TPP Talks Struggle, Protests Increase, More Protests Planned

TPP Talks Struggle, Protests Increase, More Protests Planned

Above: Photo from Teamsters of the protest in Atlanta against the TPP on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

Supporters and individual patients living with cancer protest outside the hotel where the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial Meetings are being held in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept 30, 2015. Protesters claimed that the TPP trade pact that is being negotiated this week should not expand to drug monopolies that deny people life-saving and less expensive alternative drugs. Source: Reuters

Supporters and individual patients living with cancer protest outside the hotel where the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial Meetings are being held in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept 30, 2015. Protesters claimed that the TPP trade pact that is being negotiated this week should not expand to drug monopolies that deny people life-saving and less expensive alternative drugs. Source: Reuters

Atlanta, GA – On Thursday night, October 1, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiators planned to hold a press conference announcing the success of their current meetings. But, there was no press conference. There was no agreement. Instead, the same issues on which there is no reported movement — trade in auto parts, patents on biological drugs and the dairy trade — keep being stumbling blocks. A new one was added today — whether tobacco should be exempted from the trade tribunal process. The talks are being extended, maybe into the weekend.

Some countries, Australia and New Zealand, have said the US is the problem as it is not negotiating fairly. But, at the same time Obama is being told by the big four in Congress, Rep. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Rep. Sander Levin (R-MI), that he better not bring back a bad deal because Congress will not support it. We can’t see how the TPP can be anything but a bad deal. It is going to undermine jobs at home, lower wages, increase the wealth divide, increase the trade deficit, undermine democracy, weaken the federal court system and undermine sovereignty at every level of government.

TPP Cancer patient arrested Atlanta 9-31-15

Zahara Heckscher being arrested protesting TPP drug rules, September 30, 2015.

And, people now realize that the reason Speaker John Boehner was forced to resign is because of fast track and that without Boehner as speaker it is unlikely TPP will pass the House. The revolt against Boehner was because of how he pressured the Republican Caucus to give President Obama fast track trade authority. Boehner twisted arms before the vote pushing about 30 Republicans who opposed fast track to vote for it and after the vote he punished those who opposed him. The Caucus revolted and some of those decisions had to be reversed. Members of the Caucus started to call for his replacement and rather than fight that battle Boehner resigned. Will the next speaker make passing the TPP a priority? Will he risk his career for Obama’s top priority? We doubt it and conservates we worked with on fast track tell us they would be very surprised to see TPP pass the House.

So, not only does the TPP have problems reaching agreement by the negotiators but it is becoming evident it will have serious problems in Congress as well.

And, while all this is going on, protests are mounting. Below are tweets from October 1st showing the protests. People marched — shutting down Peachtree Street, they rallied, they went inside the hotel. Yesterday there was a cancer patient arrested protesting the “death clause” of the TPP that will make it hard to get necessary medicines.

Maybe negotiators will turn it around but right now, it looks like the TPP is a mess.

We are organizing a major convergence in Washington, DC this November 14 to 18. We will have a training over the weekend and then three days of action. This could be a historic moment where the TPP is defeated by people power. And, people are organizing protests in their home districts in October 10 to 17 in conjunction with protests in Europe, see Trade4People.org, and with March Against Monsanto food justice actions in DC and the People’s Climate Movement march across the country.