To the Editor,
Like bad love, authentic free-trade agreements are short and shallow, addressing only what impedes effective congress. In the seven years of its unseen pupation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership swelled into thousands of pages within which trade is barely mentioned. Its ulterior aim is to concentrate legal rights of the latent special interests that wrote it while leaving consumers effectively unclothed.
If you think an overamped trade agreement will not affect you, consider this. TPP vastly expands the investor-state dispute-settlement system, which awards corporations the right to sue governments with laws – environmental, labour, anything – that might impair their profits. They need not substantiate their claims, which will be heard not in court but in a one-way, closed-door tribunal; only private industry may sue. Governments that resist will be engulfed in lengthy and expensive legal actions while corporate entities profit either way.
Since NAFTA was signed in 1994, Canada has paid U.S. corporations over $200 million for trying to protect its citizens; meanwhile, over $6 billion is pursued in other suits. If all 12 countries involved implement TPP, it will expand investor-state provisions from 20 per cent of the world’s economy to 90 per cent. This will affect you.
Any politician who supports TPP is either dangerously naïve or should be debarred from public service, for it is not the public that he or she serves.