The activists attending the Florida Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) event at the Roosevelt 2.0 in Ybor City on Saturday marched together in the belief that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a "global corporate takeover" and a "New World Order" that must be stopped.
According to Public Citizen, the (TPP) is a trade agreement between nations of the Pacific Rim. The nations include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and Japan. The public, as well as Congress, have been kept in the dark about these negotiations. Only the people involved in the negotiations and about 600 U.S. corporations have been kept in the loop.
Terry Weeks, a former chair of the SunCoast Sierra Club, spoke out about the environmental fears associated with TPP. She reminded the audience that "TPP is more than just tariffs and that it is more than just trade." Only 5 or so of the chapters are directly associated with trade.
The activists stressed that the secrecy is a likely sign that the policies in the negotiations are not in the best interest of the public and may continue to benefit the major corporations in their efforts to globalize and increase their profits.
Lorraine Tuliano, the President of Central Florida Central Labor Council AFL-CIO, spoke about the uncertain security for labor laws and employment.
"The secrecy prevents us from knowing whether or not the TPP will be good for us or if it will be another business as usual agreement," she said.
The secrecy of the TPP seemed to be the over-arching worry for the activists. They speculated that the TPP could be similar to NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). Many of them believe that NAFTA was a corporate power tool to benefit the special interests corporations who created and pushed for it. Steve Wisniewski, the president of Communications Workers of America Local 3108, claimed that TPP is likely to be another corporate tool and that "we can't afford a NAFTA on steroids."
Though not much about the TPP has been made public, several parts of the trade agreement have been leaked.
The activists fear that the partnership will give more power to corporations that can threaten American freedoms, public health, and the global environment. Community activists like Dominique Aulisio fear that the TPP "will make protective laws toothless."
The activists encouraged public support and the spread of public awareness regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Aulisio reports that President Barack Obama has plans to conclude the negotiations by October 2013. Many of them believe that it is important for the public to stand together against this agreement.