By Akhil Kumar:
Remember the ‘Tobacco’ episode of John Oliver’s show where he explains how tobacco companies are keeping their business strong overseas? He explained how big tobacco companies sued entire countries to protect their businesses, even bullying them through some trade agreements. Well, its not just limited to tobacco companies. If Obama has his way in bypassing the US Congress to ‘fast track’ the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), this secretive trade agreement will affect countries that together represent more than 40% of the world’s GDP, and a third of all global trade!
In January last year, we published an article explaining the dangers of TPP which, if passed, would be the single largest economic treaty ever! Obama is facing vigorous opposition from his fellow Democrats and his own liberal base, but says he is willing to defy them. Why such urgency to push for ‘fast tracking’? This article sums up the politics of the process – “Fast track means Congress agrees with the president’s negotiating demands before an agreement is struck, and then votes quickly on it once it has, voting yes or no, without any amendments or procedural delays in the legislation making TPP a law in the USA. In other words, if “fast track” passes, whatever the President’s trade negotiators agree on will quickly become law of the land. Corporate America in particular likes “fast track.” It means whatever anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-environment and deals are agreed to at the negotiating table cannot be challenged, amended or reversed by Congress when the vote comes up.” Katrina vanden Heuvel has argued in her article in The Guardian titled ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty will help neither workers nor consumers‘ that ‘the provisions are so shocking that the TPP mandates that the chapter not be declassified until four years after the TPP goes into force or fails to pass’.
So, why the rush to push this treaty?
The global economic slowdown, the upcoming US election which can see a possible change in leadership, the political timing that is favourable to Corporate America as they can’t wait for the global economy to become more unstable, and the economic (and hence military and political) threat to the US from China, are among the top reasons for this sudden urgency. This video explains the TPP in a simple yet effective manner, watch and tell us what you think!