Sunday, August 07, 2016

Misnamed Free Trade Isn't Fair

Misnamed Free Trade Isn’t Fair

by Stephen Lendman

Exploitive US-sponsored trade deals are huge job and labor rights destroyers. They circumvent national laws and sovereignty, exclusively serving investor interests at the expense of the public welfare.

So-called free trade isn’t fair. It’s a license to steal, plunder, exploit, pollute, and operate unrestrained - solely for maximum profit-making.

NAFTA became US law on New Year’s Day 1994. On its 20th anniversary, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach commented on its destructiveness.

She explained its hollow promises became nightmares for millions in America, Canada and Mexico, the three signatory countries.

America’s trade deficit grew by “a staggering $181 billion,” she explained. Over a million US jobs were lost. Income inequality soared.

More than “one million Mexican campesino farmers” were displaced, creating an immigrant flood to America, desperate people heading north for work lost at home.

Over “$360 million (was) paid to corporations after ‘investor-state’ tribunal attacks on, and rollbacks of, domestic public interest policies,” said Wallach.

Corporate interests became richer at the expense of millions of US, Mexican and Canadian workers losing out.

TPP and TTIP represent NAFTA on steroids, corporate-sponsored initiatives vital to prevent from ever becoming the law of the land.

On August 6, New York Times editors headlined “The Rage Against Trade,” substituting misinformation and Big Lies for hard truths about destructive trade deals no just societies would tolerate.

“Trade isn’t the main force destroying good jobs,” they claimed. Hard truths prove otherwise. Times editors endorsed NAFTA, CAFTA-DR, various bilateral US trade deals, TTP and TTIP - all hugely destructive, the latter two likely headed toward becoming US law but not there yet.

On July 28, Wallach’s Global Trade Watch published “Six Things to Know About the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” - vital information The New York Times and other media scoundrels never report.

1. Only six of TPP’s 30 chapters deal with trade. Most others empower corporate interests over public ones more than ever.

2. Few tariffs between TPP nations remain to be cut - so alleged gains from the deal are fabricated. TPP provisions make it easier for corporate predators to offshore jobs to low-wage countries - creating greater unemployment and underemployment in America than already.

3. TPP’s “key provision grants new rights to thousands of multinational corporations to sue the US government before a panel of three corporate lawyers that would be empowered to award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by America’s taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits.” 

4. The US International Trade Commission (ITC) estimates “36 of 55 US economic sectors would suffer declining trade balances under the TPP.”

A Center for Economic and Policy Research Study estimates 90% of US workers will suffer pay cuts if TPP is enacted - what happens under all its trade deals. Investors benefit hugely. Ordinary people lose out - millions of jobs offshored to low-wage countries.

5. Claiming TPP covers 40% of the global economy is misstated. “(S)ix TPP nations with existing free trade pacts account for more than 80% of the trade counted in the 40%.”

6. “Environmental, consumer, faith, senior, family farm, LGBTQ, Internet freedom, small business, human rights, online activism, and other organizations have made stopping the TPP a major priority because it would undermine decades of their policy achievements and foreclose future progress by requiring signatory countries to conform domestic laws to hundreds of pages of non-trade rules promoted by the corporate interests involved in negotiations.”

TPP, TTIP and all corporate-sponsored trade deals hugely benefit investors at the expense of millions of exploited workers, their families and the vast majority of others living in affected countries.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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