See our Photo of the Week (and archive of more) ... and the echo follows

Opinion Advertize Permission
To be notified of new articles Survey Store About Us
Fast Track/Big Bad Trade Deal
Threatens Local Control, Family Farms

The TPP Agreement Would Elevate Multinational Corporations
To The Same Legal Status As Sovereign Nations

by Jim Compton
Buffalo, Missouri

Jim Compton is a farmer and a member of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, which has been a complete failure (unless you’re a multinational corporation) and put family farms out of business, offshored U.S. jobs and triggered a race to the bottom in terms of wages resulting in pushing the U.S. middle class downward economically.

Now there is an attempt to rush through the largest trade deal in history.  The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is being widely described as “NAFTA on steroids”. This new trade regime involves 11 nations (mostly in Asia) and has been negotiated entirely in secret with only leaked portions providing an insight. Citizens and most lawmakers have been locked out of the negotiation process and kept in the dark about the details of this proposed agreement.

Let’s be clear -- these trade deals take power away from local and state elected representatives and make us subject to a virtual undemocratic corporate, global constitution that could undermine the U.S. constitution, state constitutions, U.S. and state laws, and local control laws.  Laws such as Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) would be in jeopardy -- COOL is supported by the majority of farmers and consumers but opposed by corporate agribusiness.   

The TPP agreement would elevate multinational corporations to the same legal status as sovereign nations. For example, corporations would be able sue a nation for enforcing their food safety standards as being “illegal trade barriers”. These lawsuits would be decided before an unelected foreign tribunal where the only deciding factor would be whether a nation’s standards on a product would restrict the plaintiff corporation’s ability to make a profit. Taxpayer money would then be paid in the form of a fine or settlement if the country is found to be impeding the corporation’s ability to make a profit. The fact that the U.S. can be sued and the issue cannot be heard by our courts or our Congress gives the American taxpayer zero influence, and it’s a deal breaker.

To make matters worse, the Obama administration is pushing hard for “fast-track” authority to develop and finalize the TPP. This gives the President power to make trade deals without consulting Congress, subverting normal processes where our elected representatives can bring forth amendments and changes.

Missourians value local democracy, and the people of this state have fought hard to maintain the right of local control. Fast track and the TPP are a direct attack on this mainstay of Missouri values.

Trade is something most Americans are inclined to support as long as it’s done in an equitable manner. That’s not what’s going on here. This type of trade agreement dramatically increases the profits of huge agribusiness corporations at the expense of U.S. farmers, our rural economies and farmers around the world.

Secret meetings, fast-track authority, pie-in-the-sky promises of prosperity and loophole filled language aren’t the way to arrive at an agreement that is fair to the American taxpayer and American citizen. 
For more information, please contact the Missouri Rural Crisis Center:

  • (573) 449-1336

Also see:

  • Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
    Do We Want to Create This Monster?
    by Christina Imhoof, Vera Moldt, Eleanora Robbins, and Kristen Smith
    Position Paper by Women Occupy San Diego
    San Diego, California

Published in In Motion Magazine June 16, 2014

Email, Opinions & Discussion

If you have any thoughts on this or would like to contribute to an ongoing discussion in the
E-mail, Opinions & Discussion column click here to send e-mail to

In Unity/NPC Productions/Links

What is New? || Affirmative Action || Art Changes || Autonomy: Chiapas - California ||
Community Images || Education Rights || E-mail, Opinions and Discussion ||
En español || Essays from Ireland || Global Eyes || Healthcare ||
Human Rights/Civil Rights || Piri Thomas ||
Photo of the Week || QA: Interviews || Region || Rural America ||

Search || Donate || To be notified of new articles || Survey ||
In Motion Magazine's Store || In Motion Magazine Staff ||
In Unity Book of Photos ||
Links Around The World || OneWorld / US ||
NPC Productions

Copyright © 1995-2014 NPC Productions as a compilation. All Rights Reserved.