White House Gives Up On Passing The TPP
Note: We have worked to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade agreements for more than five years. We were part of the movement of movements, the largest coalition ever opposing a corporate trade agreement, that stopped it. People told us stopping the TPP was impossible. Even after the election of Trump people still told us we could not win. But, after years of work, the impossible became the inevitable and the TPP is dead.
Even before the election the TPP was near death. Years of activists working to stop it made TPP stand for Toxic Political Poison. First, the movement exposed the TPP which the Obama administration had sought to keep secret while it negotiated a global corporate coup with the aid of hundreds of corporate lawyers, executives and lobbyists. Once exposed, the movement educated people about what it contained. Wikileaks and others leaked portions of the document. As more was exposed it became less popular. The battle over fast track trade promotion authority slowed the progress of the TPP. It took years longer to get fast track than the administration had hoped. One compromise that the administration made was to publish the TPP. Again, the more people saw about the contents, the less popular it became. By delaying fast track the TPP was pushed into an election year and that was a key to our victory.
In the campaign, those running for office were forced to answer to the people. Do you support the TPP? Do you support giving up US sovereignty? Allowing unsafe foods into the country? Forcing GMO’s into global agriculture? Increasing the prices of pharmaceuticals? Making corporations more powerful than governments? And, on and on. The questions keep coming. Every candidate for president had to come out against the TPP. The only one who didn’t was Gary Johnson who did not seem to understand the agreement. He believed the slogan “free” trade when in fact it was corporate trade, crony capitalism on an international scale.
We have been planning an action camp and series of protests next week to kick off the lame duck and stop ratification. This will now turn into a celebration — the people stopped a global corporate coup. We will ensure that the final agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), perhaps the most dangerous of Obama’s three agreements, is also dead. The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) also died as a result of people powered pressure.
Now, we need to put forward a new approach to trade. An approach that protects the people and planet and that is negotiated in a transparent and participatory way. Trade that helps to make the Paris climate agreement a reality, that lifts up international labor standards and protects the environment as well as the food supply, Internet, access to healthcare and more. This is a step toward ending neo-liberalism that has privatized public goods, enriched corporations and created a global wealth divide. Future trade agreements should work toward making the International Declaration of Human Rights and related agreements reality.
This is a tremendous victory that should propel us forward. It shows organized people have power even in the US oligarchy. We need to build on this power, continue our unity as a movement of movements and demand that the people’s agenda becomes the political agenda, not the agenda of big business and the wealthy oligarchs. It is time for people power to rule. We still have a lot of work to do, but we should celebrate this great win. KZ and MF
Celebrate: The TPP Is Finished, the Obama Trade Agenda Ended & Time for Trade that Serves the People and Planet
The Obama administration’s won’t pursue passage of its signature Pacific Rim trade deal, dealing a major blow to President Obama’s legacy.
Any hope of passing the sweeping 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) quickly faded after Donald Trump’s surprise victory on Tuesday and pronouncements by congressional leaders that the pact would not be considered during the lame-duck session.
Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each opposed the agreement during their campaigns, endangering the already slim chances that Congress would cobble together enough support to pass the historic agreement before the end of Obama’s presidency.
The long-shot trade agreement faced widespread Democratic opposition on Capitol Hill and the environment for passing the deal only grew more toxic during the presidential campaigns.
As recently as last week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman expressed optimism that the Obama administration and congressional Republican leaders could reach a deal on the final outstanding issues, including patent protections for high-tech medicines called biologics.
But after Tuesday, the onus shifted to the willingness of Congress to consider the agreement.
“We have worked closely with Congress to resolve outstanding issues and are ready to move forward, but this is a legislative process and it’s up to congressional leaders as to whether and when this moves forward,” said Matt McAlvanah, a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. trade representative, in an email to The Hill.
A White House official acknowledged on Friday the difficultly of pressing Congress to pass the TPP because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this week that “it’s something that he’s going to work with the president-elect to figure out where they go in terms of trade agreements in the future,” according to reports.
Trump has vowed to pull the United States out the TPP and renegotiate the three-nation North American Free Trade Agreement.
Advocates for the TPP pact argue that ditching the deal will compromise the nation’s leadership position in the Asia-Pacific and potentially imperil relationships with key allies while China moves quickly to fill the economic and geopolitical void.
China and seven of the TPP nations are aiming to complete their own trade agreement in the coming months that could further shut out U.S. companies from tariff and other trade benefits in the region.
The TPP nations have lobbied Congress hard to pass the deal, arguing that the United States is needed to maintain balance in the rapidly growing Pacific Rim.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), an outspoken critic of the TPP deal, said that “a strong coalition of members of Congress and labor, environmental, faith and human rights organizations and activists worked diligently to stop this agreement.”
“We will move forward with pushing new rules of the road for future trade agreements, rules that respect organized labor and human rights, protect the environment, ensure food safety, fight currency manipulation and create jobs and grow wages,” she said in a statement on Friday evening.
Still, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune was cautious about the news and argued that Trump’s opposition to the TPP is based on a different set of values than his group holds.
“We can’t take it for granted that TPP is dead yet, and we certainly can’t say that Trump killed it,” Brune said.
“Our fight against the TPP is rooted in respect for worker’s rights around the world, a commitment to climate justice and a dedication to a new model of trade based on our shared values,” he said.
“Sadly, Trump’s opposition to the TPP rejects those values, is rooted in the same xenophobia that dominated his campaign, and is bolstered by no real vision for what comes next,” he said.