Congress Debates Globalization & the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Occupy Corporatism
by Susanne Posel

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Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering granting President Obama “fast track” authority to begin negotiating trade deals.

This bi-partisan bill will empower Obama to enter trade talks and make international deals that Congress cannot alter or amend.

This bill would allow the next four years of extended powers to the executive branch.

The fast track would enable the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and secret conferences where promises between the US and 11 other countries will decide the fate of 40% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).

House Representative Sander Levin, head of the House Ways and Means Committee (HWMC) and in opposition to the bill, explained : “The vast majority of Democrats feel that we need to have a much more active, vigorous role for Congress in addressing trade issues, and there needs to be much more transparency and issues like currency have to be addressed.”

Levin said: “We want expanded trade, but we want it shaped so the benefits are spread and accrue to workers. [There is] a strong feeling that as the pace of globalization accelerates, you need a more active shaping of the terms of trade.”

Senators Orrin Hatch and Max Baucus are pushing this accord to make a pathway for the TPP and the president’s agenda for global trade.

Hatch, member of the SFC said: “This legislation will be instrumental to ensuring that our country’s current trade negotiations in Asia and Europe are a success and that these agreements meet the high standards necessary for congressional approval.”

Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) commented : “The TPA [trade promotion authority] legislation we are introducing today will make sure that these trade deals get done, and get done right.”

Congress wants to make sure they are privy to secret trade talks and can view negotiation texts and this bill would give the semblance of sharing information and promoting transparency.

However, this bill outlines the corporate interests over the rights of the people and the strange alliance of alleged enemies by party difference could be pointing to an accord with lawmakers that regional trade talks should be handled with post-sight and not continuous oversight.

Along with the TPP, this bill would pave the way for talks with the European Union regarding the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TATIP).

Baucus said: “It is critical to boosting US exports and creating jobs. And it’s critical to fueling America’s growing economy.”

The TPP is a is a 12-nation initiative to rewrite current rules and regulations governing trade and investments between countries. While more nations can join, this governmental pact is expected to decide the temperament of foreign markets.

Those countries currently signed on are:

• US
• Japan
• Australia
• New Zealand
• Chile
• Peru
• Mexico
• Canada
• Singapore
• Malaysia
• Vietnam
• Brunei

The TPP would inherently place limitations on purchasing American made and/or local goods and services and state government procurement programs.

Under this scheme, financial institutions would be further deregulated which would pose a very real threat to the US economy and those abroad.

One issue of the TPP is whether or not to include tobacco because by its inclusion, trade agreements would take precedence over global health concerns.

It is assumed that by reducing “trade barriers” on tobacco, the consumption rate of this dangerous product would increase which would elevate the risk to more people.

The US Congress has been advised on TPP through reports like the one published by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) that explains that negotiating ministers “have expressed an intent to comprehensively reduce barriers in goods, services and agricultural trade as well as rules and disciplines on a wide range of topics” to astonishing intensities.

A leaked version of the TPP agreement “sent shock waves through Congress because it showed that U.S. negotiators had totally abandoned Obama’s campaign pledges to replace the old NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] trade model and in fact were doubling down and expanding the very Bush-style deal that Obama campaigned against in 2008 to win key swing states.”

With incentive to have more invested overseas, the TPP seeks to replace “free trade” with mandates on shared trading with other countries which would put financial control over global markets in the hands of multi-national corporations.

Wrapped up in the deal is a strong movement toward global hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

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