Dear friends and colleagues,

Greetings from the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)!

At the Asia Pacific Feminist Forum last June, women, civil society organisations and social movements from around the world came together and decided to launch a campaign against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As the international community comes together in negotiating a new sustainable development agenda, another global agreement is on its way, one that would undermine national sovereignty and democracy; it is a binding agreement that would finalise corporatocracy!

Please find below a collective statement against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We are calling for endorsements of groups who want to join our campaign against the TPP. Click this link to add your signature to our statement and also to receive more information about the campaign.

We encourage you to share this widely with your networks.

In solidarity,

Resist the Trans-Pacific Partnership

We, civil society organisations, networks, and social movements from around the world, declare our unequivocal opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We believe that the TPP, which is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by governments, led by the United States (US) as the dominant player among 12 countries, and hundreds of corporate advisors, will significantly infringe upon people’s rights and freedoms and privilege the interests of corporations over the public interest.

The TPP is distinct from most trade agreements because of the extraordinarily broad scope of the rules it would impose on governments. In addition to conventional trade concerns, such as market access, it allows wealthy countries and large corporations to reach across borders and impose constraints on a vast array of domestic non-trade policies that impact the environment, public services, intellectual property, labour, health, communications, and visas, among others. The TPP’s main provisions are expected to require member-countries to remove any remaining barriers to investments, to strictly enforce intellectual property laws that would raise pharmaceutical costs and stifle digital innovation and freedom of expression, and to allow private corporations to sue states before an international tribunal. In effect, countries joining the TPP will have to surrender big chunks of their national sovereignty to the trade pact’s dominant players.”

The degree of secrecy surrounding the trade negotiations is completely unacceptable given the huge repercussions the TPP will have on people’s rights. It is particularly outrageous that legislatures, civil society, and the media have been excluded, yet more than 600 corporate advisors have access to—and influence over—the text. What we know about the TPP comes from leaked texts that confirm that a broad range of domestic policies must be brought into line with the terms of the TPP. The TPP represents a corporate coup to deceptively take over national policy making and democratic rights. This is an extraordinary violation of domestic policy space, representing unprecedented aggression against national sovereignty and democratic policy-making.

One aspect of the TPP that is especially concerning is the investor-state dispute resolution (ISDR) mechanism. This allows foreign corporations to sue governments if they enact policies, including laws in the public interest, that reduce their potential profit margin. Consumer laws, environmental protections, and public health laws can all be considered under ISDR to infringe on ‘investor rights’. In past cases, ISDR has been used by companies to sue governments for millions, even billions, of dollars, in foreign tribunals outside of domestic legal systems where there is no compulsion to publish decisions and no appeal mechanism. ISDR is an attack on the ability of developing countries to protect the rights of their citizens.

We are particularly alarmed about the implications of the TPP for women. Policies of privatization, deregulation, and liberalization have the most negative impact on women, who comprise 70% of the world’s poor. Women’s rights will inevitably be violated, particularly their rights to decent work and a living wage, adequate healthcare, and equal access to land and productive resources. By promoting the aggressive liberalization of all of these sectors, women living in poverty stand to lose the most as a result of the TPP.

Trade can be a way of empowering local economies and strengthening women’s economic autonomy. But the TPP is designed to entrench corporate dominance, inequalities, and exploitation. Whatever the international community commits to in the context of new Sustainable Development Goals will be comprehensively undermined by the TPP and its draconian enforcement measures. We call for an end to the TPP negotiations and for the main text to be publicly released. We know this will expose the TPP for what it is: a framework that further institutionalises profit over people.


About Tanggol Bayi

Established in 2008, Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines. It is formed primarily for the recognition, advancement, and protection of the rights of women human rights defenders who are advocating for the realization of human rights.
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