September 13, 2012

Trans-Pacific Partnership is NAFTA on steroids

Letter to the Editor

I looked into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (article, Sept. 5) and see a real monster. Launched by the previous administration with the help of 600 mega-companies, planning for this NAFTA-on-steroids pact has been surrounded by secrecy from both the public and Congress.

Even Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the chairman of the congressional committee with oversight of these deals, has been denied access to the proposals. Why? Well, only two of TPP's 26 chapters have to do with actual trade. Most are devoted to new corporate privileges and rigid constraints on governments' regulations and consumer protections in the areas of drug monopolies, shipping jobs overseas, natural resources, financial "services," land use, food and product safety, energy and tax policies, Internet freedom, and invasions of domestic policy.

Corporations and investors will rise to equal status with sovereign countries, and disputes will be settled in closed-door foreign tribunals. A leveling of policies will ensue so that we're just like Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Peru and other members.

Notice how past "free trade" deals have edged us toward a Third World economy? The TPP will hugely advance a global corporate take-over of our national prerogatives and natural choices.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office would like to get this done before the election. I believe it wouldn't have a chance if people knew what's in it.

Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, is right to point out big problems with the TPP, and he deserves kudos for his support for Maine's -- and America's -- last sports shoe manufacturer left standing.

The fact that McCabe's presence at the Virginia TPP meeting on Sunday was upgraded to delivering a presentation is encouraging for Maine jobs.

James Murphy

Starks

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