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The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) has recently been signed on February 4 2016 in New Zealand by trade ministers from its 12 member countries. Real World Radio caught up with Sam Cossar-Gilbert from Friends of the Earth Australia who works within the Economic Justice - Resisting Neoliberalism Programme to discuss the implications of this trade deal and its widespread opposition.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of New Zealand to protest the unpopular TPP, ranging from indigenous communities, trade unions, academics, health advocates, environmentalists, and advocates for consumer rights. According to Cossar-Gilbert, while they are protesting for different reasons, the opposition stems from the self-serving interests of the TPP which aim to cement corporate power at the expense of the people.
The TPP’s key feature is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) which will give corporations the right to sue governments in secret and private tribunals. Cossar-Gilbert holds this will undermine environmental protection and can already be seen in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the Canadian company, TransCanada, that has used the ISDS to sue the United States for banning the tar sands pipeline.
By enacting the TPP, dirty energy will be liberalised through the automatic approval of gas exports from the US to other TPP countries. Cossar-Gilbert claims this is a time when we should be limiting, controlling and reducing the trade in fossil fuels that are causing climate change. The approval of the TPP agreement goes in the opposite direction of clean and renewable energy.
According to Cossar-Gilbert, “by no means is this a done deal” and growing public opposition will pressure leaders to oppose this agreement. Chances of a TPP ratification seem slim as the driver and founder - the US, and their leading presidential candidates (Sanders, Clinton and Trump) - have all expressed their opposition to the trade deal.
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