The latest round of talks negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) began Monday in Singapore. Six hundred delegates from the 11 member nations will continue their work toward establishing a “free trade” zone that includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
While those who push for the creation of such a pact point to the combined gross domestic product of the participants — $21 trillion — the fact that is almost always omitted is the great disparity between the GDP of the United States and that of the other members of the TPP.
Below are the gross domestic products (GDP) and world rankings for 2011 as reported by the International Monetary Fund of the 11 countries currently participating in the TPP:
• The United States ranks first with a GDP of over $15 trillion.
• Canada ranks 11th with a GDP of about $1.7 trillion.
• Australia ranks 12th with a GDP of about $1.5 trillion.
• Mexico ranks 14th with a GDP of almost $1.2 trillion.
• Malaysia ranks 36th with a GDP of nearly $288 billion.
• Singapore ranks 38th with a GDP of about $260 billion.
• Chile ranks 39th with a GDP of about $248 billion.
• Peru ranks 51st with a GDP of about $177 billion.
• New Zealand ranks 55th with a GDP of almost $159 billion.
• Vietnam ranks 57th with a GDP of nearly $123 billion.
• Brunei ranks 111th with a GDP of $16 billion.
Math doesn't lie: The total GDP of the other 10 TPP countries equal roughly one-third of that of the United States. The relevant question is whether partnership with these countries will result in a strengthening of their economies or a weakening of our own.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is undeterred by these figures, however, and has announced the Obama administration’s intention of “concluding a state-of-the-art, comprehensive agreement as quickly as possible and of smoothly integrating the newest members, Canada and Mexico, into the negotiations. According to a story published in the Kyodo News, “delegates in Singapore want to strike a deal before the end of this year.”
Since his reelection, President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to pushing the globalist UN agenda, not only regarding the fast-tracking of the TPP, but in ratifying a UN-sponsored arms treaty, as well.
In a report on day one of the 10-day conference, Channel News Asia reports that negotiators focused on two issues: “how to quantify cross-border trade in services and ways to protect intellectual property.”
Although the talks are closed to the press and shrouded in secrecy, we do know a bit about how the TPP could effect U.S. law with regard to intellectual property thanks to a draft of the agreement leaked on the internet last August.
The leaked draft of the TPP contains a provision that launches another attack on U.S. sovereignty through the mandate that member nations enact regulations that require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to privately enforce copyright protection laws.
These private companies — many of which are very small — would be forced to take upon themselves the responsibility of patrolling for and punishing any violation of the copyright laws by their subscribers.
Current U.S. law, specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), would be supplanted by TPP Article 16.3. This provision in the TPP draft document paves the way for a new copyright enforcement scheme that extends far beyond the limits currently imposed by DMCA.
Regardless of the merits of the DMCA, it is U.S. law and should not be subject to de facto appeal by the work of a body of internationalists who are not accountable to citizens of the United States.
Apart from the issues of sovereignty, putting such pressure on service providers is a threat not only to the owners of these small businesses, but to Internet freedom as well.
It is the good work of these ISPs that has created the Internet we know today. Were it not for the typically low-cost access these companies provide, the pool of readily accessible viewpoints, opinions, and news resources would be significantly shallower.
In a post-TPP world, ISPs would be forced to raise prices dramatically in order to cover the increase in their own overhead brought on by the requirement that they monitor and manage the websites they host.
Alternatively, there would undoubtedly be a large number of ISPs who would not only want to avoid the administrative burden of being forced into the role of Internet cop, but who would also rightly regard the risks of providing Internet access as outweighing the benefits.
A story published after the leak by the Electronic Frontier Foundation accurately described the potential problems and predicts the future of the Internet should the United States agree to enter the TPP.
Private ISP enforcement of copyright poses a serious threat to free speech on the Internet, because it makes offering open platforms for user-generated content economically untenable. For example, on an ad-supported site, the costs of reviewing each post will generally exceed the pennies of revenue one might get from ads. Even obvious fair uses could become too risky to host, leading to an Internet with only cautious and conservative content.
As any news organization that maintains a Web presence knows, in the posting of news items time is of the essence. If the regulations of the TPP become the law, then ISPs would be forced to remove immediately any subscriber content posted online that is challenged by someone claiming a copyright infringement. This broad expansion of copyright protection could be devastating to a news organization (or blogger, for that matter) depending for their economic survival on the timeliness of their online stories and on the availability of those stories to the millions of Internet users.
Such procedures bypass the U.S. court system and the Constitution by abolishing the due process owed to those accused of crimes. Rather than require a person to present evidence of an alleged violation of a copyright to an impartial judge, the TPP would also demand that the outlet’s ISP immediately remove the content in question. Any legal proceedings on the merits of the charges would occur after the damage has been done.
Critics understand that this redrawing of the boundaries of copyright law by the globalists deliberating and drafting the TPP behind closed doors is an attack on our laws, our courts, our freedom of expression, our Constitution, and our sovereignty.
As with all such attempts to integrate the economies of the United States and other “partners,” the right of settling disputes and defining the scope of intellectual property rights and restrictions will be granted to an extra-constitutional international tribunal with members being nominated by the United Nations Secretary General.
In fact, all "partners" to the pact, including foreign corporations, will be exempted from abiding by American copyright laws (those passed by Congress and designed to protect the public and the rights holder) and the sovereignty of the United States and the Constitution's enumeration of powers will once again be placed on the altar of globalism.
Despite calls from congressmen for greater transparency, trade representatives of the United States will continue for the next nine days behind closed doors pushing for a radical restructuring of the laws of the United States and economic and political “integration” with communist and socialist “partners” in this latest globalist scheme.
Photo of Singapore business district