Oppose fast-tracking the TPP

By From page A10 | December 11, 2013

Are you aware of the hush-hush Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, secret trade agreements being crafted by 12 nations including the United States? Corporations interested in the bottom line are crafting it. Some call it NAFTA on steroids. And it will touch many areas in your life.

If our Congress passes the agreements via fast track, they will gut environmental, food safety and climate protections, curtail Internet freedom and inhibit access to medicines by extending monopoly drug patents for big pharmaceuticals. In addition to trade issues, the TPP would set policies to which our local city council, our state and our federal government would be required to conform.

Why are the media so silent on this issue? Until Wikileaks released some documents, not even our congressional representatives knew what was in the negotiations. But 600 corporate advisers have access to the text. And if passed, judges will be from the corporations.

In early 2012, Obama indicated he wanted fast-track authority for the TPP. That means that the administration-authored bill for TPP would be presented with minimal debate and no amendments and take no more than 90 days. Thanks to grassroots activists, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and George Miller, D-Calif., wrote a letter opposing fast-track procedures and 151 Democrats in the House of Representatives have signed it.

The last informal round of TPP negotiations took place Nov. 19 in Salt Lake City and in Singapore on Dec. 7.

If TPP passes, we can expect corporate lawsuits against governments. Right now Phillip Morris is suing Australia for lost profits because the government took action to reduce teenage smoking. Canada is trying to keep drugs affordable, so Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company, is suing the government.

We elect our Congress to make decisions after debate and with transparency. Please write your representatives and your president today to say no on fast track and no on TPP. Call House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi to speak out to stop this.

Jean Jackman

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