Tags: vanden Heuvel | TPP | trade | consumer

Nation's vanden Heuvel: Proposed Trade Pact Is Rigged Against US Consumers, Too Secretive

By    |   Thursday, 02 April 2015 07:40 AM

The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, a trade pact with 12 nations that President Obama is pushing for passage of, is actually stacked against American consumers and workers in order to benefit big corporations, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.

In a blistering guest opinion column for The Washington Post, vanden Heuvel criticized the secrecy of U.S. trade negotiations and said trade policy is dominated by large companies.

"They, not workers or consumers, write the rules," she wrote.

Vanden Heuvel said a substantial portion of U.S. trade is now dominated by talks between various multinationals.

"Multinationals have different interests than national companies. They profit even if U.S. workers suffer. Increasingly, companies choose to report their profits or ship their jobs to countries with the lowest standards where the legal position of companies is the strongest."

As evidence, she claimed Wal-Mart has set up global distribution systems to hold down worker wages while forcing its own employees to rely on taxpayer subsidies like Medicaid or food stamps.

"One product of the corporate-defined trade rules is that the United States has run unprecedented trade deficits, totaling more than $8 trillion since 2000 alone. Trade deficits cost jobs. Worse, companies have used the threat to move jobs abroad to drive down wages here at home."

According to vanden Heuvel, the TPP negotiations have been mostly about guaranteeing protections and regulations for corporate interests.

"How do trade treaties that undermine workers, cost jobs and create a private, corporate global arbitration system get through Congress? The answer, of course, is the corporate lobby that writes the rules mobilizes big money and armies of lobbyists to drive them through," she wrote.

"So remember, when the president argues that it is vital that 'we' write the rules, 'we' means not the American people, but corporate and financial interests," she said of federal trade policy.

The proposed TPP pact would permit foreign corporations to sue the U.S. for actions that undermine their investment "expectations" and harm their business interests, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said companies and investors would be empowered to fight U.S. laws and court rulings down to the federal, state and local levels in tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

The Times said it obtained a classified draft of one chapter of the accord, which it said was not due to be declassified until four years after the TPP is either approved or not. The Times described the proposed treaty as a "cornerstone" of Obama's economic agenda.

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The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty is actually stacked against American consumers and workers in order to benefit big corporations, according to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation.
vanden Heuvel, TPP, trade, consumer
Thursday, 02 April 2015 07:40 AM
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