Thousands marched in 17 New Zealand cities yesterday, with nearly 200 taking over the streets in New Plymouth (pop 55,000). The Transpacific Partnership Agreement is another “free” trade agreement like NAFTA and GATT (the treaty that formed the World Trade Organization).
Only this trade deal is being negotiated in total secret. Obama has forced the leaders of 11 other countries to keep the TPPA negotiations secret until it’s signed. Neither Congress nor any members of parliament have seen the text.
What we do know about the TPPA is that it gives immense power to global corporations. If the text is released before the treaty is signed, it will face the same massive public opposition that scuppered the Free Trade of the America Agreement (FTAA). It’s only because Wikileaks has leaked portions of the TPPA that we know anything about it.
Here in New Zealand, we are mainly concerned about provisions in the TPPA allowing private corporations to sue governments if their environmental, labor or health and safety laws interfere with their ability to make a profit. Kiwi activists have worked hard to win regulations guaranteeing minimal environmental, labor and health safety standards. If our prime minister signs the TPPA, some secret corporate tribunal in Geneva could dismantle all these laws.
The 12 countries negotiating the TPPA are the US, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Japan, Chile, Peru, Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei.
You can read about our New Plymouth protest (and watch a video clip) at the Taranaki Daily News site.
Activists in North America will be demonstrating against the TPPA (or TPP as they call it) the entire week.
Protests will be happening in California, Florida, Oregon, Washington DC, Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. To join in – and learn what else you can do (especially if you live in other states) – go to Stop Fast Track Week of Action