Workers and people of different countries oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), was signed amid huge protests in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 4, 2016.
The signing by representatives of 12 countries marks the beginning of a processes by which their countries will begin to attempt to ratify the agreement. This process could take two years, and is a major opportunity for workers’ and people’s campaigns to block ratification in the TPP countries.
It would also enable multinational corporations and financial oligarchs to challenge national regulations on workers’ and people’s rights, foreign ownership on land and vital industries, and finance.
Multinational corporations especially from the US, have long been pushing for TPP. Widely recognized as one of the worst trade acts in history, it is no wonder that its contents have long been kept a secret by those responsible for its drafting who are mainly corporate lobbyists.
TPP is anti-worker and anti-people. Some of the most devastating consequences of TPP are:
- Workers will receive lower wages and their working conditions will worsen. Employers will be empowered and incentivized to drive down wages. The increased market power of multinationals will worsen the pressure both on governments to create means for legitimating lower wages and on local firms who compete for contracts with these multinationals by lowering the costs of their production by cutting wages and health and safety measures.
- Labor standards will be further eroded. Foreign firms will have the power to attack national laws that protect labor, environment, and citizens’ health through the much-discussed investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals, claiming that these laws ‘harm’ their investments. The tribunals are composed of private trade lawyers, and enable firms to sue national governments for unlimited amounts of tax-payer money. Apart from the fact that foreign firms can bypass national judicial systems, the ISDS tribunals feature little transparency, allow a ‘judge’ in one case to be a corporate advocate in another case, recognise no precedents, and allow for no appeal. In fact, these tribunals are not real courts at all, but are biased to investors.
- Workers and their families will have less access to health care and cheaper medicines. Medicine will become more expensive everywhere, but with especially grave consequences in poorer countries. Due to its expanded intellectual property rights, TPP rules will require changes in national laws in order to increase the monopoly power of pharmaceutical companies. With prices so high, many in need will have to struggle on, with their health issues untreated.
- Workers and people will be more vulnerable to climate change disasters. TPP will result in increased carbon emissions and it will empower corporations to challenge laws that ban environmentally destructive practices such as fracking. This is more serious given the recent failure of COP21 to produce any binding agreements toward combating climate change, which has already produced weather fluctuations resulting in devastating disasters particularly in the poorest countries which have the least infrastructural capacity to respond to them.
With the signing of TPP, now more than ever, workers must take action to block ratification. Our campaign to stop the TPP must continue to build momentum.
Let us oppose attacks on jobs, access to healthcare, environment, information and national sovereignty.
Let us oppose the TPP, its subsequent ratification by governments who signed, and the plans for more governments subservient to US policy to sign on to the TPP against the will of the people.