Trans-Pacific Partnership: Under Cover of Darkness, a Corporate Coup Is Underway
By Lori Wallach, AlterNet
Posted on June 29, 2012, Printed on July 1, 2012

Editor’s note: On this week’s AlterNet Radio Hour, Joshua Holland spoke with Lori Wallace about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the larger mythology of “free trade.” You can listen to their discussion below this article.

Have you heard about the small U.S. government agency engaged in years of closed-door negotiations that could undermine the Obama administration’s declared goals of creating jobs, reregulating the financial sector and lowering healthcare costs?

With the direct participation of 600 corporations and shocking levels of secrecy, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is rushing to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Branded as a trade agreement (yawn) by its corporate proponents, TPP largely has evaded public and congressional scrutiny since negotiations were launched in 2008 by the George W. Bush administration.

But trade is the least of it. Only two of TPP’s 26 chapters actually have to do with trade. The rest is about new enforceable corporate rights and privileges and constraints on government regulation. This includes new extensions of price-raising drug patent monopolies, corporate rights to attack government drug formulary pricing plans, safeguards to facilitate job offshoring and new corporate controls over natural resources.

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