smile from a veil’.
but let it always be said: i yam a champion obtuseness (for patently obvious reasons).
And the image of Lenin was the clincher. ;)
The marginal deaths per megaton maxed-out by another RAND-roid.
You see, comrade realitychecker, crapitalism inculcates self-ishness.