Back to Frontpage [ Visit the old site ] contact@ifp-fip.org
News |

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a corporate grab

This agreement has nothing to do with the countries’ needs or hopes and is masking a corporate led global government. The TPP was written by corporations like Monsanto, the transnational company producer of hybrids, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides with the support of the pharmaceutical industry, auto manufacturers and other corporations according their business interests.

Raul Burbano, program Director at Common Frontiers
Lucia Sepúlveda, Seeds officer for Pesticide Action Network Chile (RAPAL-Chile)

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest trade agreement in history, representing nearly 40 percent of the global economy. The deal negotiated in secret for the past five years includes Canada, Chile, and 10 other Pacific Rim nations. This article presents the arguments of two organisations, one from Canada and the other from Chile, who are against this agreement.

Its supporters hail it as the next-generation trade deal that will bring jobs and economic development but like previous trade deals, the TPP is deeply flawed and will increase restrictions on the ability of governments to regulate in the public interest. The agreement will drive down wages and labour conditions as well as encourage further outsourcing and offshoring, thus contributing to the widening gap of income inequality in Canada, Chile and other TPP countries.

The TPP also includes the anti-democratic investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism that allows multinational corporations to sue governments over regulations and policies they feel impact their investment. Such suits bypass domestic courts and are decided by unaccountable commercial arbitrators. The arbitrators can impose enormous fines against elected governments, and there is no right of appeal. The ISDS threatens democracy constitutional rights, sidesteps and threatens our judicial system, and will cost tax payers tens of millions in awards to corporations suing under ISDS. According to the report of United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, ISDS threatens human rights and should be banned.

This agreement has nothing to do with the countries’ needs or hopes and is masking a corporate led global government. The TPP was written by corporations like Monsanto, the transnational company producer of hybrids, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and pesticides with the support of the pharmaceutical industry, auto manufacturers and other corporations according their business interests. Monsanto is now using the TPP to achieve what it could not get via legislation or the courts, for instance, in Chile.

Years ago, a powerful social movement in Chile arose against the privatization of traditional seed varieties kept by small farmers and Indigenous Peoples. The movement managed to stop the proposed “Monsanto Act” (Plant Variety Rights Law, which is the national version of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants UPOV 91) in 2014. However under the TPP deal, Chile must reinstate the “Monsanto Act”. This threatens food sovereignty because this act prevents farmers and Indigenous Peoples from exercising their ancestral rights to freely exchange seeds. Chile has not carried out consultations on the TPP, which is required under Convention 169 on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. If this agreement is ratified, presidents Bachelet (Chile), Peña Nieto (Mexico) and Humala (Peru), and their respective congresses, will be remembered as those responsible for an unprecedented handover of national sovereignty to corporations. This is why in Chile the strategy to fight the TPP includes social “harassing” Congress representatives to force them to vote against the bill. A national coordination group made up of civil society groups called “Chile is better without TPP” is spreading the news about the reality of the TPP, calling for mass resistance to the deal and building international links in order to collectively defeat this global menace.

Trade deals like the TPP seek to fundamentally change the power structures in countries by shifting power toward transnational corporations and away from democratic governments.

The TPP not only deals with tariff reductions but also weakens the governments’ ability to regulate in the public interest. The ISDS that are imbedded in these deals create a “chilling effect” that penalizes governments for adopting progressive regulations that protect the environment, food security, access to generic medicines or raising the minimum wage.

And, as civil society was not consulted at all while the deal was being negotiated, the ratification process is lacking the most basic democratic principles.