The eyes of the world have been on America this past month as they legalized gay marriage. What the world didn't see was: the same week their government approved the fast tracking of the TPP.
T.P.P?? No, I am not reminding you to bring some toilet paper home. Rather this is an acronym for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. It is the biggest trade agreement you have never heard of, yet if it is passed will enslave us and our nations to the corporate world.
It is being proposed by 12 countries found in the Pacific ranging from the Americas to Peru and Japan to Australia, with a combined GDP of over $28 trillion.
What's not to lose?
How would you like to pay more for your medication?
With the TPP new patent laws will come into effect which extends the shelf life of a patent, thus delaying the manufacturing of generic brands of medications at cheaper prices for the consumer.
Do you need to know what's in your products?
Australia has very strong labelling laws; however by signing this agreement international companies will have one set of rules, while national companies will remain bound by our national rules. For instance, if you are concerned about the environmental impact that palm oil creates, with this new agreement an international company won't have to identify which oil is being used. Imagine the potential health risks this could pose if labelling laws don't require allergens to be named.
Phillip Morris Asia (a tobacco company) is suing the Australian government over their plain packaging on cigarettes for billions of dollars.If the TPP is signed we could be forced to give a huge pay out, and allow them to bring in their colourful cigarette packaging while national companies would be forced to maintain the plain packaging. (thus giving the upper hand to the international companies)
Do you want banned ads forced into your media?
It doesn't bother me if you smoke or not, however I am very proud that Australia has banned advertising of all tobacco products. However the TPP wants to allow international tobacco companies to sue individual governments that do not allow the advertisement of their products. What about pornography advertising or other inappropriate products?
Should your tax dollars pay international companies for violating the nation's laws?
The TPP gives international companies legal rights to sue our governments for lost profits if we don't allow them to sell or advertise their goods and services. For instance the government of Canada was sued by The US-based oil and gas company Lone Pine Resources for $250m in lost profits after the province of Quebec temporarily suspended fracking (method of oil extraction) as they wanted to study its environmental impact.
And to pay these settlements the country has to dip into its treasury reserves so that means more taxes and less services.
Do you care about labour laws or minimum wage?
Say Australia decides to increase minimum wage, the international corporation can chose to sue us if they believe it is going to inhibit their ability to do business in our country and violates "investor protection." So the government will decide it is in its best interest to not increase wages or change labour laws because of the lawsuits that may be brought forth. Check out more here
Do you want to buy your kids toys (or any product) that don't pass our national safety standards?
If we ban certain products because we find them not safe for us or for the environment the international corporation does not need to comply with our laws. So they will become above our laws in such areas.
Will you hand government control and authority to lawyers and an international agreement?
We elect the government and they are responsible to us and if they don't do a good job we can vote them out. They are the ones who make our laws regarding environment, labour, health, etc. and as they put new laws forward in the future to protect Australia and its people the international companies under the TPP may take up issue with some of these new laws.
They will want to be exempted from some of our national laws. When these issues arise and a corporation thinks our laws are unfair they will sue us but the case will not be tried in our federal our state courts but will rather be brought before 3 corporate lawyers who will decide the case behind closed doors.
We are now handing our government sovereignty over to corporate lawyers and corporations as they are
Is this what you want for you and the future generations?
So now with the newly accepted TPP the government you voted in has no control over international companies, your taxes will go up and your services decrease to pay for legal damages, you will use unsafe and ineffective labelled products, pay more for medications and watch banned ads without censorship.
Want to know more? Do you want to act and stand up? Say no to international companies ruling the country, check out my follow up article tomorrow for more.
Even though the TPP is terrible we need to remember Isaiah 61:8 "for I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them."
Genevieve Wilson is a happily married stay at home, home-schooling mum of 3, whose passion is to see people come to know Jesus. She worked 8 years as a missionary with Youth with a Mission(YWAM). She has a heart for justice and to see the abolition of the modern day slave trade.
Genevieve Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/genevieve-wilson.html