Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Trans Pacific Partnership:
The Dictatorship of the Multinationals


 We have known for a while that the Obama administration is morbidly secretive.They think nothing of having their Department Heads appear before Congress to lie blatantly in order to conceal the National Security Agency's telephone surveillance program. They think that Congress and the voters should stay out of government's business.
We should be used to this by now but the latest example of official secretiveness is nevertheless very alarming. Over the last so many months, the Obama administration has been negotiating a treaty known as the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP for short, in complete secrecy. The little anyone else knows about the proposed treaty has been made available by Wikileaks. No one knows what is being negotiated. The situation is so bad that even members of Congress are now demanding that the government inform them about the negotiations.
The TPP agreement is being negotiated — in secret, even from Congress — between representatives of governments and giant, multinational corporations. (Government negotiators are not prevented from seeking lucrative corporate jobs if negotiations are completed in favor of those corporations.) Groups representing the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights or other stakeholders in democracy are not at the negotiating table. And, not surprisingly, it appears that the agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights or other stakeholders in democracy.”(http://ourfuture.org/20130823/congress- public-waking-up-to-tpp-threat?gclid=CMXMl56-xrsCFYEDOgodHkAA-Q)
The government responds to such criticisms by asking for "fast track approval." They want Congress to approve this treaty by a single up or down vote without debate, without the possibility of amendments, without letting American citizens know what is being negotiated and what is being approved and how it will affect our daily lives. Why this open assault on democratic procedures? What are they afraid of?
If this treaty were to be open to discussion and amendment, Congress would have severe hesitations. The treaty turns out not so much to be about free trade in the Asian basin,--Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are the eleven countries participating in negotiations on the TPP with the US-- but about enabling global corporations such as drug companies to make more money than ever at the expense of their customers. It is a treaty between global corporations and their closest friend, the US government.
Here is what little seems to be known about TPP:
The TPP proposes to forbid 'parallel importation.'
An example of “parallel importation,” as described by the World Health Organization, is as follows:
'…in Mozambique 100 units of Bayer’s ciprofloxacin (500mg) costs US$740, but in India Bayer sells the same drug for US$15 (owing to local generic competition). Mozambique can import the product from India without Bayer’s consent…'
Giant US pharmaceutical companies do not approve of impoverished Mozambicans being able to get the drugs at a cheaper price so they have advised the US government to press for new regulations [that would prohibit Mozambique from importing cheaper medications from India] that would increase profits (regardless of whether more Mozambicans die from infections).” (http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/12/09/countries-remain-opposed-to-some-of-more-extreme-us-proposals-in-tpp-negotiations-according-to-wikileaks/)
A recently leaked document showed that the US sees the TPP as a means of extending patent monopolies for its drug companies. Put bluntly, this would increase the cost of medicines for all us, hitting with particular force those who are sick and those who can least afford to be coughing up more cash to pay for vital medications.” (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/06/the-tpp-negotiations-could-be-a-bitter-pill-to-swallow-for-australians)
In the weeks to come we can expect more news about the TPP in spite of the government's efforts to keep the whole thing under wraps. Watch for more information to come out. Be in touch with your representatives to urge them to oppose this massive sellout to global corporations.
The multinational enterprises are planning a serious take-over of democratic government. The Obama administration is happily participating by keeping the whole negotiating process secret.