4 Reasons to Reject the TPP
by Chris Eaton
The U.S. just signed onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a dream deal for frackers and shark finners. But we can still stop this nightmare.
Have you ever made a bad deal? Now the U.S. government has for you.
This week in New Zealand, the United States signed on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), an expansive trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations that will empower corporations at the expense of the climate, wildlife and democracy.
Luckily, Congress can still stop the TPP. Here are four reasons we should all be rising up to stop this dangerous deal.
1. Secret Negotiations With Corporate Lobbyists
In drafting the TPP, government negotiators bowed to corporate influence, locking in policies to lower tariffs and regulations that will boost their profits. The deal was then negotiated in secret between the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
What’s worse is that 600 corporate lobbyists were asked to give input on the deal while civil society — that’s you and me — was left out.
Why all the secrecy?
2. The TPP Means Dead Sharks, Tigers, and Elephants
The TPP is all about reducing tariffs and taxes on imports, regardless of the consequences. Thanks to research by Ben Beachy of the Sierra Club, we know that this includes tariffs on shark fins, palm oil — whose expanding plantations threaten tiger habitat — and even ivory.
Cheaper shark fins means more dead sharks and cheaper palm oil means more rainforests cleared for plantations. The tariff reductions on legal ivory could even spur popularity and demand for illegally poached elephant ivory .
3. The TPP Gives a Future to Fracking
The TPP will also make it much easier for the United States to export natural gas from fracking.
Right now, exporting natural gas needs approval from the Department of Energy. The TPP removes any significant review of the environmental consequences by making approval automatic. And when export markets are guaranteed, fossil fuel companies in the United States will build more natural gas export facilities, infrastructure that will guarantee fracking, drive climate change, and poison our water for years to come.
4. The TPP Gives Corporations Too Much Power
Under the TPP, corporate polluters will be able to sue the United States when they don’t get what they want. Corporations are already doing everything they can to buy influence in our democracy and use their dollars to drown out the voice of the people — the last thing they need is more influence over government.
If the United States passes environmental regulations that hurt a foreign corporation’s bottom line, that company will be able to sue us in a secret a foreign tribunal whose decision is final and unappealable.
Right now, Transcanada is using similar rules under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to sue the United States for prohibiting the expansion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Under the TPP, we could see thousands of similar lawsuits designed to reverse environmental progress.
A Movement Rising Up to Stop the TPP
The TPP is not only an environmental disaster, it’s a disaster for workers, human rights, public health, internet freedom, food safety,security, and almost everything that is important to us. But a global movement is rising up to stop it.
In the United States, more than 1,500 organizations — from unions to family farms — have asked Congress to reject the TPP.
And we can win.
If Congress rejects the TPP, the whole deal will unravel. And Presidential candidates like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and even Donald Trump have been critical of the deal. Members of Congress who are up for reelection don’t want to face the public backlash at home. Congress only passed the measure to give the president increased negotiation powers for this by just ten votes in the House the first time around.
This is nowhere near over.