The White House has now released the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) online, marking the first time the public will have a chance to officially see the contents of the largest trade agreement in history.
Previous to posting, the public, including those citizens of the 12 states that will be bound by the agreement, was dependent on various leaks to learn anything about what was in the actual agreement. The primary resource was Wikileaks, which published the intellectual property chapter in 2013.
Though it will take some time to fully digest the complete agreement, what is already known has received considerable opposition.
Despite being one of the most far-reaching economic agreements in history, TPP has no serious provisions to combat climate change. The environmental chapter [PDF] is sparse and hollow, business-as-usual for carbon emitters.
TPP will further endanger health for people in developing nations by giving pharmaceutical multinationals an additional eight years of protection from cheaper competitors for biologics. The agreement also includes further protections for patents generally sure to strain public health systems.
Though Obama Administration claimed TPP is “the most progressive trade agreement in history,” the provisions to protect labor rights and prevent currency manipulation are not actually enforceable. This is why major trade unions are opposing TPP.
Nothing was done to limit human trafficking. In fact, the response by the US was to simply change designations to allow serial human rights abuser Malaysia to stay in TPP. Hope and rearrange.
The worst fears of internet freedom activists have been confirmed as the text includes provisions for government to have greater control and surveillance over the internet. TPP criminalizes any attempt to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) protections, while extending the length of copyright and forcing governments and internet service providers to collect, store and share user data.
National sovereignty is also undermined and usurped by TPP in favor of transnational corporate governance. TPP includes an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision, which allows foreign investors and multinational corporations to legally challenge a host state’s regulations outside that country’s courts in stacked corporate tribunals. The decision is binding.
No such equal right exists in TPP for states to sue corporations.
The White House revealed the contents of the TPP agreement which starts the clock on a process that will lead to an up or down vote in Congress in approximately four months. The clock starts now, and the fate of TPP now rests in the hands of everyone’s favorite institution, Congress.