Trans Pacific Partnership – A Scandalous Agreement to Sell Out the United States


TPP is a trade agreement of goods and services.

It is being negotiated in secrecy because it will likely include some very alarming provisions which affect copyright infringement, abandonment of Buy American provisions, and allow an international tribunal to decide the fate of U.S. rulings concerning foreign companies operating within the United States.

The section that puts a stop to “Buy American” protections will remove protections for American goods and will probably slow job growth in this country for companies that manufacture their products in the United States.

Not all companies would be affected in the same way. Companies situated in the U.S. but offshore most of their manufacturing don’t benefit as much from Buy American policies.

American producers have had preferential treatment in trade agreements since 1933 when the Buy American Act was passed, but under this agreement TPP countries could apply for waivers from “Buy American policies.” [policies which protect consumers and the environment from hazardous materials for instance.]

These waivers could result in U.S. tax dollars going to strengthen other countries’ manufacturing sectors instead of our own – the protections will be gone.

Copyright infringement of intellectual property has its own chapter in the TPP agreement. There is a coalition that wants to employ copyright cops and treat infringers like pirates as in Somalian pirates. Joe Blogger in Oshkosh could find himself being tried by international courts.

One of the TPP papers being leaked on the Internet regards copyright infringement and was put forth by special business interests, possibly Pharmaceuticals, the Motion Picture Industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Manufacturers of America.

They want the following issues included in the TPP –

    • Temporary copies to be placed under copyright protection. Can you imagine what this will do to ingenuity and furtherance of knowledge? They are basically saying that any time you temporarily copy something to read it or replay it, you will be violating copyright law and they want you to pay rent to do it. The Internet would soon become very expensive and out of the realm of the average user’s ability to afford it.
    • Circumvention of digital locks will be prohibited, which helps prevent copyright infringement but it also prevents lawful uses.
    • Copyright books are the author’s lifetime plus 70 years and copyright IP terms are the life of the author plus 50 years, but this group wants it to be longer. This will greatly limit creativity. Think of all the rewrites of Sleeping Beauty and the Wizard of Oz that would never have happened. In time, interest wanes because the interest was based in a historical context. That means most of these good ideas will no longer be used to develop new ideas.
    • Statutory damages will be extended so they will mimic the corrupt U.S. statutory damages which have led to insanely excessive damage awards. This will stifle creative innovation because people will fear lawsuits. Read more: Public Knowledge and New Zealand

Early today, June 13th, another document was leaked by Citizens Trade which reveals Obama’s intent to give tyrannical new powers to multinational corporations.

The latest leak exposes Obama’s advocacy for policies that leave American corporations subject to all domestic laws but foreign corporations within the U.S. would be able to appeal American domestic rulings to an international tribunal which would in turn have the power to overrule our laws and impose sanctions on the U.S.

Members of Congress are outraged by the secrecy. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) has introduced legislation to protest the Obama administration’s outright refusal to share any controversial information with him even though he is the chair of a subcommittee on international trade.

Huff Po today said that House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has published a separate document from the talks on his website out of desperation stemming from the lack of transparency.

Other Senators plan to write to the top trade negotiator, Ron Kirk, demanding disclosure.

So much for the transparent President. The President whose close aides leak top security information to the NY Times for publication, won’t tell us the details of an agreement that could potentially harm business, American workers, and the Internet.

The Obama administration’s version of the TPP is bad for everyone – left, right and everyone in between.

What we have heard so far is not good for environmentalists and unions who want domestic protections enforced. The provisions leaked to date will damage companies that actually do business in America. Supporters of the Constitution will hate these provisions.

TPP codifies the harmful provisions and ignores safety mechanisms. It damages our trading partners since their governments will be forced to adopt provisions that might not be good for them. It subjects our sovereignty and theirs to international courts and governance.

A trade agreement is supposed to be a good thing for American business but it is not in the hands of our President, who is in over his head.