Now Is the Time to Justifiably Protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a “free trade” agreement with disastrous consequences for the United States. The TPP would implement rules on everything from financial regulation, service-sector regulation, labor and environmental standards, investment, government procurement, patents and copyrights, labor and environmental standards, and trade in industrial goods and agriculture.
A particularly troubling fact about the TPP is that little is known about the agreement beyond its general contents. The negotiations have been taking place in secret and very few of the details have been unveiled to the public. In fact, much of the agreement is still being written and negotiated by lobbyists identifying themselves as “corporate trade advisers.” As seen in our other trade agreements, lobbyists look out for corporate interests instead of the interests of the American people.
Like other trade agreements before it, such as NAFTA and the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), the TPP is being advertised to the U.S. as a means to improve our economy and increase exports. However, if the disastrous effects of NAFTA are any indication, the TPP will only serve to further cripple our economy.
Implemented in 1994, NAFTA has been responsible for the loss or displacement of an estimated 682,900 U.S. jobs. Nearly all of the losses were in manufacturing. NAFTA did not increase our exports or improve our economy; quite the opposite. Because of NAFTA, thousands of jobs and businesses were lost in response to the flood of cheap imports from foreign nations.
If the shared similarities with NAFTA and KORUS weren’t enough to cause public concern toward the TPP, the fact that many companies who support the TPP have horrendous track records when it comes to mistreating their communities and workers should concern U.S. citizens. In fact, the TPP has many fair trade activists concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will foster even more instances of mistreatment, poverty, and exploitation of indigenous people around the world.
There are already examples of this today. The Longview, Washington-based Export Grain Terminal ignored a contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Port of Longview and sought to increase profits by driving down workers’ wages and standards. Even Walmart pays their workers, otherwise known as “associates,” poverty wages that are insufficient to live off of.
Something must be done to stop the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership! In December of 2012, over 300 farmers, immigration reformers, labor leaders, union members, and other groups gathered at the Peace Arch on the U.S.-Canada border to protest the TPP. If we want to stop this disastrous agreement, we must contact our congressmen and demand that they act on our behalf. We have already seen the damage that “free trade” agreements cause. We do not need another one!