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Excerpt: "The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations."

President Barack Obama talks to members of the media during a White House press conference in the Rose Garden. (photo: AP)
President Barack Obama talks to members of the media during a White House press conference in the Rose Garden. (photo: AP)



Leaked Trade Document Reveals Corporations Favored Over Public Interest

By Public Citizen

14 June 12

 

leak today of one of the most controversial chapters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reveals that extreme provisions have been agreed to by U.S. officials, providing a stark warning about the dangers of “trade” negotiations occurring under conditions of extreme secrecy without press, public or policymaker oversight, Public Citizen said.

“The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.”

Although the TPP has been branded a “trade” agreement, the leaked text of the pact’s Investment Chapter shows that the TPP would:

  • Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms;
  • Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries;
  • Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges; and
  • Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.

While 600 official U.S. corporate advisors have access to TPP texts and have a special role in advising U.S. negotiators, for the public, press and policymakers, this leak provides the first access to one of the prospective TPP’s most controversial chapters. In May, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chair of the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness – the committee with jurisdiction over the TPP – filed legislation to open the process after he and his staff were denied access even to the U.S. proposals for the TPP negotiations.

Last month, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk defended the unprecedented secrecy of TPP negotiations by noting that when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released previously, it became impossible to finish the deal as then proposed.

“The top U.S. trade official effectively has said that the administration must keep TPP secret because otherwise it won’t be able to shove this deal past the public and Congress,” said Wallach. “The airing of this one TPP chapter, which greatly favors foreign corporations over domestic businesses and the public interest and exposes us to significant financial liabilities, shows that the whole draft text must be released immediately so it can be reviewed and debated. Absent that, these negotiations must be ended now.”

The TPP is the first trade pact the Obama administration is negotiating. Today’s leak further complicates the administration’s goal of completing TPP negotiations this fall. Already the TPP timeline was generating political headaches for the Obama re-election campaign, as repeated U.S polling shows that majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans oppose more NAFTA-style trade deals.

The TPP may well be the last trade agreement that the U.S. negotiates. This is because TPP, if completed, would have a new feature relative to past U.S. trade pacts: It would remain open for any other country to join later. Last month, USTR Kirk said that he "would love nothing more" than to have China join TPP.

The TPP offered an opportunity to develop a new model of trade agreement that could deliver the benefits of expanded trade without unduly undermining signatory nations’ domestic public interest policies or establishing special privileges for foreign corporations. President Barack Obama and countless members of Congress campaigned on fixing these investment rules to better protect the public interest. But Public Citizen’s analysis of this text shows that the U.S. positions do not reflect any of the changes that candidate Obama pledgedwhen he recognized the threats posed by the NAFTA-style investment provisions in trade agreements.

The leak also reveals that:

  • Australia has refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the “investor-state” private corporate enforcement foreign tribunal system;
  • U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system to allow the use of foreign tribunals to enforce contracts that foreign investors may have with a government for government procurement or to operate utilities contracts and even related to concessions for natural resources on federal lands;
  • Other countries are proposing safeguards for financial regulation and limits to the corporate tribunals that the U.S. has not supported.

Public Citizen’s analysis of the leaked text and guided tour through its provisions can be found here.

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit public interest organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.

 

Comments   

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-3 # indian weaver 2012-06-14 07:25
obama is a horrible coward, never grew up, never suffered to understand suffering, a bad person, horrible president as he's no leader, just another paid off follower. this guy obama is no good, never accomplished anything of value or anything exceptional, never published anything creative or important, a zero sum coward and big baby.
 
 
+1 # peace2012 2012-06-14 08:46
Interesting - What has Mitt done? Once again a blog that contains no facts only criticism. Although the above could describe Mitt much better.

Big baby (dressed up as policemen, bullied a fellow student with long hair, etc. Bad person since Mitt is responsible for thousands of people losing their jobs (think Bain as one example) Will Definitely be a horrible president favoring the 1%. Mitt is a paid off follower; what else can one say about a person who changes what he says from day to day.

What did Mitt accomplish? Being born into a politically connected and wealthy fazmily. (he sure did earn the money himself).

Obama has written a book - what did Mitt write?

Appears you may be describing yourself with the above words or MITT!!!
 
 
0 # Michael_K 2012-06-15 11:17
Obama wrote a book in which he pretends to be a progressive. All along, he stands for this:

http://www.zimbio.com/US+Politics+and+Current+Events/articles/SyhePmZJ2ig/TPP+FTA+TPPA+Trans+Pacific+Partnership+Free
 
 
+8 # JSRaleigh 2012-06-14 09:33
Quoting indian weaver:
obama is a horrible coward, never grew up, never suffered to understand suffering, a bad person, horrible president as he's no leader, just another paid off follower. this guy obama is no good, never accomplished anything of value or anything exceptional, never published anything creative or important, a zero sum coward and big baby.


The best that you can say about Obama is it would have been infinitely worse under McCain/Palin and *WILL* get infinitely worse if Romney wins.
 
 
-4 # John Locke 2012-06-14 12:14
JSRaleigh: Disagree with you here, look at history, the worst things that US presidents have done to us were under Democrate.. Clinton deregulated Wall Street and mortgages, Carter Deregulated the Air lines....and Obama has further deruglated Wall Street...

The Republicans undermine oversight, the Democrats deregulate!
 
 
+13 # Stephanie Remington 2012-06-14 13:47
Quoting JSRaleigh:

The best that you can say about Obama is it would have been infinitely worse under McCain/Palin and *WILL* get infinitely worse if Romney wins.


No matter how bad Obama's actions, somebody always offers the dire prediction of how much worse it would be under Romney. Yes, Romney would be a disaster of a president. But when Obama acts in one vile, illegal, immoral manner after another, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to use his behavior that is totally against American laws and values to argue FOR supporting him in the election.

If you had a serious illness and were told that you had a choice between Joseph Mengele and Dr. Kevorkian, would you meekly submit to your supposedly undeniable fate and choose one of them, or would you say, “hell no, that’s not a choice” and find someone else to treat you?

We’ve got better options. It’s simply a matter of recognizing them as such.
 
 
-2 # Regina 2012-06-15 08:31
Who are they? Where are they? Dream on, and it'll cost you more than you can pay.
 
 
0 # Stephanie Remington 2012-06-15 15:16
You didn't answer the question.
 
 
+1 # Michael_K 2012-06-15 11:20
At last, a voice of reason and moral fortitude!
 
 
+1 # Michael_K 2012-06-15 11:19
At this point, I'm not convinced that Romney, a right-leaning centrist dolt, would be "worse" than Obama, a Mussolini-style fascist who isn't even honest about it. He operates under the cloak of secrecy.

http://www.zimbio.com/US+Politics+and+Current+Events/articles/SyhePmZJ2ig/TPP+FTA+TPPA+Trans+Pacific+Partnership+Free
 
 
+11 # RMDC 2012-06-14 16:25
I was a supporter of Obama but now I agree with you. He could have opposed this. His administration did not write it. It was written by corporate lawyers. It was just handed to him and he was told to support it. He could have said "NO." But he never says "NO" when the Pentagon, CIA, banks, corporations, etc give him orders.

He does say no to the citizens of Wisconsin who desperately needed him to support their revolt against a corrupt govenor.

I just wonder what is wrong with Obama?
 
 
+3 # John Locke 2012-06-15 06:34
Its called Greed, money is his god!
 
 
+20 # JSRaleigh 2012-06-14 09:32
"Last month, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk defended the unprecedented secrecy of TPP negotiations by noting that when the draft of a major regional trade pact was released previously, it became impossible to finish the deal as then proposed."

Kirk makes that sound like it's a bad thing.

Having no agreement is preferable to any agreement that screws the American people.
 
 
+8 # John Locke 2012-06-14 12:15
Another sell by Obama our wimp and president, for his corporate owners
 
 
+4 # jwb110 2012-06-14 10:00
Bend over America and when you see your a##hole kiss it goodbye.
 
 
0 # John Locke 2012-06-14 12:16
Better yet don't look! just remain in denial.
 
 
+17 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-06-14 10:02
Globalizing Fascism.
 
 
+6 # She Cee 2012-06-14 10:43
THE ULTIMATE SELL-OUT!

If this goes through this country is finished, not that it isn't already. It's just that it will happen sooner.

I wonder who is getting paid off to allow this to happen. And who is to say they won't also ultimately be screwed by those in ultimate power. We think they are the 1% in this country but maybe it's the 1% in the world who we haven't heard of.

It's 1984 in Spades.

I write many comments. If you chose to respond, please refer to the one I have written. Thanks.
 
 
+5 # Old Uncle Dave 2012-06-14 13:20
Fight the New World Order with Old World Chaos.
 
 
+3 # Michael_K 2012-06-14 19:31
Actually, this High Treason. There is no other name for it.

Not that anyone is going to do anything about it, of course,
 
 
0 # Key-Lock Man 2012-06-15 17:42
Attention should remain on what facts this article says..any, any, secret meeting is not Constitutional and conclusively points to actions that the American public would disapprove of, if they were aware of them. That is by far the most obvious act of treason this article shows. The second act of treason is shown by the subject matters of this 'secret' meeting. To know that a group of 'Americans' are on the verge of yet another successful sellout to other countries at the cost of American solvency is definitely treasonous. Meanwhile, most posters are debating whether Obama this or Romney that which forms a wrecking ball on any progress in solving our problems. America's problem is that traitors in both parties are in bed with the same 'interests' that demand secret meetings. Americans who can't see that our country is being deliberately crippled are under the age of two, in the ground or no longer Americans. Stay focused on what these articles say and not on who cooks the worst cake..
 
 
+1 # Working Class 2012-06-15 18:06
How many of the people posting on this blog have called or visited their Congress critters office on this matter? We need to either shut up and give up, or go tell the traitors that we will get our friends and go door to door this fall and explain why they need to kick the bums out of office.
 

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