Written by: David Roman
Trans-Pacific partnership promises prosperity across Pacific but extends U.S. influence too
With the recent WikiLeaks drop of President Obama’s trans-Pacific Trade agreement coinciding with the signing of the agreement itself, a question is posed of how far our country will go operating in shadow from its citizens for the sake of security.
The agreement, which is more than 30 chapters long, has been regarded by domestic lawmakers as one meant to confuse and mislead the general public in its extensive legislation for the agreeing countries that is meticulously detailed.
The 12 agreeing countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.
These regulations extend from simple copyright limits, to intellectual property stances to privacy laws or the methods of dealing with whistleblowers or those under suspicion of “misuse” of information.
Now here’s where things start to get murky. By extensively detailing intellectual property rights, the agreement basically forces the 12 countries along the Pacific Rim to play by the United States’ rules, and at times rules outlined in the T.P.P. are even sterner than the ours.
Despite its far reaching effects I believe the T.P.P. is not inherently bad but has a mix of negatives and positives, however I condemn the U.S’s callus shadowing of its negotiations on an agreement that affects so many different aspects of life and legislation around the Pacific Rim.
Written in complete secrecy to prevent Congress from demanding ramifications and sanctions to the agreement, citizens not just in the Pacific but around the world are starting to worry about the level of transparency within our country and its international dealings.
In a way, the U.S. is using a promise of trade, and by extension a promise of economic growth, to instill its laws across Asian-Pacific countries in which we have held little influence over in the past.
The reinforcement of good-ties among the pacific rim is beneficial for the country in many ways. And making friends is clearly what the United States has been trying to do as evidenced by our renewed relations with Cuba.
On a security level this lets us hold more control over the Pacific Ocean seeing as how it’s in the country’s direct benefit that we keep trade ships among the agreeing parties safe. And the U.S. has never shown hesitation or remorse in defending its money.
Another consequence of the trade deal? The extension of the big pharmaceutical corporations that have plagued the U.S. medical system and further perpetuated the money-hungry persona our country has abroad.
While it’s not directly putting more money in the hands of Big-Pharma, the T.P.P’s chapter on intellectual property has applications to generic drugs which are popular abroad for their inexpensiveness.
While it would do little to hinder the generics of established countries like Canada or Australia, it’s long-reaching consequences affect the less developed parts of Malaysia or Peru.
By tightening intellectual property rights overseas we are making it harder for generic manufacturers to use established research for getting their products streamlined through approval by their governments for sale to the general public.
However supporters of the trade agreement applaud its environmental sanctions with President Obama being commended for championing for strict environmental regulations espite negotiating with countries that have far more relaxed environmental sanctions.
Whether or not you feel like the T.P.P. is a reasonable and welcome response to increasing relations in the Pacific meant to extend a hand to our ocean neighbors or you think the T.P.P. is an evil byproduct of our capitalistic and militaristic interests overseas, one thing is certain and that is whether we as a people feel comfortable allowing our government to cut legislative deals without the nation knowing exactly what’s on the negotiating table.