Pacific trade deal is ‘corporate powergrab’, say campaigners, as UK pledges to join

Pacific trade deal is ‘corporate powergrab’, say campaigners, as UK pledges to join

Date: 17 June 2020

Commenting on the Liz Truss’s announcement today that Britain will seek to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (known as TPP for short), Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now said:

“The Transpacific Partnership is an awful deal which fuelled massive protests in Chile and became so toxic that the US withdrew from it. Like its sister deal TTIP, it is a threat to our public services like the NHS, our food standards and our privacy online. The government can’t kid us that this isn’t a corporate powergrab because unlike the deal they’re negotiating with Trump, the TPP exists already, and we can read the provisions for ourselves.

“We know that there is a corporate court system which can be used to bully governments out of taking public health or environmental action that big business doesn’t like. We know that the ‘right to regulate’ provisions are not worth the paper they are written on. We know it contains one of the most extensive sets of privileges for Big Tech corporations which threaten to undermine our rights online.

“What will also strike many people as absurd is that the government seems to think an economic deal with countries thousands of miles away can make up for their failure to negotiate a deal with our biggest trading partners only 20 miles away. Nothing could better demonstrate the ideological crusade which this government has embarked on to strip away our protections, rights, and standards.”

Campaigners are particularly concerned that the TPP would:

  • Introduce a new corporate court system, allowing corporations from many countries to sue British governments for regulations and laws they dislike, and allowing British corporations to sue other governments in a similar manner
  • Undermine food standards by treating food manufactured to lower standards as ‘equivalent’
  • Undermine public services, which will be subject to liberalisation disciplines unless specifically opted out, and will contain a ‘ratchet’ clause to expand liberalisation across services
  • Includes a digital services chapter which would prevent governments from effectively regulating Big Tech corporations, allowing them to relocate your personal data and keep their source code secret from regulators
  • Contain weak and unenforceable ‘right to regulate’ provisions
  • Cover rules to give Big Pharma corporations greater powers to dictate the price of drugs they produce. Although currently suspended, these rules could be re-activated at a future time.

A full background briefing on the TPP is available here:

Image: Liz Truss making the announcement in the House of Commons today. Credit: Parliament.TV