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Forum Post: Obama’s Free Trade Agreement: Backdoor Deal with Corporate America? By Matthew Kavanagh

Posted 2 years ago on June 14, 2012, 11:41 a.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
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Last week’s State of the Union heralded some of the strongest language yet out of President Obama about the need to reform Wall Street and corporate actions and address income inequality. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” But actions speak louder than words. And this week, in a $500 a night Beverly Hills Hotel, the Obama administration’s U.S. Trade Representative is gathering in secret with negotiators from around the world for a session that could create a whole new set of international trade rules: rules that favor the wealthy 1% of corporate interests. This leaves many of us in the labor, environment, and AIDS activist communities frustrated and confused. That’s why, this week, activists in and around L.A. are holding a series of events to educate and mobilize the push back. Negotiated away of the public spotlight, the Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP for short) would likely be the largest regional free trade agreement the United States has ever seen. Negotiators want new “NAFTA of the Pacific” set of rules for the global economic highway that could eventually include every Pacific Rim nation from Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan to Australia, Canada, Mexico and Russia. And instead of an open, transparent process the text is completely secret to the public while hundreds of corporate lobbyists from the biggest drug companies, job-killing corporations, major global banks, and agribusiness giants have been registered as “advisors” to the process. So what’s at stake? Most of the text is secret, but we’ve had some leaks and we know what certain interests are pushing for. This week in Los Angeles they’re focused on Intellectual Property and later in San Diego they’re tacking other issues. And we know that on the table are plans for: Offshored jobs and lower wages: One of the most crucial issues facing an Asia-Pacific trade pact is the question of labor rights. The Trans-Pacific pact’s labor provisions will play a large role in determining whether job