March 25, 2016 | By Maira Sutton

TPP Under Fire in the U.S. As Other Signatories Advance Towards Ratification

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is taking a beating in the ongoing U.S. presidential election cycle, leaving some observers to wonder if it can survive such a political backlash against trade agreements. But as the leading candidates seem to compete for who can bash U.S. trade policies the hardest, other countries have been pressing forward to ratify the TPP since the deal's signature in February.

In the U.S., chances are close to nil that the TPP could get ratified anytime soon. The White House is still seeking congressional support for the massive 12-country deal but the political environment could not be any more unfavorable. Presidential candidates are pointing to trade agreements as the root cause of economic inequality. For the Obama administration, things look grim in Congress as well. More and more lawmakers are coming out against the TPP, while others who had long championed the deal are now holding back their support over their stance that some of the provisions do not go far enough to protect certain industries. The soonest the TPP's ratification vote may happen is during the “Lame Duck” period after November's election.

But even as the United States stalls on the TPP, other countries are moving towards ratification. Below is a summary of how TPP is advancing outside the United States:

      The agreement itself stipulates that the TPP's provisions do not go into force until at least the U.S. and Japan both ratify the agreement. If the U.S. does ratify, it will still claim the ability to withhold benefits from other countries until their implementations are "certified" as compliant to the U.S. interpretation of the deal. We strongly urge countries to forgo TPP's implementation into their laws until at least the TPP impasse is resolved in the United States—or for that matter, to never ratify the deal at all. Many of these TPP signatories are preemptively binding their laws to an agreement that will not only undermine their people's rights to free expression, privacy, and access to knowledge on the Internet, but would also threaten innovation and creativity, potentially all in exchange for nothing.

      The TPP was kept entirely secret from the public for seven years of negotiations, while powerful corporate stakeholders had the prerogative to decide its aims and objectives. We're now at the last stage when it's possible to defeat this deal. That's what happened with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which had already been completed and signed when tens of thousands of Europeans went out and protested the agreement. They couldn't be ignored, and Parliament rejected ACTA. There's hope that we can defeat the TPP too, but it will only happen if the public demands our governments do the right thing and reject its ratification.

      ~

      Are you in the U.S.? If so, call on your Congress members to hold congressional hearings about the contents of the TPP immediately, and demand that they reject the deal when the agreement comes up for an eventual ratification vote:

      TPP action button

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