The TPP: The Biggest Trade Deal That No One Knows About

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a huge opportunity for the global economy. It is the largest trade deal in history, covering 12 countries, almost 800 million people and about 40% of the world economy. The TPP claims ambitious goals, such as promoting trade and growth, creating jobs, and encouraging innovation. It attempts to address the challenges that face small businesses in a globalized market, aiming to ease barriers to expanding business. But unfortunately, small and medium sized businesses the TPP would “benefit” haven’t had any input. Many citizens who the deal would impact, here at home and around the world, have never heard of it.

While the TPP may ease some trade barriers, most of the benefits will go to multi-national corporations. The current language in the TPP expands corporate power over citizens' rights through mass privatization, exposes the United States to unsafe food imports, and weakens environmental and health safeguards. Thankfully, there are groups like Land Stewardship Project leading the call to block this consequential deal.

At our recent BOOSTer Club Breakfast with LSP, guest speaker Rose Roach, Executive Director of the MN Nurses Association, laid out all the dirty details on how the TPP would impact personal and community health. Here are just a few of Rose’s main points:

1) Supports Big Pharma: TPP expands the patent monopoly for large pharmaceutical companies, preventing access to cost-effective, generic medications. Even medical equipment and tools will be patented, so surgical procedures will have to go through Pharma companies. All pricing for pharmaceuticals would be changed to market rates, which would severely impact Veterans and Medicaid consumers.

2) Market Based Health Care: TPP would force profit-driven health care into each country involved -- meaning countries that previously protected healthcare as a right, like Great Britain, Canada and Japan, would all turn the right to health into a commodity. Health is not a consumable good, but this deal will cause more patients to make medical decisions based on cost, not medical need.

3) Lowers Food Standards: TPP would lessen rigorous oversight of imported foods, such as fish from TPP member countries raised with chemicals and antibiotics not allowed in the U.S. The TPP would also allow private corporations to sue governments over rules that might inhibit their profits. This means bans on toxins, laws protecting forests and water, restrictions on mining, and food safety rules on GMOs, pesticides, additives, animal drugs or anything else that could "impede profits" could be overturned.

If you're in shock reading that, you are not alone...and don’t despair -- collectively we have the power to act and stop this deal from moving forward. We need to hold our representatives accountable. Thus far, it's been widespread citizen opposition that has kept Congress from bringing TPP to a vote. Continued public outcry is necessary to combat corporate interests and preserve our human rights to health and safe food.

If you're ready to do something, here is your opportunity.