Since 2007, the United States has been negotiating a corporate-friendly free trade agreement with a host of Pacific nations. But despite the fact that it would be the largest trade agreement since the formation of the World trade organization, the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been kept secret from Congress and the public. Negotiators have only made the draft available to a handful of labor unions and about 600 corporate lobbyists.
Leaked excerpts from the draft agreement, published by the consumer-advocacy group Public Citizen, indicate that the TPP is a “NAFTA on steroids” for the Pacific Rim (participants include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and several other Pacific countries.) The agreement would institute copyright restrictions similar to those of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, overrule domestic environmental and workplace regulations, increase outsourcing of American jobs and more.
Fair trade groups and their allies held worldwide protests during the latest round of TPP negotiations in Auckland in December 2012, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has proposed a bill to increase Congressional oversight of the talks. The online activist network Avaaz hosts a “One Million to Stop the Corporate Death Star” petition, and Public Citizen also provides information and ways to fight back.