Online activist hub AVAAZ has launched a global campaign against the Transpacific Partnership (TPPA) trade agreement. TEU has regularly warned that the agreement could open New Zealand’s tertiary education system to foreign private competition, effectively giving multinational for profit education companies the right to sue the New Zealand government if they felt they were being treated unfairly by our education laws and policies.
AVAAZ describes the deal, which eight Pacific rim nations including New Zealand, Australia and the united States are currently negotiating, as a ‘top-secret global corporate power grab that attacks everything from a free Internet to environmental protections’. It and many other organisations are concerned that the agreement is being drafted trade officials and corporate lobbyists, without the public getting a chance to examine the text or debate its merits.
“Very little is actually known about the top-secret negotiations. Most of the information available comes from leaks that have escaped the tightly locked doors of the discussions. We know [from leaks] that tobacco, oil and pharmaceutical companies have joined Wal-Mart and almost 600 other corporate lobbyists to take part in the talks, pushing through a pact that would be enforced through an international tribunal. This body would have the power to overrule domestic laws and even impose trade sanctions on governments that fail to abide by its rulings.
Meanwhile Scoop’s Gordon Campbell warned last week that the TPPA might even undermine our trade interests in Asia:
“(a) The TPP is little more than a Washington–led security alliance in the guise of a trade pact, and is being directed tactically against a China that we should be seeking to befriend;
(b) US farmers will ensure that the TPP cannot deliver us the freer agricultural access that would be the only worthwhile quid pro quo for the level of concessions the TPP will require of us. And of course;
(c) The TPP negotiations and the level of concessions they entail pose a genuine threat to our national autonomy, and;
(d) The negotiations are being conducted amidst a total secrecy blackout that makes a mockery of Parliament and the democratic process,” listed Gordon Campbell.