Tag Archives: TTP

US faces another debacle on Pacific economic treaty

By Mike Head
April 4, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Having suffered a decisive defeat on its efforts to block other countries from joining the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the US government faces mounting difficulties with its most far-reaching move to dominate the Asia-Pacific region: the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In Hawaii last month, the latest round of five-year-long TPP talks between the 12 governments involved broke up without any further agreement. For the third year in a row, the White House’s deadline for a final deal looks set to be breached in 2015.

Significantly, the main reported stumbling block this time was not ongoing differences between the US and Japan over auto and agricultural markets, but doubts over President Barack Obama’s capacity to get congressional approval to sign off on the pact.

Falsely presented as a “free trade” deal, the TPP is the opposite. It is aimed at creating a vast US-controlled economic bloc. In return for favoured access to the US market, which is still the largest in the world, the TPP requires its members to scrap all legal, regulatory and government impediments to American investment and corporate operations.

The TPP is an essential component of Washington’s military and strategic “pivot” to Asia to establish unchallenged hegemony over the region, including China, which has thus far been excluded from the treaty. The “partnership” seeks to restructure e very aspect of economic and social life across the Asia-Pacific in the interests of Wall Street finance capital and the largest US corporations, particularly the IT, pharmaceutical and media conglomerates.

A similar drive is underway to incorporate the European Union into a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) bloc. Like the TPP, the European treaty is being negotiated amid tight secrecy, with hundreds of the world’s largest corporations taking part, behind the backs of the international working class.

Obama has resorted to blatant anti-Chinese rhetoric in a bid to overcome opposition to aspects of the TPP from sections of the Democratic and Republican congressional leaderships. In one recent interview, the US president declared:

“If we don’t write the rules out there, China’s going to write the rules and the geopolitical implications of China writing the rules for trade almost inevitably means that we will be cut out or we will be deeply disadvantaged. Our businesses will be disadvantaged, our workers will be disadvantaged.”

Washington is concerned that other imperialist powers, such as Germany, Britain and Japan, could strengthen their positions in China, at the expense of the US, unless America “writes the rules” for world trade in the 21st century.

Global financial commentators are drawing attention to what is at stake. Under the headline, “Round two in America’s battle for Asian influence,” David Pilling wrote in the London-based Financial Times on April 1: “Washington’s attempt to lead a boycott of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ended in farce after Britain broke ranks and other nations from Germany to South Korea fell over themselves to join. If round one was a defeat for America, round two hangs in the balance.”

Pilling noted that the TPP’s exclusion of China, on the grounds that its economy was state-owned and centrally planned, was obviously concocted. “In a peculiar display of diplomatic contortion,” he wrote, “Vietnam—a country whose economy is as centrally planned and as rigged as the best of them—is somehow considered fit for entry.”

The Financial Times Asia editor pointedly added that the TPP was “just as likely to annoy America’s allies in region as reassure them,” because of its intrusive demands, which include the dismantling of state-owned enterprises, tendering restrictions, financial regulations, data protection rules and intellectual property laws.

Washington’s aggressive drive to establish the TPP and TTIP economic blocs marks a reversal of its post-World War II role, when the ascendancy of American industry permitted it to champion the reconstruction of its Japanese and European rivals, albeit always for its own benefit, including via the expansion of markets for its exports.

Today, amid the ongoing decline of US industry, its ruling elite depends increasingly on the parasitic activities of Wall Street, the exploitation of patents by Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the drug companies, and contracts for the supply of military hardware. These rapacious interests will most directly benefit from the TPP.

Many details remain secret, but pro-TPP lobbying efforts highlight the anticipated profit bonanzas. Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution think tank stressed advantages such as “internationalisation of financial services, protection of intellectual property and governance of the Internet economy.”

US technology firms would benefit from a ban on requiring companies to house customers’ data within a specific country. “If we’re going to serve the customer of Malaysia from, say, a data center in Singapore, the data has to be able to move back and forth between those two countries,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, told the Wall Street Journal .

Central to the treaty are punitive Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses, which permit transnationals to sue governments for losses allegedly caused by official policy decisions. WikiLeaks last month published a chapter of the TPP treaty showing that firms could bypass a country’s courts to obtain damages for changes in “environmental, health or other regulatory objectives.”

Apart from the US and Japan—the two biggest partners by far—the other TPP participants are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The willingness of many of these countries to make the required concessions to the US has been undermined by Obama’s failure to secure support for a Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill, so that he can sign the TPP and then have it ratified by Congress with a single “yes” or “no” vote. Without TPA, Congress could force amendments to the negotiated pact, effectively rendering the agreement void.

According to a Japan Times report: “Several negotiating partners, including Canada and Japan, have publicly stated they will not put their final negotiating positions on the table until Congress grants TPA for the Obama administration. With a presidential election looming in the United States, further delay creates a real risk of TPP being delayed until 2017.”

Much of the US congressional resistance is bound up with protectionist lobbies, based on national-based industries and their trade unions. In response, the Obama administration is ramping up a campaign that explicitly spells out the expected benefits to corporate America.

On March 30, the White House published letters from former senior economic officials, including 10 ex-commerce secretaries representing every administration, Democratic and Republican, since 1973, urging congressional leaders to give Obama TPA authority.

The commerce secretaries stated: “Once completed, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) will give the United States free trade arrangements with 65 percent of global GDP and give our businesses preferential access to a large base of new potential customers.”

This demand for “preferential access” by US imperialism threatens to fundamentally break up the world economy into the kind of rival blocs that preceded World Wars I and II.

Brussels Rally Denounces Massive Trade Deal That Would Be ‘Hijack of Democracy’

TTIP would put corporate profits above people, critics of the proposed EU-U.S. trade deal say.

By Andrea Germanos
February 5, 2015
Common Dreams, February 4, 2015

 

TTIP protesters in Brussels on Wednesday. (Photo: campact/flickr/cc)

 

Hundreds of people rallied in Brussels on Wednesday, where negotiators are holding their latest round of talks on a proposed EU-U.S. trade deal criticized as a “Trojan treaty” that threatens democracy and puts corporate profits above people.

At issue is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would be the biggest-ever trade deal, and is a proposal that has faced years of opposition over its secrecy as well as possible impacts on issues ranging from food safety to fracking to copyright.

Among those who came from the UK to take part in Wednesday’s action was Derek Hansford, chair of Hastings and District Trades Council, who stated, “Ordinary people from across the UK are traveling to Brussels to make their voices heard. Democracy is about what’s best for everyone, not what’s best for the world’s richest and most powerful corporations. The TTIP deal is a hijack of democracy, and we need to stop it.”

Adding their voices to the demonstration were European organizations including Friends of the Earth Europe, War on Want and Global Justice UK.

Friends of the Earth Europe brought their touring “Trojan horse” to Brussels to urge negotiators to say not to what the environmental group says is a Trojan treaty. Magda Stoczkiewicz, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, stated previously, “Real people power can prevent irreversible damage being done by this Trojan treaty. Our Trojan Horse tour is about standing up for citizens and our right to decide our own laws and putting people and our planet before big business profits.”
Economist Dean Baker has written that the TTIP is not about free trade, as it is touted; rather, he says, it’s “about imposing a regulatory structure to be enforced through an international policing mechanism that likely would not be approved through the normal political processes in each country. The rules that will be put in place as a result of the deal are likely to be more friendly to corporations and less friendly to the environment and consumers than current rules.”

This regulator structure has also met the ire of the deal’s critics.

A statement from over 150 civil society organizations denounces the “regulatory cooperation” part of the deal, calling it “the ultimate tool to prevent or weaken future public interest standards for citizens, workers, consumers, and the environment.” The statement, which was posted at the Corporate Europe Observatory website, reads, in part:

The [European] Commission proposes a system that can only result in further barriers to developing public interest standards as these would need to be ‘trade and investment’ proof. It also gives unprecedented influence to business lobby groups to stop any new regulation that would impact on trade and investment. The proposal strongly prioritizes trade and investment over the public interest. The system would give enormous power to a small group of unelected officials to stop and weaken regulations and standards even before democratically elected bodies, such as parliaments, would have a say over them, thus undermining our democratic system.

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the deal have also been fiercely criticized. A number of far-ranging voices has spoken out against them, so their continued inclusion in the deal, Corporate Europe Observatory states, represents “a blatant disregard for democracy.”

Max Bank from Germany-based watchdog organization LobbyControl added in a statement, “Like Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), regulatory cooperation strengthens big businesses power and threatens democracy on both sides of the Atlantic.”

In an op-ed published Wednesday at the UK’s Guardian, Molly Scott Cato, a professor of green economics at Roehampton University and the Green party’s finance speaker, writes that she has “seen the secrets of the TTIP” and that the protesters are right to be concerned.

We hear much criticism of the “nanny state”, but the world according to TTIP is more like Big Brother Corporation, where individual preferences are swept aside in the onward march of progress and order. It is the disturbing and unsettling worldview that David Korten envisaged in his 1995 book, When Corporations Rule the World. At the time the title seemed rhetorical; outlandish even. It seems considerably less so today.

See more of the day’s action from these tweets:
This video from SumOfUs outlines issues with what the group describes as “the dirtiest trade deal in Europe’s history.”

Mobilized & Winning, Now It’s Time to Escalate

The ‘Movement of Movements’ against Fast Tracking the TPP has the power to win

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers
January 31, 2015
Dissident Voice, January 31, 2015

 

Trans-Pacific Partnership Don't fast-track this dealSince the President’s State of the Union message where he announced his plan to push corporate trade agreements and seek Fast Track trade promotion authority, the movement against Fast Track, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and globalized trade has grown. Instead of the bump in support that Obama expected after the State of the Union, opposition has increased inside Congress and in the grass roots.

Indications are that we are winning, and if we continue to mobilize over the next two months, we will win.

Mobilization

Before the President’s speech there was already a large movement organized from across the political spectrum to oppose Fast Track and stop corporate trade agreements.

When we took action on Capitol Hill this week, we did so as part of a larger campaign to stop Fast Track. The US Trade Rep Michael Froman testified before the House and Senate. It was essential for him to be confronted at these hearings because he has consistently misled the Congress and the people. There are multiple false statements to dissect, but his latest is the claim that Fast Track will give Congress the power to shape the negotiations. This is a laughable lie since the negotiations have been carried on in secret for most of Obama’s Presidency. How can Congress shape negotiations that Froman claims are near completion?

The truth is that Fast Track removes Congress from the equation. It allows the President to sign trade agreements before sending them to Congress for a brief review of thousands of pages of documents; without committee hearings and only brief debate on the floor. Then Congress has an up or down vote with no amendments. Under Fast Track, Congress would be unable to fulfill its responsibilities under the Commerce Clause to regulate trade. It is also a tremendous grant of power to President Obama.

After the President’s speech there was a protest at a town hall of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. Wyden is a key player as the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. He has played both sides of the debate and the movement needs to monitor him closely and hold him accountable. If he cannot reach agreement with Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, then Fast Track is unlikely to pass the Senate. This week Senator Grassley said that currently they don’t have 60 votes in support of Fast Track and therefore it could not pass a filibuster. If Wyden demands that Congress sees the text of the TPP and has true involvement in the negotiations before they are finalized, then he and Hatch will not reach agreement and the Republicans will have to go it alone.

In the House there are even more challenges for Fast Track. Chuck Porcari of the Communication Workers (CWA) writes:

“House Speaker John Boehner has said that the White House needs to deliver at least 50 House Democrats if Fast Track has any hopes of passing, especially now that the White House is trying to whip together 80 Democrats in the House and New Democrat Coalition is trying to cobble together at most 40 votes. . . . According to a story by Inside U.S. Trade, ‘one informed source questioned whether the New Democrats actually have an idea of which lawmakers will provide the 40 ‘yes’ votes they are seeking.’”

When the TPP negotiators met in New York City this week, people showed up to protest the negotiations despite a winter blizzard. The protests were organized by Trade Justice New York and included the Teamsters, 350.org NY, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Fight for the Future, Food and Water Watch, Veterans for Peace, Citizens for Safe Energy, Popular Resistance and a host of other organizations. Despite snow, the crowd was too large to stay in front of the Sheraton and police forced them across the street. After the protest, they marched to protest Senator Chuck Schumer, a member of the Finance Committee and the Democratic Party leadership in the Senate.

In the first week after the President’s speech there were 10,000 phone calls opposing Fast Track made to Congress, according to Arthur Stamoulis of Citizens Trade Campaign. These phone calls will continue to escalate. We urge people to call; go to StopFastTrack.com which will contact your legislator for you and provide you with talking points. Phone calls make a difference when tied to a campaign that includes on-the-ground protests, meetings with congressional representatives and media work. We know that this movement can generate tens of thousands of calls and are confident it will do so again.

NAFTA has changed the Politics of Trade

There are many differences between the debate over trade today and the 1990s era debate over NAFTA. The major difference now is people know that corporate trade agreements favor transnational corporations but undermine people and the environment. At the same time, politicians know they are risking their political careers by supporting corporate trade agreements.

In Trade and Consequences: Dems Forget Political Impact of NAFTA, the author reminds us that:

From the get-go, the pursuit of NAFTA was damaging to Democrats . . .With pro-labor and pro-environment congressional Democrats lined up against business oriented New Democrats in their own caucus and the White House . . . when the elections came around, Clinton’s advocacy of NAFTA seriously hurt the Democrats.

The political fall-out from NAFTA was severe. In 1994 there was a tremendous backlash to the policies of Bill Clinton. The result was a 54-seat swing in membership from Democrats to Republicans. For the first time since 1952, Republicans gained a majority of the House. Democrats have still not recovered from this electoral slaughter. But, Republicans should realize that if they go it alone on Fast Track, the Democrats will reap the political benefit from these trade agreements which always lose jobs, expand the wealth divide and increase trade deficits.

The political winds on corporate trade have been blowing strongly negative in recent years. Obama_civil_libertiesIn a 2008 Gallup Poll, 53% of Americans said that NAFTA had a primarily negative effect on the economy; only 37% said the effect had been positive. As a result President Obama took an anti-NAFTA campaign stance saying “NAFTA and its potential were oversold to the American people” and promised to “fix” the agreement so it “works for American workers.” Obama claimed he would seek renegotiation of NAFTA to include more rigorous labor and environmental stipulations. Now, he is negotiating even worse deals in the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific partnerships.

By December 2012 polling indicated “U.S. public opinion has intensified from broad opposition to overwhelming opposition to NAFTA-style trade deals,” citing

U.S. respondents who believe that the United States should ‘renegotiate’ or “leave” NAFTA outnumbered by nearly 4-to-1 those that say the country should ‘continue to be a member’ (53 vs.15 percent). Support for the ‘leave’ or ‘renegotiate’ positions dominated among Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike.

The 2012 presidential campaign played on these views; spending “an unprecedented $68 million—about $34 million each—in ads attacking more-of-the-same trade policies. Trade-themed presidential ads aired an estimated 83,000 times in 2012, more than twice the number of trade-related airings in 2008.”

Perhaps more importantly for the current debate in Congress, in the 2012 congressional elections, 57% of candidates in competitive races campaigned against trade deals:

Out of more than 125 paid ads used by congressional candidates across 30 U.S. states, only one indicated support for any trade deals modeled on NAFTA. (It was from GOP candidate Linda Lingle, who lost her bid for Hawaii’s Senate seat.) The same was seen in the Senate where ‘candidates who employed ads against status quo trade won seats in Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

And, these views continue through current times as Dave Johnson writes:

The public gets it that our NAFTA-style trade agreements have sucked jobs out of the country. They get it that we need a national plan to restore our manufacturing ecosystem. They get it that we need to invest in maintaining and modernizing our infrastructure.

Even politicians who have supported trade in the past are expressing doubts. The Teamsters reported on Froman’s testimony writing “Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said to Froman, ‘If trade agreements can’t show they’re going to help the middle class…I’ve got some real problems with them.’” And in a theme heard throughout the day: “Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, criticized the TPP talks because members of Congress are severely constrained from reviewing the text. He also grilled Froman on the failure of the S. Korea trade deal to create the jobs promised.”

Huffington Post reports another area of bi-partisan opposition came from “Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Rob Portman (D-Ohio), who pressed Froman on the issue of currency manipulation — an economic strategy in which a nation devalues its own currency in order to attract jobs from abroad without reducing its workers’ standard of living.  Grassley asked Froman twice if currency manipulation had been raised in the TPP talks, without getting an answer.” Even though almost 250 members of this Congress signed letters in the previous Congress saying this issue is critical for their support.

The Movement against Corporate Trade has Grown Deeper, Broader and Stronger

The movement has broadened because the current trade agreements cover much more than trade, impacting every aspect of our lives. Leo Gerard of the US Steelworkers writes:

Supersized trade agreements now intrude on every area of life, from food safety to generic drugs to national sovereignty. They can extend patents that make life-saving drugs unaffordable. They can forbid country-of-origin labeling on food. They can outlaw requirements that American taxpayer-financed road and bridge projects use materials made in America. They can allow multinational corporations to sue governments for damages if a law to protect the public reduces profits. They can commit the United States to pay fines or revise laws if an international tribunal orders it.

Another reason for stronger opposition is the experience with NAFTA and other corporate trade deals. Teamster Mike Dolan writes in a report on how to fight the corporate trade agenda:

The NAFTA and WTO and their progeny have cost the U.S. millions of jobs lost through outsourcing and cheap imports, and it is the definition of insanity to continue the same trade model and expect different outcomes. The new crop of trade talks, these alleged high-end, 21st century agreements, are so big and complex, and intrude on so much of the substantive jurisdiction of law-makers and regulators, that the old-fashioned Fast Track is a completely inappropriate delegation―an abdication even―of Congressional Authority.

The NAFTA impact can be seen in changes in the environmental movement. During NAFTA, Mike Dolan reports seven Big Green environmental groups provided Clinton cover: World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International and Audubon Society. Now the environmental impact is evident and the environmental crisis has worsened. Fresh Greens have taken a more aggressive stand preventing Big Greens from providing Obama cover. Their demand now, echoed by many in Congress, is enforceable environmental standards. The agreements negotiated by Obama have less environmental protection than those negotiated by George W. Bush –leaks show they have no environmental protection.

Dolan also points out that consumers have joined the anti-corporate trade movement because food and water, health care and medicines, data and privacy as well as the future of the Internet are all adversely impacted by these trade deals. He points to mainstream groups like the American Association of Retired Persons, Breast Cancer Action, AllergyKids Foundation and the Alliance for Natural Health U.S.A, the Council for Responsible Genetics, Food Democracy Now and Moms Across America.

The threat to the future of the Internet has brought groups like Fight For the Future into the battle against Fast Track along with Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge and Free Press.

While NAFTA is good for agribusiness, it is not good for traditional farmers. Dolan writes “three great farmer groups, . . . the National Farmers Union (NFU), founded 1902, representing farmers and ranchers in all states; the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), founded 1986, and its 24 constituent grassroots groups in 32 states; and the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy (IATP), the preeminent progressive think-tank at the intersection of globalization and farming” now oppose corporate trade agreements. Similarly, the Organic Consumers Association which has an Internet following of over one million people opposes corporate trade.

Another area of large growth has been faith-based groups. The Vatican has spoken out on trade because of its adverse impact on developing countries, facilitation of corporate tax evasion and exploitation of workers and natural resources.  The Sisters of Mercy oppose corporate trade because of their concerns about immigration, non-violence, anti-racism, women’s rights, and the Earth. Protestant groups opposing NAFTA-like trade include the United Methodists, Presbyterians and the United Church of Christ. The Unitarian Universalists and the Quakers have been long time opponents of corporate trade. And, conservative religious groups oppose the trade agreements because they include countries that are hostile to Christianity.

Of course, a backbone of opposition to corporate trade is labor.  Teamster Mike Dolan lists other key players the “United Auto Workers, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, United Steelworkers of America, the Communication Workers of America,  the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the Union of Needletrades and Industrial Textile Employees, affiliates of Public Services International, including AFSCME and the American Federation of Teachers, Service Employees International Union.”

How We Win

The movement opposed to corporate trade is larger – representing tens of millions of Americans; broader – representing people concerned about food, water, healthcare, the Internet, workers’ rights, the environment, banking regulation and more; and more committed because they have seen degradation of the economy and environment by NAFTA and similar corporate trade agreements.

The key is for this movement to mobilize now. The next two months will decide whether corporate trade is finished for the remainder of President Obama’s term in office. If people take action (go to www.StopFastTrack.com), we will win.

There is also a week of national actions being planned in February during the congressional recess. Take the pledge at www.FlushtheTPP.org to get involved and stay informed.

This is a battle between mass people power and trans-national corporate power. It is a battle the people can win, and it is essential for every issue we care about that we win.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD co-host Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC, co-direct Its Our Economy and are organizers of the Occupation of Washington, DC. Read other articles by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers.

Calling TPP a ‘Death Pact,’ Health Advocates Rally Outside Secretive Trade Talks

It’s a global health issue, says advocate. ‘Countries are trying to fight epidemics and this puts the process over people.’

By Lauren McCauley
January 27, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Protesting the secret trade negotiations taking part behind its doors, activists rallied outside the Times Square Sheraton in New York City on Monday. (Photo: Jason Cone/ Twitter)

 

Braving snow and blizzard warnings, health, labor and environmental activists rallied outside a New York City hotel on Monday where industry leaders met with international trade representatives to commence the “final negotiations” over the secret text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Leading the protest and carrying signs that read “Hands Off Our Medicine,” protesters with health groups Doctors Without Borders and Health Global Access Project (GAP) warned that the TPP will undermine efforts to ensure access to affordable, life-saving medicines in both the United States and abroad.

Roughly one hundred people, including the Teamsters and the Raging Grannies, joined the health activists in chanting “Derail Fast Track,” in reference to the Administration’s push to pass the agreement quickly without Congressional interference.

“The TPP would create a vicious cycle. The provisions currently proposed will allow for fracking and other practices that fuel environmental degradation and make people sick. Strengthened intellectual property rules will then prevent people from accessing life- saving medicines,” said Michael Tikili, national field organizer for Health GAP, in a press statement. “Thirteen million people living with HIV depend on generic AIDS medicines and another 20-plus million are waiting line for treatment. By protecting Pharma’s bloated profits, the Obama administration is undermining its own global AIDS initiative—this isn’t a trade agreement—it’s a death pact.”

“By protecting Pharma’s bloated profits, the Obama administration is undermining its own global AIDS initiative—this isn’t a trade agreement—it’s a death pact.”
—Michael Tikili, Health GAP

As Tikili further explained to Common Dreams, national efforts to end epidemics such as HIV and Hepititis C are being thwarted by the prospective trade laws which would threaten generic manufacturers in countries with patent suits. For instance, Tikili says, the U.S. government says it is “going to war on HIV” while at the same time pushing laws that limit drug production and access in certain countries.

“It is a public health issue, a global health issue,” Tikili said. “Countries are trying to fight epidemics and this really limits that. It puts the process over people.”

Most of the agreement details have been so kept in the shadows that many members of Congress have not seen the text. What little is known has been revealed through leaks.

According to Health GAP, leaked drafts of the TPP revealed that the U.S. is seeking stronger, longer, and more accessible patent monopolies on medicines and new monopolies on drug regulatory data that would prevent marketing of more affordable generic equivalents. The TPP will reportedly also place some of the “most severe intellectual property rules ever demanded in international trade,” including strict price control measures and enhanced investor rights that would permit Big Pharma to sue governments when they expect profits will be undermined by government policy.

After the rally, protesters reportedly marched to the office of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to call on the lawmaker to oppose Fast Track authorization and demand to see the the contents of the agreement.