Imagine, if you will, a trade agreement that will cost millions of American jobs and affect or eliminate thousands of American businesses while granting foreign corporations outrageous new powers to attack the laws we rely on for a clean environment, safe food and decent jobs. It does this by providing foreign firms the unlimited ability to drag the US government in front of foreign tribunals composed of 3 private attorneys authorized to order massive payouts. These lawyers will rotate between being “judges” and suing governments for the corporations in a twisted system called the “investor-state” regime. It gives individual foreign corporations equal status with the US federal government – allowing the foreign firms to privately enforce a public treaty.
Imagine these totally unaccountable corporate lawyers being loosed on a system set up to ensure corporate profits. The US has paid out over $3.5 billion in “investor-state” cases under existing treaties. With the insane level of corporate protections included in TPP, the sky will be the limit on how much we will be required to pay. In 2014, the WTO has sided with Canada and Mexico against the US on labeling “country of origin” on meats we eat. It was appealed but the US lost the appeal on May 18th of this year. The WTO will now set the level of retaliatory tariffs that Canada and Mexico can set on the US if the labels don’t come off our meats. These treaties already change the laws Congress makes and this is only the beginning.
Imagine a treaty so secret that members of the US Congress only have limited access to its text and you’ve got to go to classified briefings and leave your staff and cellphone at the door. Congress members are forced to go to a room in the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center and be handed it one section at a time, watched over as you read, and forced to hand over any notes you make before leaving. Then, you are sworn to secrecy after reading it. Yet, more than 500 official corporate “trade advisors” have unlimited access to it as do the governments of all the nations involved with the negotiations.
Now, imagine yourself getting off the couch long enough to contact your Congressman and Senators to declassify the Trans Pacific Partnership and it’s wicked step-sister the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership text. Congress has the authority to declassify information they have in their possession and they must be persuaded to do this – NOW! Otherwise, imagine a world run by great humanitarian corporations like Monsanto, MERC, Halliburton, BofA and Goldman Sachs because that is what we will have.