As United States President Barack Obama begins his four-country trip to Asia in an attempt to make progress on the controversial (and faltering) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, the Council of Canadians has joined an international campaign supported by dozens of organizations to shine a light (literally) on the secretive corporate-rights pact.
If concluded, the TPP — an ambitious agreement being pushed by the United States and including Canada and 10 other countries (Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) — would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to South America and the Pacific region, constraining democracy in the interests of multinational corporations.
The TPP’s 29 chapters include a host of anti-democratic measures that would severely restrict government regulation, expand pharmaceutical patents and copyright terms, and severely censor internet use. And it would all be backed up by a “dispute resolution” process simliar to NAFTA’s Chapter 11, which allows corporations to sue governments for environmental, health, and other regulations that get in the way of corporate profits.
Despite the scale of the TPP — the Canadian government calls it “the most ambitious trade initiative” being negotiated in the region, and if signed the TPP would cover 40% of global economic output and 30% of global trade — the negotiations are taking place in secret behind closed doors. While citizens and public interest organizations have to rely on leaks to find out what’s in the TPP, over 600 corporate “advisors” have been given access to the secret text.
With Obama in Asia pushing for progress on the TPP and with the debate in the US raging over whether to grant so-called “fast track” legislation which would allow the TPP to be forced through Congress with little oversight, the Council of Canadians has joined the international Stop the Secrecy campaign being coordinated by our allies at Open Media to bring the message that the TPP negotiations can’t be done in secret, with only negotiators and corporations at the table.
You can also demand that the Harper government to publish the full text of the TPP, and learn more about this dangerous deal on our website.