November 19, 2015
The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement should not only be judged, as the PD (“Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement should be judged on its overall benefit to the U.S. economy,” Forum, Nov. 15) asserts, “on its overall benefit to the U.S. economy,” but also on its overall benefit to U.S. democracy.
While claims of U.S. economic benefit are debatably overstated (as it was with NAFTA), there is no dispute the TPP would be an assault on what’s left of our democratic republic. Only five of the misnamed “trade” agreement’s chapters addresses trade concerns. The remaining 25 chapters establish international rules concerning food, health, banking, the environment, the internet and many other issues.
The TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement provisions would enable corporations from any of the 11 participating countries to challenge environmental and public health laws, regulations and court decisions in corporate-controlled international tribunals that circumvent the U.S. and any other country’s judicial system. The single criteria of these tribunals is whether the existing law, regulation or court decision threatens future corporate profits.
How exactly does this benefit our country? How precisely does it advance the lives of people here and everywhere when corporations hijack the basic right of self-governance?
Don’t be misled. The TPP isn’t primarily about trade, be it free or fair. It’s about expanding corporate governance.
Coleridge is Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee.