“Worse than anything we could’ve imagined.”
“An act of climate denial.”
“Giveaway to big agribusiness.”
“A death warrant for the open Internet.”
As specialist analysis of the long-shrouded, recently publicized Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) final text continued to roll out on Thursday, agreement formed around one fundamental assessment of the 12-nation pact: It's even worse than we believed.
“From leaks, we knew quite a bit about the agreement, but in chapter after chapter the final text is worse than we expected with the demands of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers representing corporate interests satisfied to the detriment of the public interest,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Resident's Global Trade Watch.
In fact, Public Citizen charged, the TPP rolls back past public interest reforms to the U.S. trade model while expanding bothersome provisions demanded by the hundreds of official U.S. corporate trade advisors who contributed to the settlements while residents were left in the dark.
On concerns ranging from environmental issues to food safety, from open internet to access to medicines, the TPP "is a disaster," stated Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now.
“Now that we’ve seen the full text, it turns out the job-killing TPP is worse than anything we could’ve imagined,” added Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America. "This arrangement would lower wages, flood our nation with hazardous imported food, raise the cost of life-saving medicine, all the while trading with nations where gays and single moms can be stoned to death."
' Act of Climate Denial'
Significant climate action groups, consisting of 350.org and the Sierra Club, were quick to mention that the text was significant as much for exactly what it didn't say as what for exactly what it did. "The TPP is an act of climate denial,” stated 350 policy director Jason Kowalski on Thursday. “While the text is full of handouts to the fossil fuel industry, it doesn’t mention the words climate change once.”
Exactly what it does do, nevertheless, is offer "nonrenewable fuel source business the amazing ability to sue local governments that attempt and keep nonrenewable fuel sources in the ground," Kowalski continued. “If a province puts a moratorium on fracking, corporations can sue; if a community tries to stop a coal mine, corporations can overrule them. In short, these rules undermine countries’ ability to do what scientists say is the single most important thing we can do to combat the climate crisis: keep fossil fuels in the ground.”
Furthermore, Friends of the Earth (FOE) stated in its reaction to the last text, the arrangement “is designed to protect ‘free trade’ in dirty energy products such as tar sands oil, coal from the Powder River Basin, and liquefied natural gas shipped out of West Coast ports.” The result, FOE warned, will be “more climate change from carbon emissions across the Pacific.”
“President Obama has sold the American people a false bill of goods,” said FOE president Erich Pica. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership fails President Obama’s pledge to make the TPP an environmentally sound trade agreement.”
International observers were no less vital. Matthew Rimmer, a teacher of copyright and innovation law at Australia's Queensland University of Technology and trade policy specialist, told Fairfax Media it looks like U.S. trade officials have been "greenwashing" the arrangement.
“The environment chapter confirms some of the worst nightmares of environmental groups and climate activists,”Rimmer told the news outlet. “The agreement has poor coverage of environmental issues, and weak enforcement mechanisms. There is only limited coverage of biodiversity, conservation, marine capture fisheries, and trade in environmental services.”
‘Attack Sensible Food Safety Rules’
With its arrangements that tie the hands of food inspectors at global borders and give more power to biotechnology companies, “the TPP is a giveaway to big agribusiness and food companies,” said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director. Such business entities, she said, wish to utilize trade deals like the TPP "“to attack sensible food safety rules, weaken the inspection of imported food, and block efforts to strengthen U.S. food safety standards.”
Last month, the Center for Food Safety described the leading five reasons eaters should be worried about Obama’s new trade deal.” At the top of the list was the TPP's capability to undermine efforts to label GMO foods. "More broadly," the Center wrote in October, “any U.S. food safety rules on labeling, pesticides, or additives that [are] higher than international standards could be subject to challenge as ‘illegal trade barriers.’”
Indeed, according to Food & Water Watch, the last text released Thursday indicates that under a TPP regime," agribusiness and biotech seed companies can now more quickly utilize trade guidelines to challenge countries that prohibit GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly authorize brand-new GMO crops or even need GMO labeling.".
" The TPP food safety and labeling arrangements are even worse than expected and trouble for American consumers and farmers," said Hauter. "Congress needs to decline this raw deal that handcuffs food safety inspectors and exposes everybody to a rising tide of unsafe imported food.".
' Death Warrant for the Open Web'
" If U.S. Congress signs this agreement regardless of its outright corruption, they'll be signing a death warrant for the open Internet and putting the future of free speech in danger," mentioned Evan Greer, Fight For The Future (FFTF) project director.
Amongst the "a number of areas of severe concern" recognized by FFTF are those covering hallmarks, pharmaceutical patents, copyright defenses, and "trade secrets.".
Area J, which resolves Internet Service Providers (ISPs) "is among the worst areas that impacts the openness of the Web," according to the digital rights group, which described even more:.
" This section requires Web Service Providers to play 'copyright police officers' and aid in the enforcement of copyright takedown demands-- but it does not need countries to have a system for counter-notices, so a U.S company might order a site to be taken down in another country, and there would be no method for the person running that website to refute their claims if it was a political criticism website utilizing copyrighted content in a manner consistent with fair use.
Area J makes it so ISPs are not liable for any misdeed when they remove material-- incentivizing them to err on the side of copyright holders instead of on the side of complimentary speech.".
' Public Review Is Needed'.
Like-minded groups in Canada, where recently chosen Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been on the job for all of one day, are sounding comparable alarms.
Mentioning concerns about how the offer would affect human rights, health, employment, environment, and democracy, the Council of Canadians on Thursday demanded a complete public consultation-- including an independent human rights, economic, and environmental evaluation of the file-- prior to Trudeau goes any even more. The group expressed certain concern over investor-state conflict settlement (ISDS) arrangements, which allow corporations to sue states for lost profits, asking that they be excised from the offer.
" Trudeau is under a lot of pressure to embrace this offer as quickly as possible, with calls currently can be found in from U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese President Shinto Abe," acknowledged the Council's national chairperson, Maude Barlow. "But a comprehensive public evaluation is required before he can develop whether the TPP is genuinely in Canada's interest.".
Or anybody else's, for that matter. You can read the full text of the TPP here.
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