January 31, 2016, Mexico – Parliamentarians, academics and civil society organizations from Peru, Canada, the US and Mexico proposed an alliance between legislators and civil society organizations to develop a plan of action in opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP, its acronym in English).
The proposal came from a conversation that took place on January 28 in the Senate of the Republic of Mexico where they discussed the harmful effects of the trade agreement for the rights of individuals and peoples, and that the TPP benefits transnational corporations and global financial capital.
Andres Fontecilla, a Canadian parliamentarian from the Quebec Solidarity Party, proposed an alliance between parliamentarians and social movements in the countries that signed the treaty to undertake various types of action.
Actions include political struggle in the streets with demonstrations; media and educational struggles to convince people to oppose the TPP and create a groundswell of public opinion, pressure on parliament and seeking a legal remedy, challenging the TPP in organizations such as the Court of The Hague and the United Nations, according to a report by Information Regeneration.
Tracey Ramsey, of the parliamentary party New Democracy, urged Canadian parliamentarians in a video message to vote against ratification of the TPP , and warned that the TPP will cause more financial crisis on developing countries by allowing the entry of any kind of investment including speculative capital.
Senator Manuel Bartlett Diaz said national oligarchies associated with international finance capital imposed measures against our people. He cited the energy reform that was promoted by transnational interests and the Mexican government.
The most harmful trade treaty in history
Senator Layda Sansores San Román said that the TPP trade agreement is “the most harmful in history” as it will affect access to medicines due to the restrictions in the field of intellectual property.
Layda said the TPP will deepen the gap between the rich and the poor, will eliminate net neutrality, and will hurt privacy and freedom of expression. It also opens the door to replicate the problems of concentration of broadcast media.
Ana Romero of the Peruvian Network for Globalization with Equity (RED GE) said that in her country society opposes the TPP for its content and the function this trade agreement fulfills.
“In its content , we can say that the TPP promotes and encourages corruption and goes against the regional and Latin American integration that our people seek,” she said.
Romero proposed the design of an international joint strategy involving all countries that will be affected by the TPP to put forth concrete actions that will be accompanied by parliamentary action, as well as to go with an injunction before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Karen Hansen of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in the United States said that in the field both in Mexico and in other countries that will be affected, NAFTA and the TPP “are more of the same” because of their effect on small producers.
Hansen added that another sector that will be impacted is health in terms of drugs , because it will give monopoly power to pharmaceutical companies.
Carlos Figueroa, a representative of the “Chile Coalition Against the TPP”, said that in his country they have not disclosed the real consequences that the strategic agreement will have on health, seed protection and digital rights, and the exercise of control over personal data, persecution and criminalization of information on the Internet.
He said that in countries that will sign the TPP, less than 5% of parliamentarians have read the text and they don’t know the consequences that it implies; “It is a constitution tailored for transnational corporations that will change national laws,” he said.
Natalie Wais, a representative of the Confederation of National Trade Unions of Canada, warned that this treaty will increase the precarious conditions for workers and their wages due to competition between companies.
Wais said that the TPP will increase inequalities and will have an effect on prices of public services by increasing the pressure for privatization and liberalization. “We know how this generates more inequality,” she said.
Finally, Carlos Ventura of the Human Rights Center Fray Francisco de Vitoria, asked the Senate consult society and open wide spaces for discussion before voting on the TPP .
(Translated by Margaret Flowers)