MICHIGAN COALITION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
STATEMENT ON THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP)
(Info on the rally is below the statement)
The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) joins with 1,500 labor, environmental, faith, and family farm and consumer organizations across the U.S. in opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is not about “the U.S. writing the rules versus China doing so.” The TPP’s rules are all about 500 corporate trade advisers over the past 5 years secretly rewriting the rules of 40% of the world economy for the benefit of trans-national corporations. If approved by the U.S. Congress and the governments of the other 11 participating nations, the TPP will (among other things) –
1. Promote more U.S. job offshoring and further gut the U.S. manufacturing base. U.S. workers would be forced to compete with counterparts in Vietnam (paid less than 65 cents an hour), Malaysia (rampant human trafficking), and other low wage economies. The TPP’s labor standards – modeled on the failed “Labor Action Plan’ accompanying the 2011 Colombia FTA – are grossly inadequate to the task of protecting human rights abroad and jobs here at home.
The TPP contains no enforceable safeguards against currency manipulation. Thus, the often modest tariff cuts achieved under the pact for U.S. exporters could be easily wiped out overnight by countries’ willingness to devalue their currencies in order to gain an unfair trade advantage.
2. Ban “Buy American” and “Buy Local” procurement preferences in many types of government purchasing. Our tax dollars would be offshored rather than being invested at home.
3. Undermine the recently negotiated global climate treaty; the decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and roll back the environmental standards enacted as part of past trade deals. The TPP’s “Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)” system would enable foreign investors to challenge bedrock environmental and public health laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems.
4. Allow exporters to challenge border food safety inspection procedures, jeopardizing food safety. Vietnam and Malaysia, for example, export massive quantities of shrimp and other seafood to the United States, significant amounts of which are currently rejected as unsafe.
5. Delay the introduction of low cost generic medications, allow additional 20-year patents for new uses of drugs already under patent, expand monopoly patent protections for big drug firms – increasing health care prices and reducing access to medicine at home and abroad.
6. Weaken gay and women’s rights by allowing the country of Brunei to remain in the TPP, even after it announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws.
7. Help banks unravel the new rules enacted to regulate Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial products and “too big to fail” safeguards, while empowering foreign banks to “sue” the U.S. government over new financial regulations.
The TPP is just one of three global so-called “free trade” deals which threaten peoples across the globe (the other two: TTIP, TISA). The fate of the TPP will shape the outcome of the other two, all the more reason to ensure that we stop it. Our efforts in Michigan will contribute to the growing movement in opposition not only in the U.S. but in the other 11 nations included in the TPP.
The TPP elevates corporate prerogatives over human rights and democracy in an unprecedented scale, amounting to a corporate “coup-d’état.” We stand with United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard, who describes the TPP as a “prescription for disaster” and vows to vote out any lawmaker who supports it.