*snort* Obama’s native home eh, AP…? Are you sure about that…?

Anyways, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Obama hopped on Air Force One and is headed to the APEC conference, here in the Isles…! Believe it or not, it really is huge deal… Consider the fact that Hillary is already here, and, Obama is also meeting individually with the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, and, Chinese President Hu Jintao… ! Quite the Luau, eh…?

Global Post adds some more background…

…Media reports describe the trip as symbolic of today’s outlook on the global economy.

The AFP: “A two-week interlude of foreign policy in Obama’s increasingly domestically focused administration offers a symbolic contrast between struggling Europe, where America has its historic roots, and Asia which may define its future.”

Additionally, the tour is intended to assert that the US is a “Pacific power” that wants to help build economic success in the developing regions – and China in particular – amid recent aggressive diplomatic and military moves by the country that has worried its Asian neighbors, the Washington Post reported.

“This isn’t a trip to the far-flung corners of Asia,” Daniel Russel, Obama’s senior director for Asian affairs, told the Associated Press. “This is a trip to the Asia-Pacific. The U.S. is very much an Asia-Pacific nation. We’re a resident power.”

Some more WH spin info…

“The U.S. exports to this region are essential to the president’s goal of doubling U.S. exports in the next several years,” Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, told reporters in a briefing Wednesday. “In fact, nearly all of the efforts that we’re going to be making towards that export goal take place in this part of the world.”

The 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum account for 55% of the world’s gross domestic product, 43% of world trade and 58% of U.S. exports, according to the group.

“So I think when the American people see the president traveling in the Asia-Pacific, they will see him advocating for U.S. jobs and U.S. businesses,” Rhodes said. “He will be trying to open new markets, and he will be trying to achieve new export initiatives, and he will be trying to foster a trade agreement through the, for instance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that takes us beyond the Korea Free Trade Agreement towards a multilateral agreement that, again, has very high standards to ensure that our interests are being protected.”

The Obama administration is pushing for the expanded trade agreement to help boost reduce barriers to U.S. exports, boost trade and create jobs…

Oh goody, it’ll be KFTA on steroids…!

Here’s a practical primer on the TPPA…

What is TPPA?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a “free trade” currently under negotiation between NZ and 8 other countries, including the U.S. The countries want to complete negotiation by the end of 2011.

Trade is only a minor part of the agreement. That’s just a clever branding exercise. A TPPA would be an agreement that guarantees special rights to foreign investors. If these negotiations succeed they will create a mega-treaty across 9 countries that will put a straight jacket around what policies and laws our governments can adopt for the next century – think GM labelling, foreign investment laws, price of medicines, regulating dodgy finance firms, NZ content on TV …

It seems that the TPPA may have been ‘delayed’ by some of the APEC signatories themselves…

Pacific Trade Pact misses APEC deadline as community groups slam US proposals on medicines and corporate rights

“The APEC meeting in Hawaii was meant to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a new free trade deal between the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. But the deal has been delayed because of controversial proposals tabled by the US, and negotiations will continue into 2012,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community groups (AFTINET), said today…

Tabled by the US because nobody else in the Pacific Basin wanted to see higher Drug Prices…! Fancy that…!

Leaked Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement Texts Reveal U.S. Pushing Extreme Pharmaceutical Corporation Demands that Would Undermine Consumers’ Access to Affordable Medicine

Leaks of U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reveal that the Obama administration has reversed reforms designed to enhance access to affordable medicines made during the George W. Bush administration and is instead demanding new rights for pharmaceutical firms to challenge pricing and other drug formulary policies used by many developed countries to keep down prices. The leaked draft text raises multiple concerns…

I don’t know about you, but, I’m mighty sick and tired about ‘Free Trade’, how’s about some ‘Fair Trade’ for a change…?