- Stepping back from details, the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the biggest trade
deal in a generation and part of the same 'new
generation' of trade deals as
TTIP. There are 12 countries involved across the
Pacific Rim, including the USA, Japan, Canada and
- Like TTIP, it goes well beyond
'trade' in the narrow sense – its primary purpose is
to rewrite global economic rules in favour of
capital - and not just for the countries involved.
Other countries already want to come on board. This
is a less democratic version of the World Trade
Organization and affects everyone. So it's a very
big deal. Campaigns against it have been huge and
countries themselves have had serious political
difficulties in getting to this point. So it shows
that there’s a big battle now to stop it from being
- It's also about power and
geopolitics between countries. The US is trying to
curtail China's power and make sure that it’s the US
that sets rules. TPP 'contains' China.
- Of particular worry is the
corporate court system – the Investor State Dispute
Settlement (ISDS) that will lead to a massive
increase in governments being sued by corporations.
Campaigns on TPP means that it looks like the
tobacco sector has been excluded from ISDS, but
that's just a symbol. Corporations would be able to
threaten governments across 40% of global economy
- Big Pharma has played a big role
in pushing for TPP. They’re desperate to extend
monopoly power over drugs by extending patents to US
standards, which would make them unaffordable for
millions of people. It's been beaten back - but
still looks likely to
make things worse in most countries.
- Corporations are also trying to
expand power over the Internet and use of your data
by setting global rules to their advantage. The data
rights movement have been up in arms about it.
- Farming standards – TPP would
make it more difficult for small farmers to stand up
to big agrobusiness as they have to compete
- Despite talk of improving labour
standards, like most trade agreements TPP would send
work to where it can be done cheaper, resulting in a
classic ‘race to the bottom’ and offshoring jobs
- All this has made TPP very
controversial, especially amongst the Democrats. And
that means that there is fertile ground to also sow
the seeds of doubt about TTIP.
But it’s not over and we shouldn’t lose
- TPP needs to go to the US
Congress in coming months. Once they read the actual
text (which has been secret until now) more will
turn against It. They can defeat it - but they can’t
- Both Donald Trump and Bernie
Sanders have voiced their opposition to the deal,
which shows what a political tightrope the deal
would be walking in order to be passed.
- The Canadian elections are coming
up, and the opposition party says it won't feel
bound to sign it.
So it can still be stopped, and the
agreement today will galvanise opposition against it.
While ratification would strengthen the hand of those
pushing for TTIP, failure would threaten it. There’s
still everything to play for!