Monday, October 01, 2012

US Green Party signs int'l Green statement against "secret" Trans-Pacific Partnership pact‏

For Immediate Release:
Monday, October 1, 2012
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,
Green Party of the United States signs on to international Green
statement against Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, calling
secretly negotiated pact a threat to US jobs and the environment
• Support by both Obama and Romney for "NAFTA on steroids" means it
won't be debated
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States has joined
Green Parties of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand in a "Joint
Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement" that strongly
criticizes the proposed international trade pact.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which has been called
"NAFTA on steroids," would override democratically enacted laws that
have been passed at national and local levels to protect the
environment, public health, labor rights, and Internet freedom.
The text of the Joint Statement, which the Green Party of the United
States has endorsed, is appended below.
"The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was negotiated in secret by the
Obama Administration, is meant to privilege corporate profits and
enhance corporate power in the nations that rim the Pacific, including
the U.S. This pact is a threat to jobs in the U.S. It contradicts
claims by both President Obama and Gov. Romney that they want to put
Americans back to work," said Cheri Honkala, the Green Party's
vice-presidential nominee (
"Every voter should know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Unfortunately, both Obama and Romney support it, which means it won't
be discussed in the presidential debates. Only Green candidates,
including my running mate, Jill Stein, are talking about the
Trans-Pacific Partnership publicly. This is why it's so crucial that
Dr. Stein participate in the debates," added Ms. Honkala.
Joint Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
21 August 2012 - 4:01pm
As the Green parliamentary political parties of three nations whose
governments are currently in the process of negotiating the
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), we are issuing this joint
statement to express our serious concern at the fundamentally
undemocratic and non-transparent nature of this agreement.  Following
the leaking of the draft investment chapter of the TPPA the Greens are
extremely concerned that the agreement has the potential to undermine
the ability of our governments to perform effectively. More than just
another trade agreement, the TPPA provisions could hinder access to
safe, affordable medicines, weaken local content rules for media,
stifle high-tech innovation, and even restrict the ability of future
governments to legislate for the good of public health and the
We believe that the process should be transparent. This agreement has
been negotiated behind closed doors with a level of secrecy that is
completely unacceptable in a democratic society.
The Right to Set Our Own Laws
The governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand traditionally
have the right to set down their own laws for the good of public
health, consumers, workers and the environment.
Leaked details of the TPPA reveal that, foreign investors and firms
could sue Canada or New Zealand in a private international tribunal if
their parliaments or local councils pass laws that reduce their
profits or adversely affect their businesses. This could include laws
such as:
• a requirement for large graphic warnings or plain packaging of
cigarettes and other tobacco products (such as in Canada and
Australia, and forthcoming in NZ);
• laws requiring labeling of genetically-modified food and drink (NZ); and
• retention of agricultural regulations such as Canada’s supply
management system for dairy, which aims to preserve farmers’
The Australian government has indicated it will not agree to these
clauses intended to protect multinational businesses from the impact
of policy decisions, but New Zealand and Canada’s leaders refuse to do
the same (even after Canada was on the receiving end of costly
lawsuits under NAFTA).
The End of a Free Internet
We believe the TPPA is being used to sneak in measures to bind its
member countries to extensive and harsh laws on Internet use that
wouldn’t be acceptable at the domestic level -- including harsher
criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements,
a ‘take-down and ask questions later’ approach to pages and content
alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers
having to disclose personal information to authorities without
safeguards for privacy. The European Parliament voted 478-39 against
the international ACTA treaty, which was trying to create similar
standards. Now, the same type of regulation is being attempted under
the TPPA.
More IP Rights for the Big Players
The Intellectual Property Rights chapter of the TPPA was leaked in
draft form in February 2011. We anticipate that unless a more moderate
and balanced version is adopted, NZ, Canada and Australia’s shoppers,
schools and libraries would end up paying more for their books and
DVD’s  because it would let copyright holders veto parallel importing.
Small and medium-sized software and IT businesses would have their
innovative visions stifled by constraining patent laws. Finally, large
pharmaceutical companies could use the legislation to deny state
drug-buying agencies like those in Australia and NZ access to
reliable, low cost medicines.
Behind Closed Doors
Almost everything we have learnt about the TPPA’s contents comes from
leaked documents that the negotiators didn’t want the public to see.
No agreement this important should be finalised without the informed
input of the ordinary people it will affect.
Yet while representatives of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, major
pharmaceutical companies and the Motion Picture Association of America
have access to the text, democratically elected members of parliament,
advocacy organisations for healthcare and the environment and ordinary
citizens are being left out in the cold.
Governments, including the US, have opened up to the public in the
past by releasing the draft text of agreements. In 2001, all nine
chapters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement were
released. At the time, this was called an ‘important step’ that would
make the trade negotiation process ‘more transparent and accessible’.
If this was the standard for public accountability in 2001, it is
disconcerting that similar standards are not in play in 2012.
Together, we Green Parties are declaring that we will only support a
fair, genuinely progressive trade agreement that promotes sustainable
development and the creation of new jobs alongside the protection of
the environment and human rights (including freedom of association and
the right to collective bargaining). We call on our current
governments to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding this agreement
and to open these negotiations to public input and comment.
Contact Information:
Debra Eindiguer
c: 613.240.8921
See also:
"While Obama and Romney ignore global warming, Green presidential
nominee Jill Stein and other Green candidates promote real solutions"
US Green Party press release, September 3, 2012
Public Interest Analysis of Leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Investment Text
Public Citizen, June 13, 2012
"Disguised attack on democracy"
By Ron Forthofer (former Colorado Green candidate for Congress), Times
Call, July 5, 2012
"Obama Says One Thing Under the Spotlight; Does Another Behind Closed
Doors: While Obama Tells the Country He Will Create Jobs and Stop
Outsourcing; His Administration is Secretly Negotiating the Biggest
Job-Outsourcing Treaty in History"
By Kevin Zeese, Occupy Washington DC, September 10, 2012
Green Party of the United States
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