March 26, 2015
Wikileaks exposes an unprecedented corporate power grab
Last night Wikileaks released more leaked text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a trade and investment deal being negotiated in secret without Congressional oversight by 600 corporate “advisors”, the Obama Administration, and representatives 11 other Pacific rim nations and which critics have dubbed “NAFTA on steroids”– this time dealing with the “investment” chapter of the agreement.
“With the veil of secrecy ripped back, finally everyone can see for themselves that the TPP would give multinational corporations extraordinary new powers that undermine our sovereignty, expose U.S. taxpayers to billions in new liability and privilege foreign firms operating here with special rights not available to U.S. firms under U.S. law,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, in a press release about the leaked text.
“This leak is a disaster for the corporate lobbyists and administration officials trying to persuade Congress to delegate Fast Track authority to railroad the TPP through Congress.” — Lori Wallach, 3/25/15
Full statement by CWA President Larry Cohen
“The 56 pages of the Investor chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are worse than imagined and must be a wake up call for our nation,” said CWA President Larry Cohen in a press release about the leaked text:
“Amazingly, this chapter is sealed for four years after either adoption or rejection of the TPP. Everything we read and learn makes “Fast Track” authority unimaginable. It’s secrecy on top of secrecy.
The TPP is shaping up to be an exercise in words about citizen rights that are not enforceable versus expanded corporate rights to sue governments for supposed diminishment of corporate profits. Section B of the leaked chapter documents new provisions of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the secret tribunal process that is above national law or courts.
It is ironic that the document demonstrates that the U.S. is leading the push for expanded Investor or corporate rights provisions while Australia is leading the opposition. The center-right Abbott government has forced inclusion of a footnote in the current draft that Investor State Dispute Settlement “does not apply to Australia.”
Current ISDS action by Philip Morris, challenging Australia’s plain packaging cigarette regulations designed to prevent cancer and heart disease, is likely part of the explanation for this footnote. This leaked chapter says as much about the corrosive effects of money and corporate interests in our political system as it does about trade. These 56 pages must be a wake up call for our nation. We must be defenders of democracy first and push aside the special interests of multinational corporations. The nice words in other parts of TPP are more than outmatched by this section placing corporate rights over citizen rights and providing reparations for corporations versus government reports for other complaints.
The case for rejecting “Fast Track” authority for the TPP is now even clearer. “Fast Track” or Trade Promotion Authority is only being considered by the U.S. Every other government is preserving its right to read the text before speeding its adoption. This chapter on Investment compels the U.S. to do the same. CWA will redouble our efforts to participate in the broadest coalition ever to defeat “Fast Track” and the TPP. Our jobs, our living standards, our safety, our environment, our national sovereignty and our very democracy are on the line. We will stand up and fight back for as long as it takes.” — Larry Cohen, 3/26/15
Pictured above is CWA President Larry Cohen.