Chomsky: Obama Trade Deal A 'Neoliberal Assault' To Further
January 13, 2014 "Information
Clearing House - "Huffington
Post" - The Obama administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership
trade deal is an "assault," on working people intended to
further corporate "domination," according to author and activist
“It’s designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to
maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in
the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages
to increase insecurity,” Chomsky said during an interview with
The Obama administration has been negotiating the TPP pact with
11 other Pacific nations for years. While the deal has not been
finalized and much of it has been classified, American corporate
interest groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have
already voiced strong support for the TPP, describing it as a
free trade deal. But labor unions and a host of traditionally
liberal interest groups, including environmentalists and public
health advocates, have criticized the deal.
Chomsky argues that much of the negotiations concern issues
outside of what many consider trade, and are focused instead on
limiting the activities governments can regulate, imposing new
intellectual property standards abroad and boosting corporate
“It’s called free trade, but that’s just a joke," Chomsky said.
"These are extreme, highly protectionist measures designed to
undermine freedom of trade. In fact, much of what's leaked about
the TPP indicates that it's not about trade at all, it’s about
The Obama administration is treating the precise terms of the
deal as classified information, blocking many Congressional
staffers from viewing the negotiation texts and limiting the
information available to members of Congress themselves. The
deal's only publicly available negotiation documents have come
to light through document leaks. Recent documents have been
published by WikiLeaks and HuffPost.
According to these leaked documents, the TPP would empower
corporations to directly challenge laws and regulations set by
foreign nations before an international tribunal. The tribunal
would be given the authority to not only overrule that nation's
legal standards but also impose economic penalties on it. Under
World Trade Organization treaties, corporations must convince a
sovereign nation to bring trade cases before an international
court. Chomsky said the deal is an escalation of neoliberal
political goals previously advanced by the WTO and the North
American Free Trade Agreement.
"It's very hard to make anything of the TPP because it's been
kept very secret," Chomsky told HuffPost Live. "A half-secret, I
should say. It's not secret from the hundreds of corporate
lawyers and lobbyists who are writing the legislation. To them,
it's perfectly public. They're, in fact, writing it. It's being
kept secret from the population. Which of course raises obvious
Several members of Congress, including Obama's fellow Democrats,
have attacked the intense secrecy surrounding the talks. But
others want to give the TPP the "fast track" to passage; Sens.
Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced
legislation on Thursday that would prevent members of Congress
from offering legislative amendments to whatever final trade
deal Obama reaches.
But the move to fast track the TPP hit headwinds in the House,
where no Democrat has agreed to co-sponsor the legislation.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the fast track bill cannot
pass without Democratic support.
Chomsky quipped that of course the administration and lawmakers
would want to speed up a sweeping trade deal that may be more in
the interest of corporations than the public.
“It’s very understandable that it should be kept secret from the
public," Chomsky said, "why should people know what’s happening
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