TransPacific Partnership agreement and other trade deals under public scrutiny as recent study shows damaging impacts on jobs
Trade Minister Todd MacClay confirmed he had issued invitations to Ministers from the 12 countries to attend the ceremonial signing, marking the end of the negotiation and starting a 2 year ratification process.
Robert Reid, General Secretary of FIRST Union, a UNI affiliate in New Zealand, said that the labour movement and other opponents to the TPP were organizing public meetings in four large cities next week and a mass protest on the 4th of February in Auckland where the signing will take place. UNI and other GUFs will issue a public statement on that day.
For Philip Jennings, the General Secretary of UNI Global Union, “the text is worse than expected and could potentially impact millions of lives and jobs. People and members of Parliaments need to make their voices heard: this agreement doesn’t serve people’s interests, it has been crafted by and for the top 1%.”
“This agreement is a major threat to democracy, labour rights and environmental protection”, added Robert Reid. “We will do everything we can to raise public awareness on the day of the signing which will take place on our territory. We cannot let the TPP go through ratification because the text doesn’t include the social and environmental safeguards that we need to protect people and the planet.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement was finalized in October 2015 after a final 5 day long marathon of negotiations in Atlanta (US) (see UNI Global Union reactive statement on that day). The deal is between 12 countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the US, Vietnam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore and New Zealand. If ratified, it would cover 40% of the world’s economy and set the foundation for trade in e-commerce, financial services, property rights, medicine and much more.
UNI Global Union, UNI affiliates as well as other Global Union Federations and union members have expressed growing concerns about the secrecy around the agreement as well as potential devastating impacts on labour, health and environment (see the Statement that adopted by the World Executive Board on the 11th of November).
A recent study published by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University (USA) showed that the Trans Pacific Partnership would generate GDP loss in the US and Japan, and employment losses in all TPP countries with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. TPP would also lead to higher inequality and competitive pressures to push labor incomes lower in developing countries.
The TPP would have far-reaching implications for other parts of the world as well. TPP would lead to losses in GDP and employment in non-TPP countries. In large part, the loss in GDP (3.77 percent) and employment (879,000) among non-TPP developed countries would be driven by losses in Europe, while developing country losses in GDP (5.24%) and employment (4.45 million) reflect projected losses in China and India.
The signing of TPP will most certainly put the TTIP, CETA, RCEP and TiSA negotiations into fast track mode. But the level of public scrutiny is also increasing. On Monday this week, the Trade Committee of the European Parliament adopted a resolution which will push the Commission to review its position on TiSA to better take into consideration consumer and labour protection. The resolution will now go to plenary for a vote that is expected to take place early February, a good timing for the opponents to the TPP.