Success!! The TPP (proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal) is dead for now and will not be introduced during the last months of the Obama Administration. The new administration has also confirmed the TPP is dead. The new administration may attempt to renegotiate the TPP to be favorable to the U.S. If that were to occur a thorough review of the draft agreement will be required to assure all of the devastating elements of the "old TPP" have been removed and that any new agreement serves the best interests of American workers and their families.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed trade deal involving the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim Nations comprising 40% of the world's economy. It has been roundly criticized from the left, the right and the center. In Contra Costa County, 4,000 high paying manufacturing jobs, jobs in fiber optics medical equipment, scientific instruments and many other high-paying jobs, have been lost due to trade agreements since NAFTA was enacted in the mid-90s (Public Citizen - Tradewatch.org). This figure does not include the loss of multiplier jobs, which would total 16,000 jobs lost in Contra Costa County over the past 20 years.
If ratified by Congress, the TPP would accelerate the loss of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. according to the USITC study required by Congress. The TPP would also accelerate the race to the bottom world-wide in wages, environmental protections, relax banking regulations, increase the cost of pharmaceuticals, increase the cost of copyrighted materials and would restrict your access to the Internet. The MOST DAMAGING part of the proposed agreement is the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) process which would allow a tribunal of three corporate attorneys with accountability to no-one and acting outside our legal structure to hear and decide on corporate claims of "lost profits" were the U.S. or other countries to pass laws that could be projected to cost these companies money. Want to raise the minimum wage or stop pollution, for example? Not without paying billions in "lost profits" to corporations. The chilling effect alone would freeze our ability to address such issues.
This September 7, 2016 letter from 223 top economists, University professors and attorneys to President Obama clearly states the magnitude of the problem. ISDS is an abandonment of the rule of law in this country, a sell-out of our sovereignty and a massive corporate power grab, as described by the authors. Contra Costa Progressives recommends you be unrelenting in contacting your Congressional Delegation to demand the TPP be voted down. The Lameduck Session in Congress between Nov 2016-Jan 2017 could see an under-the-table effort to pass the TPP. A direct way to message your representatives is to go to www.commoncause.org and select "Find Your Lawmakers" at the very top of the page.
The TPP is only one of several world-wide democracy and climate killing trade agreements currently under negotiation as described in this article on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and CETA.
Trade agreements are not bad in themselves. There are models for good agreements. Unfortunately, multi-national corporations have seized on this mechanism in recent years to maximize their power and control. Trade agreements have become the corporate weapon of choice to enact a drastic slashing of regulations, avoidance of taxes and reduction of "input costs" i.e. the wages of millions around the world and in the U.S. Make no mistake, what is being currently written into trade agreements goes considerably beyond reducing tariffs and other barriers to trade (most of these barriers have already been lifted). Only 6 of the 30 chapters of the TPP deal with trade. Unchecked, we can only expect continued erosion of democracy, sovereignty, a fair playing field economically - which is the expectation that working hard will allow you to get ahead - and negation of our ability as a democracy to determine protections to make our world livable. That debate should be in the public arena through our political system, not negotiated in secret behind closed doors.