Currently, 12 countries, including the United States, are negotiating a new trade agreement. This deal has been talked about in the news recently, but really the negotiations have been going on for five years. Only now, they are saying the deal is almost ready to be signed. The only problem is that no one, not even congress, has seen a draft of this deal while the negotiations were being made. Well, no one besides over 600 major corporations.
Now, bits and pieces are available and the deal is not what they say it is. They are trying to pass this deal, calling it the Trans-Pacific Partnership or, the free trade deal.
When most people hear the word “free” associated with anything, they are almost automatically on board. In our capitalist nation, money is everything, so pairing “free” with “trade” is a perfect ploy to gain the public’s support.
The catch is the TPP is not actually about free trade. In fact, only five of the 29 chapters of the deal actually have something to do with trade. The rest would create sanctions on other things like food safety, job off-shoring, medical costs, and even Internet regulations. And it’s not just for big name corporations; all domestic businesses and policies would be forced to comply with the TPP.
So, what does that mean for us? Well, for starters, our food regulations would change, and not in a good way. Companies would be required to have less labeling on their products, and we would be forced to accept items like meat from other countries that do not have proper regulations for their processing. With no regulations on quality and no labels to tell us anything about the products, who knows what we would be ingesting?
Another huge change would be our access to lifesaving medications. The TPP deal would make it easier for large pharmaceutical companies to create monopolies on medications, giving them the power to jack up prices and deny the public cheaper generics. They would even have the power to deny people of low income drugs for things like cancer, HIV/AIDS and more. Currently, the U.S. federal and state governments provide assistance to the public to lessen the costs of essential medications through programs like Medicare, Medicaid, veterans services, and more. If the TPP is signed, the government would have no power whatsoever to lessen these costs for anyone. In fact, the government would have no power when it comes to pharmaceuticals at all.
Finally, the TPP would have major impact on one thing we all know and love: the Internet. Internet service providers would be mandated to monitor all user content under this new deal, which means you. Along with this monitoring, they would have the power to pick and choose what you see, take things down, and even fine people for taking images off Google. Sharing a funny picture on Facebook or Instagram could mean some major bucks going to the big corporations and, even things like closed captioning on videos may become prohibited because of the TPP.
These examples might seem scary, but they should be. There’s many more where they came from, affecting things like jobs, finances, the environment, and unions all in the United States. Why should we care now? Well, the Obama administration wants to sign on this deal by the end of his term, which is approaching quickly. With all these fines and increased costs, how is this a “free-trade” deal that would do anything but help our country and economy?
Alexa Story is a Staff Writer for The Spectator.