Reject Obama’s covert TPPA operations
April 26, 2014
The lack of transparency in TPPA negotiation process makes a mockery of Obama’s avowed commitment to open government.
By Kua Kia Soong
The main purpose of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Malaysia is to try and speed the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that is so critical to US capitalism in its effort to check the growth of China’s trade relations in the region.
The fact that the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are kept under such tight wraps should make us suspicious of its impact on our lives.
Even members of the Congress are not privy to the text of the draft agreement. This is because the agreement is more than just a trade deal; it also imposes parameters on non-trade policies and even US laws must be altered to conform with these new terms, or trade sanctions can be imposed against American exports.
The agreement, under negotiation since 2008, set new rules for everything from food safety and financial markets to medicine prices and Internet freedom, requiring countries to maintain compatible regulatory regimes; facilitate corporate financial transactions; establish copyright and patent protections to govern intellectual property rights and to safeguard foreign investors.
True to US capitalism, only a privileged class of trade “advisers,” dominated by representatives of big businesses, enjoy access to draft texts and negotiators.
Under the agreement, pharmaceutical companies, which are among those enjoying access to negotiators as “advisers,” could challenge measures to make generic drugs economical by claiming that they undermined their new rights granted by the deal.
The agreement would also water down regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis and it would practically forbid bans on risky financial products, including the toxic derivatives that contributed to the crisis in the first place.
The reason the TPPA negotiations are wrapped in secrecy is because Obama wants the agreement to be given fast-track treatment before Congress votes on it. The eventual vote in Congress will be short and swift by all accounts.