Holding rally in Grove against a multinational trade deal

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On Thursday, representatives of two countries will meet in a New Zealand casino to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

This multinational trade deal, negotiated in secret, gives multinational corporations immense power. It will have far-reaching, disastrous consequences for labor, consumers, small businesses and the environment.

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Outsourcing is an inevitable outcome of the TPP. Vietnam’s minimum wage is 59 cents an hour. When protective tariffs are eliminated, even more companies will rush overseas. Many of the countries included in this deal have long histories of human rights violations, which merit sanctions rather than rewards.

This deal enables big businesses to bypass constitutional courts, substituting a panel of corporate lawyers (who rotate between representing and adjudicating). This extrajudicial system endangers all of our progressive regulations, from food safety or labeling laws to minimum wage increases to bans on fracking.

The TPP would also hike drug prices and limit access to generic versions, remove banking regulations, restrict Internet freedom and privatize national services. It would also ban “Buy American” policies and other countries’ equivalent laws. Free trade is not fair trade. Far from fostering a “free market,” the TPP creates monopolies and destroys competition.

In protest, I am holding a rally in the Grove at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

We will hear from community members about the deleterious effects of this deal and stand in solidarity against corporate government. Everyone is invited to attend.

Jaz Brisack