By Ryan Vince
What exactly is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Unless you were directly involved with the agreement’s negotiations, your answer would be incorrect and most definitely incomplete. Passed just two weeks ago, the TPP was signed into legislation in a very secretive manner. Many specifics in the TPP remain to be unknown, however, the ones that have recently been released has lead readers to vast skepticism. This “trade” agreement, supposedly an avenue of future economic success, may lead to future legal problems that every American should be aware and mindful about.
After five years of quiet negotiating between the United States and eleven other countries, the TPP has finally emerged into fruition. This agreement grants extensive powers to foreign corporations in the Pacific region of the world, and arguably provides more protection to corporate interests than the interests of consumers who benefit from increased competition and free trade. The TPP fails to establish any rules that seek to prevent foreign currency manipulation, it allows foreign companies to contest American laws, and it decreases the protections afforded to Internet users and technology innovators.
The main opposition to the TPP is the fact that foreign corporations now have to ability to sue the United States government when valid American law allegedly undermines “expectations” of future profits. In a provision called “Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” or ISDS, these corporations can skip U.S. courts and present its case before an international panel or arbitrators. To make matters worse, the American taxpayers fund any payout made to a successful foreign challenger. The secrecy of the TTP negotiations could lead one to reasonably assume that the drafters did not want to spread the specifics of this newly instigated deal. Imagine the provisions that remain hidden when the TPP permits foreign companies and investors to challenge any American law, regulation, or court ruling—federal, state, or local.
These arbitration tribunals present a multitude of problems for lawmakers, as well as the American people. American legislation and regulation is necessary for the success of the American people. New laws are constantly being executed in the U.S., which ideally should provide greater protection to our population at home, while our ability to chase new openings of domestic or global success continues to expand. When the TPP conceals a majority of its terms from the entire American population, a concern for these take it or leave it provisions needs to be expressed.
In addition, critics believe that this new deal will significantly hurt the “freedom” of Internet and may damage intellectual property rights of everyone in the United States. The intellectual property chapter of the TPP details many requirements that are more restrictive that the modern international standard, which requires countries to conform their own laws to meet the TPP. Further, journalists can be faced with harsh criminal penalties for the innocent misuse of trade secrets, such as accessing information through an alleged confidential computer system. However, because the TPP is complete and much of it remains to be uncovered, it is only a matter of time before we discover the effects.
Overall, what we can expect from the TPP is that the American government will be challenged more frequently when it comes to commercial legislation. Even when certain laws were created to benefit the American people, they may be struck down because of potential to produce adverse affects to foreign businesses. The TPP is a brand new agreement among countries around the world, and our population needs to aware of what the TPP is expected to bring us.
http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Economy/Trumka-The-Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Is-a-Bad-Deal-for-American-Workers (accessed the above article from here)