So far this TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade negotiation has been held in secret and with zero accountability to the public. The Australian Government has said that it is keen to get it signed and it will not make the contents of the agreement known until after it is signed.
If this doesn’t set alarm bells ringing – it should. The TPP that we’ve had leaked so far is about the worst bits of all the previous draconian, corporatist lobbying by multi-national companies who think that their rights rule supreme over those of people and communities. Some rather scary implications for the cost of medication (Medecins Sans Frontieres described it as potentially “the most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines in developing countries”) and in terms of punitive measures against copyright/IP infringements it’s a new level. But perhaps the most scary is the one the USA has been pushing hard: for foreign owned multi-national companies to sue governments for implementing laws/regulations that might impede profit/exploitation/business interests of the companies. So basically say goodbye to ever tackling obesity, smoking, environmental protection, banking regulation, foreign ownership limits etc: nope, they’ll be dragged through the courts by multi-nationals like has been tried (but failed) in the past.
Given the secrecy of these negotiations and our current conservative government completely and utterly owned by corporatist multi-national rent-seekers: this does not look good for Australia. It might be the worst of these “free trade” negotiations yet.
While you mull over that prospect: here’s a little guide I made on the “benefits” of the Trans-Pacific Partnership as per the information we know about.
Now I’m sure there’s some benefit to exporters in this, but the past record on these things does tend to suggest the bulk of the benefit will be the USA. They’ll agree to open up a bit of their farm produce and we’ll get slugged with the far greater IP/medical costs plus the cost of enforcement of anti-piracy campaigns so the rights owners can sit on arse and not join the online age a bit longer.
One really has to wonder why the people in multi-national companies think they need any more concessions on top of today: paying little to no tax, being above any real reprisals for violating the law and enjoying undeserved/unconstitutional elevated status in our democracy thanks to the grubby bribes we call “donations”.
Greed and desire for power knows no bounds I guess.
Please let people know they should look into the TPP and make their voices known to their politicians and media. If you need some ideas: here’s a letter I wrote.