The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Background:

  • Free trade agreements enshrine corporate profit-making in federal and international law. They elevate the “expectation of profit” to the level of a corporate Bill of Rights. They quash the right of communities affected by corporate practices to make decisions in their own best interest.
  • Under Articles QQ.H.8, QQ.H.7, QQ.H.4 of the leaked “Intellectual Property” TPP chapter, a government can be required to fine or imprison its own citizens on behalf of national or foreign corporations. Citizens are not punished according to the laws and customs of their own nations and jurisdictions, but according to prohibitions and penalties provided in an insiders’ trade agreement.
  • Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions allow foreign corporations to sue governments and obtain taxpayer compensation when local laws, regulations and practices affect the corporation’s “expected future profits.” Taxpayers are sued in a World Bank, World Trade Organization or UN Tribunal that consists of private lawyers who rotate between “Judge” and “Prosecutor” roles for corporate clients.
  • As of November 2014, 87 FTA-style investor-state claims have been filed. Foreign investors have been awarded $430.4 million in 14 of 35 (40%) cases. The currently pending 11 investor-state cases under NAFTA equate to settlements of over $12.4 billion. All 11 pending claims target environmental, energy, land use, public health or transportation policies passed at the national, state, or local level.
  • The TPP protects private profit at the expense of labor and the environment. It elevates the “expectation of profit” over all other principles: environmental protection, labor rights, the general welfare, even the consent of the governed.
  • The TPP has been drafted in secret by executively-appointed “negotiators” and insider “advisory committees” despite international public demands for transparency and representation.

Current Situation:

  • In July, Congress passed a 6-year renewal of “Trade Promotion (fast track) authority,” whereby Congress cedes its constitutional authority to write and amend international agreements submitted by the president.
  • The TPP itself is still being negotiated; pharmaceuticals, dairy, and autos continue to be flashpoints in this “fair” trade agreement as is human trafficking in Malaysia.

Solution:

 

  • The Community Rights Amendment to the Colorado Constitution recognizes each community’s fundamental right of local self-government and its right to regulate or prohibit corporate activities that violate the health, safety and welfare of its c residents, and it elevates those rights over the terms of any free trade agreement such as TPP.
  • By codifying the right of local self-government in the state of Colorado, we will be forcing this issue into the national political arena and laying the foundation for a structure of law that realizes our right to govern in our own best interest.