The Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement

January, 2015 — The passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would pave the road to energy exports, allow corporations to attack policies aimed at combating climate change and leave American citizens with little regress.  For this reason, Portland Rising Tide supports the Alliance for Democracy, the Oregon Sierra Club, and the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign  in their efforts oppose this massive international trade and investment pact.

In 2014, the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act” (HR.3830/S.1900) was introduced — a bill otherwise known as Fast Track.  The legislation would allow the TPP and other pacts to be signed by the Executive Branch before the public even gets an opportunity to review what’s been proposed, and then rush them through Congress circumventing ordinary review, amendment and debate procedures.

In 2015, the Republican congress has made it a priority to push through Fast Track and TPP legislation, as has the Obama Administration.
 

ACTION ALERT:

Dangerous Fast Track Legislation Closing In — Last Chance to Stop It!

The Alliance for Democracy is holding twice-weekly actions to raise public awareness of this unprecedented giveaway  of our constitutional rights to corporate powers.  Weekly action updates can be found here.  
 
The Oregon Citizen’s Trade Campaign is planning actions at the offices of Senator Wyden  and Reps. Bonamici, Blumenauer, Schrader on Wednesday, February 18th. Local and national partners from labor, environmental, public health and human rights movements will participate in rallies, press events and briefings to vote down Fast Track legislation and pursue responsible alternatives. More information here.
 
 Take Action Now to Stop Fast Track and the TPP!

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Background:

The TPP is being pushed by the Obama Administration at the behest of transnational corporations and is slated for completion now in 2015.  If it continues on its current course, the Trans-Pacific FTA will serve two primary purposes:
  1. Make it easier for corporations to shift jobs throughout the world to wherever labor is the most exploited and regulations are the weakest; and
  2. Put checks on democracy at home and abroad by constraining governments’ ability to regulate in the public interest.

From Sierra Club Oregon Chapter:

Environmental damage will be incurred due to a variety of clauses, which include:

1) companies would be allowed to sue governments in private tribunals over any law that companies allege infringes on the value of their investments,

2) the US Dept. of Energy would be required to automatically approve exports of LNG to signatory countries (including Japan, the current leader in LNG imports), therefor encouraging increased fracking and dangerous transportation,

3) Regarding global fisheries, countries “shall seek to operate a fisheries management system…that is designed to prevent overfishing and overcapacity”, however there is no mention of fisheries by-catch nor any ban on shark finning – despite many of the signatory countries being traders of shark fins, and requirement under United States law to seek broader bans on such countries, and

4) TPP countries are significant exporters of plant and wildlife products, a trade that has lead to dramatic declines in biodiversity and endangered species. Unfortunatley the TPP contains extremely weak wording regarding the enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

From Public Citizen:

The Obama administration is currently negotiating a sweeping new FTA called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam — the first FTA negotiated by the Obama administration.  DespiteObama’s many campaign promises to scale down investor-state enforcement in trade agreements, the leaked investment chapter of the TPP reveals that the Obama administration intends to expand even further the extreme investor-state model of past FTAs. If passed, the TPP would grant thousands of corporations these extraordinary rights to sue governments over public interest policies for taxpayer compensation.

Here are the maps of the locations of multinational corporations that would get these new rights if Congress would pass the TPP.  Corporations with nearly 70,000 corporate affiliates would be able to use these rights, including over 300 financial services companies that could challenge essential financial sector regulations through investor-state provisions. These corporations could challenge the local zoning and environmental laws of your community, so zoom in using the “+” button to see which corporations are in your city.  Click on the dots to see the names of the corporations and their industry. The color of the marker indicates the country of the parent company. The red lines on the map are the borders of the districts of the U.S. House of Representatives. Click here for a full list of companies based in TPP countries that operate in the United States, sorted by congressional district.