In mid-2014 Thurston Community Television (TCTV, www.tctv.net) was replacing its production equipment, so we repeated the great interview about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which we had aired in November 2013. It was still relevant in 2014, so we aired it for our September 2014 program. Public pressure had slowed down the TPP, but we had not yet stopped it. “Free Trade” scams continue to be promoted by the U.S. government and big business.
To watch this informative 1-hour interview, click HERE.
Here is some brief information about this TV program:
For decades now, presidents and Congresses of both big political parties have been pushing for “free trade” schemes that promise jobs and prosperity, but have produced the opposite.
For example, Bill Clinton – who ran as a Democrat – pushed NAFTA and the expansion of the WTO. Barack Obama pushed three of Bush’s bilateral “free trade” schemes (with South Korea, Panama and Colombia) through Congress, and is pushing a vastly more sweeping and reckless Bush-initiated multi-lateral scheme for a “free trade” market linking many Pacific rim nations. This is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Obama’s Trade Representative and foreign corporations are negotiating in secret and want to spring onto Congress without the opportunity for Congress to amend or adequately debate.
Mainstream politicians and mainstream news media assume that these “free trade” schemes are good, and fail to adequately consider the other side. This month’s TV program does consider the other side. We need truly fair trade, instead of so-called “free” trade.
Our guest is Kristen Beifus, Executive Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, which is based in Seattle. Kristen and her organization – and many other people and organizations – are work-ing hard to protect our jobs, our environment, and our democracy from giant corporations that would use a dangerous new “free trade” scheme to gain power and money at the expense of the broad public interest.
To help the American people can consider the pros and cons of “free trade,” Kristen and Glen first discuss the concept of “free markets.” Mainstream politicians and news media keep assuming that a “free market” is the best way to handle any problem. A decent society limits the “free market” so people cannot sell their children or buy slaves. Indeed, big business lobbies our government for many kinds of tax loopholes and subsidies that subvert the “free market.”
We also briefly discuss the mania for “privatization” and “corporate personhood,” both of which abuse the broad public interest.
For several decades national governments have been passing “free trade” schemes such as the World Trade Organization (the WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Kris-ten explains the “free trade” concepts underlying them, and some interesting methods and examples of how the WTO and NAFTA actually operate. NAFTA has been terribly destructive of American jobs, and has hurt millions of ordinary people in Canada and Mexico too. The Bush-Obama Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be much, much worse!
TPP includes 12 countries (the three NAFTA countries plus Chile and Peru in South America plus several Asian and island countries. Other Pacific Rim countries – even China – could join later.
“Free Trade” agreements allow foreign corporations to sue any participating government (federal, state or local) and to overturn any of its laws that are deemed to interfere with “free trade.” These include laws protecting workers, consumers or the environment.
They also allow foreign corporations to sue to force those countries’ taxpayers to pay the foreign corporations for profits they could have made if they were allowed to invest without the laws that protect workers, consumers or the environment. Such lawsuits under NAFTA and WTO have already occurred.
Disputes would be decided by arbitration “courts” that are not really courts. These are heavily oriented toward corporations but use taxpayer dollars and do not have due process. The arbitrators often are high-up people from giant multi-national corporations who would have severe conflicts of interest.
Much more information is posted at the link at the top of this brief summary.
Our TV program’s guest, Kristen Beifus, is the Executive Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, which includes 66 organizations (labor, faith-based, environmental, etc.). Some other organizations also are working to stop TPP. Information sources include:
• Washington Fair Trade Coalition (206) 227-3079 www.washingtonfairtrade.org
• Global Trade Watch www.globaltradewatch.org
• Citizens Trade Campaign www.citizenstrade.org
• Flush the TPP www.flushthetpp.org