by INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
From July 2 to 10, government leaders of the Pacific Rim held the 13th round of negotiations for the previously secret United States-led free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The meeting has been met with protests from various sectors from all over the US, including groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-USA) and the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS-US).
Bayan-USA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bayan in the Philippines.
Lori Wallach, the director of the Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch explains in an article that the TPPA is a trade agreement that will undermine allied countries’ financial regulation, increase their drug prices, flood their economies with unsafe imported food and products and empower corporations to counter environmental and health safeguards before tribunals of corporate lawyers.
According to reports, the agreement has been negotiated in secret since March 2010 by the US and eight other countries, namely Peru, Malaysia, Australia, Chile, Vietnam, New Zealand, Brunei, and Singapore. Critics said the TPPA has one aim: ensure that big American multinationals are able to make more money out of the eight member countries.
On July 7, 2012, member organizations of Bayan-US joined protests where the participants wore aprons and banged on kitchen pots and pans as they marched through the streets of downtown San Diego to the Bayfront Hilton Hotel calling for a stop to the TPPA.
Allies, including members of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), marched with the Bayan -USA contingent. Speakers from around the US condemned the TPPA, saying that the citizens in the countries covered by the TPPA have already learned their lessons from the North American Free Trade Alliance (NAFTA) whose impositions led to massive migration of US industries to countries with less regulation and cheaper labor..... MORE