Trade for the people, not for corporate elites!
Posted on 7 October 2016
A Call to Action to Stop RCEP, TPP, TTIP, and CETA!
The world’s people have long been subject to ever-worsening poverty and injustice – from the erosion of labor protection measures across the globe, the continued privatization of key sectors of the economy, to the rampant dispossession and displacement of peasants, farmers and indigenous communities from their lands. The unrelenting depression of the global economy has pushed millions of workers to leave their home country in pursuit of greener pasture elsewhere; women continue to suffer miserable wages, landlessness, and hunger atop of discrimination and violence as the world’s youth are perpetually deprived of free and accessible education and decent employment. But the worst is still yet to come.
The dire conditions of the world’s poor and marginalized are all set to intensify once the torrent of mega-regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) become finalized and enforced across different regions of the globe. The consecutive failures of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the past years have prompted a renewed focus on bilateral and regional FTAs revealing no less than a system in chronic crisis. In a desperate bid to salvage itself from this crisis, monopoly capital is now turning to mega-FTAs such as the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accounting roughly up to 38% and 40% of the global economy, respectively. In Europe, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU represents 19% of the world’s economic pie while the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will cover almost half of the global GDP. In Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific, numerous EU-led Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) continue to rise.
The depth and range of these trade pacts is striking – covering more than just trade, undercutting worker rights, dismantling labor, environmental, health, and financial laws while boosting corporate profit and control. These facts show how rich industrialized countries and global corporate elites are dividing the world across politico-economic lines while unveiling the insatiable hunger of corporations to amass more profit, and consolidate transnational corporate control over labor and natural resources.
Governments negotiate these trade deals in behalf of corporate and elite interests in their countries. As such, these trade deals favor TNCs from the most powerful and wealthy countries – including an investment clause that allows corporations to sue governments for laws and policies that are perceived harmful to corporate profits. Previously signed mega-regional FTAs such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) blatantly favored investor interests to the extent that corporations easily challenged laws that were meant to protect public welfare and interest, including providing a living wage, implementing agrarian reform, ensuring health and safety of the public from hazards, sound environmental policies, and so on.
Past treaties have also forced workers to compete for what remains of desperate and low-wage labor around the world. In 1994, when the NAFTA was signed between Canada, United States and Mexico, economists and US officials predicted the generation of hundreds of thousands of jobs due to a supposed growth