The Trans Pacific Partnership is a proposed new trade treaty which opponents call NAFTA on Steroids. NIJwJ believes that it will eliminate many thousands of jobs for US workers, create new obstacles to environmental protection, climate protection, food safety , and workers’ rights. It will also increase the cost of prescription drugs, and impose new, extremely restrictive rules on the exchange of information and “content” on the internet.
The Trans Pacific Partnership is a threat to democracy because it gives multinational corporations the right to sue nation states, including the US, which pass laws which interfere with a corporation’s “expected future profits.” So, if the US passes the Employee Free Choice Act, or a Carbon Tax, or even a “Buy American” law, the United States could be sued for doing that. The case would be tried before a three person panel, made up of corporate lawyers, who could impose substantial fines (to be paid out of taxpayer money) or possibly the law could be overturned. These tribunals would be held in secret and there would be no appeal.
So, the democratic process, by which we, as a free people govern ourselves, would be trumped by a new principle: that corporations have a right to their “expected future profits.” NAFTA contained some of these provisions, but the TransPacific Partnership strengthens and magnifies those provisions.
Fast Track is a legislative mechanism which will allow treaty proponents to ram it through Congress with no open hearings, and no amendments. Congress would just get an up or down vote.
Since negotiations for the treaty have been held largely in secret, and since most Americans are barely aware of the nature of this treaty, Fast Track would allow treaty proponents to pass into law many provisions which the American people would never allow if they were fully informed.
Bill Foster still claims that he needs to study the Trans Pacific Partnership before he decides his position after several months of appeals from citizens. But the information already public is overwhelmingly damning. This treaty would only benefit the elite of each of the 12 participating countries.