Proposal: Platform Amendment - Trans-Pacific Partnership


SPONSOR:  Platform Standing Group
SUBJECT: Trans-Pacific Partnership  in the Peace and Non-Violence section.  All of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party of California are involved.
Background and Purpose. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed free-trade agreement under negotiation by the United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and Peru (Western Hemisphere), and Australia, Brunei,  Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam  (in Asia).  In addition, Taiwan, the Philippines, Laos, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India have also expressed interest.
The TPP technically is not a treaty.  Under the authority of the "Trade Promotion Authority" (TPA, Fast-Track), under which the President is authorized to negotiate Free-Trade agreements)   Congress would vote (up or down, only) with a minimum of debate, no amendments, and no right to filibuster.  TPA originally was intended to simplify and speed up tariff reduction and trade promotion.   However, TPA is being interpreted to extend far beyond the limited regulation of commerce that Congress originally intended.  This extended interpretation may very well violate the constitutional requirement that the Senate ratify all treaties.  
The TPP takes free-trade agreements to new extremes, in that it requires participating governments to cede many of their powers to a subgroup of participating nations, and severely limits the ability of participant governments to protect their citizenry. A participating nation  would give up the regulation of its environment and workplaces, food quality, and agricultural and industrial practices, patent protections, labor rights, and anything else  that might restrict or adversely affect the projected commerce.    Other areas affected by this  so-called “investor law” are environmental law, human rights protection, public welfare, and health and safety regulation, availability of generic drugs, copyright law, internet regulation, and import/export law.  Participating governments, including the U.S. government,  effectively lose any ability to protect its citizens from all kinds of hazards.  All of the GPCA Ten Key Values are affected.
The clandestine and classified nature of the previous and current “TPP negotiations” is fundamentally inconsistent with “government of the people …”   TPP trade representatives have disenfranchised all but the wealthiest corporations.  
The TPP “investor law” provision, in particular, threatens to violate the sovereignty of participating countries.  For example suppose a country attempts to ban a harmful chemical.  Any investor in any investment whatever (even unrelated to the banned chemical) may file suit.  The resulting arbitration would be conducted in strictest secrecy.  The corporations play a role in choosing the composition of the tribunal, as does the investor – but not the defendant – in this case, the involved government. 
The investor law provision could force countries to rescind health, safety, worker’s rights, and human rights legislation as the result of the “investor law.”  If TPP becomes operative, it may no longer possible to honor labor agreements, to limit environmental pollution and dangerous practices like chemical fracturing (“fracking”), or prevent the Keystone Pipeline.
Another TPP patent law provision could eliminate generic drugs.  According to the proposed TPP regulations, any change to the “delivery” of a pharmaceutical would cause an automatic renewal of the patent for all distributions. A distribution could entail offering a pill in capsule form, or offering an additional dosage.  By offering new “distributions,” the original patent effectively can be extended indefinitely.  
The TPP is a logical international extension of the Citizens United decision of the US Supreme Court, which upheld the principle that corporations are people.  All the known provisions indicate promotion of corporate profits at the expense of the health and well-being of the participating countries’ own citizens.  In particular, TPP would potentially abrogate many of the protective features of each country’s constitution, including that of the United States.
Countries could be forced to rescind health, safety, worker’s rights, and human rights legislation as the result of the “investor law.”  Any investor in a U.S. company could object and to take the issue to arbitration.  If TPP becomes operative, it may no longer possible to honor labor agreements, to limit environmental pollution and dangerous practices like chemical fracturing (“fracking”), or prevent the Keystone Pipeline. 
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken in September, 2012, concluded that 86% of the US population felt that “free trade” agreements cost American jobs.  Only 17% saw any beneficial effect of these agreements.
The Green Party of California proposes the following:
1. Revoking the TPA {rest of submitted text deleted}.

2. Introduction of legislation that would prohibit the President, Congress, or corporations from engaging in secret, closed-door negotiations.  Texts of all proposed treaties shall be available to the public with full transparency.  The public shall have the information necessary to inform their representatives of their preferences.

3.  Requiring proposed free-trade agreements subject to open U.S. Senate ratification as treaties, after a full Senate debate, as required by the Constitution for other types of treaties.

4.  Asserting the supremacy of [the] sovereign law [of the individual nations] over all trade agreements in all matters concerning health, safety, worker rights [and their right to organize], human rights, patents, industrial processes (such as “fracking”), and “investor” lawsuits.

5.  {all of submitted text deleted}
6.  Requiring that the protections afforded by the US constitution never be diminished by any international treaty or trade agreement.
7.  Opposing any treaty or international agreement that favor the profits of corporations over the health, safety, and human rights of individual persons [and environmental protections] of every participating nation.
In the face of outstanding concerns, the presenters opted to take the proposal to a vote:
Yes (5): 10, 11, 14, 18, 20
No (10): 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22
Abstain (7): 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 21
Proposal does not pass 5-10-7 (33%) requires 2/3
COMMITTEE DECISION.  The platform originated on  Sep  19 2013..  initiated by Joel Sarch.  Revision s occurrred  on Sep 22,and  and Sep 25.  It was posted for comment on the Platform listserve on Sep 25 where it received consensus after multiple comments.  The threevote of the Platform Committee members consensed also was two to one. It was subsequently submitted to the Standing General Assembly where it experienced multiple delays..
RESOURCES:  This is a new platform plank.  The closest platform is on International Trade Agreements in the Peace and Non-violence section , a plank which is also revised in this packet  to be consistent with this TPP Platform plank  in the Peace and Non-violence section.