Why You Can’t Read the Monster of All Trade Deals, the Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Obama’s attempt to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has met some serious resistance from within his own party in the form of left-wing Senate Democrats.

How long this will stall the TPP is anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, his typically opposing Republicans are in support of Obama’s efforts to push it through, probably because the main benefactors will be multinationals and the bankers.

President Obama wants to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Image: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr)

President Obama wants to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (Steve Jurvetson/Flickr)

From what we know so far, the TPP is not really about the practical realities of trade; it’s more about corporate protectionism.

But in the above video, Obama calls the TPP “a vital piece of middle-class economics.” An opponent, Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, says it’s “a new easy way for corporations to shut down in America.”

The TPP has been met with tons of skepticism largely because of its secretive nature. You would know next to nothing if it wasn’t for some alternative media and WikiLeaks.

Apart from some leaked information on intellectual property rights and the environment courtesy of WikiLeaks, we don’t know a heck of a lot. But some details of the information showed that the TPP allows multinational corporations to sue governments if national laws harm their profits. They’ll also set up their own international courts to do that. Yikes.

As for the rest of the TTP’s details, you can’t read the document as it remains classified, but U.S. lawmakers can, just under strict conditions.

Involving 12 nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the world’s biggest so-called free trade deal. (Daniel Ramirez /Flickr)

Involving 12 nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the world’s biggest so-called free trade deal.
(Image: Daniel Ramirez /Flickr)

Washington says secrecy is needed so that negotiations between potential trade partners can be done with a “high degree of candor, creativity, and mutual trust.”

There are around 500 advisers who’re members of appointed trade advisory committees that are involved in the talks and have access to draft documents.

Many corporate lawyers and lobbyists have already read drafts of the TPP as well.

“An industry adviser from the Motion Picture Association can sit at their desk with a laptop, enter their username and password, and see the negotiating text of a proposed trade agreement. Virtually no one in the Congress… has the ability to do that,” said Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, in the above video.

As for you and me, well, it does seem that we will belatedly have a chance to read it. Just no input. The TPP’s fine print will be made public 60 days before the deal is sent on to Congress.

Whether that means anything though is something else, because once it gets through the Senate, it is a done deal.

For more on the TPP, see the video below:

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