TPP Threatens American Jobs and Freedoms

 

Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Trade” Agreement Threatens U.S. Businesses, U.S. Sovereignty and States Rights


“This new trade agreement will place domestic U.S. firms that do not do business overseas at a competitive disadvantage. Foreign firms under this trade pact could conceivably appeal federal regulatory and court rulings against them to an international tribunal with the apparent authority to overrule our sovereignty. If foreign companies want to do business in America, they should have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Obama is negotiating a trade pact that would constitute a judicial authority higher than even the U.S. Supreme Court that could overrule federal court rulings applying U.S. law to foreign companies. That is unconstitutional. The U.S. cannot be allowed to enter a treaty that would abrogate our Constitution.”

– Bill Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government

 

“The question for the United States' sovereignty, which is all that I really care about, is whether we maintain our constitutional structure of government, whether we decide questions that affect us, or whether we lose our autonomy and our popular sovereignty in a web of international agreements and organizations. That's what the key political debate is about in this country. It's why people dissatisfied with legislative results go outside of our system and try and get international agreements to regulate domestic issues.” -John Bolton

 

How TPP Undermines Our Sovereignty and Democracy

TPP is an expansive system of enforceable global government that the Obama administration is negotiating with ten Pacific Rim nations: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and communist Vietnam. It is misleadingly called a “trade agreement.” But only two of its 26 chapters actually cover trade issues, like cutting border taxes (“tariffs”) or lifting quotas that limit consumer choice. In reality, most of the deal would impose one-size-fits all international rules to which U.S. federal, state and local law must be conformed. This includes limits on the U.S. government’s right to regulate foreign investors operating here or control our natural resources and land use. TPP also would provide preferential treatment to foreign banks and other firms operating here. The pact would subject the U.S. to the jurisdiction of two systems of foreign tribunals, including World Bank and United Nations tribunals. These foreign tribunals would be empowered to order payment of U.S. tax dollars to foreign firms if U.S. laws undermined the foreign firms’ new special TPP privileges.

 

TPP Gives Foreign Companies Unfair Advantage Over American Businesses

TPP would exempt foreign companies from EPA and other onerous regulations that American firms would still be forced to comply with.  Under TPP, foreign companies could actually go to an international tribunal and sue American taxpayers for cash awards to compensate them for costs associated with government regulations – something American-owned companies cannot and would not be able to do.

 

TPP Rewards Crony Capitalists who have Insider Connections

President Obama says that his NAFTA-on-steroids agreement with Asia is about increasing exports for U.S. firms. But if that were the real purpose, the pact would require one sentence: “tariffs on trade between the U.S. and all other TPP countries shall be immediately eliminated.” Instead, the agreement's 1,000 pages of rules and regulations, written by corporate lobbyists and bureaucrats behind closed doors, will give special advantages and privileges to politically connected crony capitalists.

 

TPP is Threat to States Rights

The agreement undermines the critical checks and balances and freedoms established by the U.S. Constitution, which reserves many rights to the people or state governments. Obama’s agreement would obligate the federal government to force U.S. states to conform state laws to 1000 pages of rules, regulations and constraints unrelated to trade - from land use to whether foreign firms operating in a state can be required to meet the same laws as domestic firms.

 

The U.S. federal government would be required to use all possible means – including law suits, and cutting off federal funds for states – to force states to comply with TPP rules. Says who? Already a foreign tribunal related to the World Trade Organization has issued a ruling explicitly stating that such tactics must be employed against U.S. states or the U.S. would face indefinite trade sanctions until state laws were brought into compliance.

 

TPP bans Buy American

Americans were outraged to learn that U.S. tax dollars in the stimulus package were spent on wind turbines and other goods made in China. Our tax dollars should be spent on goods Made in America. But the Obama administration’s TPP explicitly forbids this common sense policy – both Buy American and state-level Buy Local programs would be banned. Why should ANY trade agreement have any role in deciding how U.S. tax dollars should be spent?

 

TPP says U.S. Must Submit to Foreign Tribunals

Obama’s agreement also empowers foreign investors to sue the U.S. government before UN and World Bank tribunals to demand compensation from U.S. taxpayers for violations of the new privileges the agreement grants them. Those privileges include an absolute right to acquire U.S. land and firms and to operate within the U.S. not under our laws, but under the agreement’s rules. There are more than 700 establishments from TPP nations now operating in our country that would newly be empowered to skirt our courts and drag the U.S. before UN and World Bank tribunals if Obama’s TPP were completed. This outrage was a key concern of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the bipartisan association of state legislators. NCSL opposes these extra-judicial tribunals and their rights to raid our Treasury for payment to foreign corporations.  

 

TPP: UN and World Bank Tribunals Replace U.S. Courts

Obama’s proposed TPP “Investment” chapter would submit the U.S. to the jurisdiction of international tribunals established under the auspices of the United Nations or World Bank. It would shift decisions over the payment of U.S. tax dollars away from Congress and outside of the Constitutionally-established Article III federal court system (or even U.S. state system) to the authority of international tribunals. These UN and World Bank tribunals do not apply U.S. law, but rather international law set in the agreement. These international tribunals judge whether foreign investors operating within the U.S. are being provided the proper property rights protections.

The standard for property rights protection that is the basis for the award of U.S. tax dollars is not those established by the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court, but rather international property rights standards, as interpreted by an international tribunal.


TPP Gives Foreign Firms Greater Rights than the U.S. Constitution gives U.S. Citizens and Businesses

Obama’s TPP deal would empower foreign investors to use foreign tribunals to enforce special privileges only available to them. Similar language in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) led the Conference of State Supreme Court Chief Justices, the National Association of State Attorneys General and the National Conference of State Legislators to write Congress expressing concern about the expansion of this unacceptable attack on U.S. property rights standards.


TPP Cedes a Quarter of all U.S. Land to Foreign Control 

TPP would surrender control of 544 million acres of public land - a quarter of the entire U.S. land area - to international authorities. The proposed TPP deal would subject to the foreign tribunals’ judgment all contracts between the U.S. federal government and investors from TPP nations – including  subsidiaries of Chinese firms -  “with respect to natural resources that a national authority controls, such as for their exploration, extraction, refining, transportation, distribution, or sale; to supply services to the public on behalf of the Party, such as power generation or distribution, water treatment or distribution, or telecommunications; or to undertake infrastructure projects, such as the construction of roads, bridges, canals, dams, or pipelines, that are not for the exclusive or predominant use and benefit of the government.”

 This means that when foreign companies obtain mining, logging or other concessions, run a power plant or obtain a government construction contract on U.S. federal lands - which constitute a quarter of the entire land area of the U.S. - they would be able to take their disputes with the U.S. government to the UN and World Bank tribunals while U.S. companies with identical contracts would go before domestic courts. This not only creates an unacceptable double standard, it cedes control of federal lands to international tribunals.

TPP Stangles Internet Privacy and Free Speech

Obama’s TPP rewrites the global rules of the Internet to protect Hollywood’s power brokers and gag the rest of us. If you liked SOPA, PIPA and ACTA, you’ll love TPP.

TPP Means More Outsourcing

Candidate Obama slammed Mitt Romney for sending American jobs overseas. But as President, the TPP he's pushing means death for American factories like this one in Maine and the outsourcing of even more American jobs.