Citizens should question the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Dear Singaporeans,

I’m writing this chilly morning from Kabul, Afghanistan where the autumn season is already winter cold. Many warm and sincere thoughts to all of you!

I hope you won’t presume that the people of Afghanistan have central heating or even sufficiently warm clothing.

I hope you won’t presume that the Afghan war is winding down, or that the U.S. / NATO troops are completely withdrawing, or that the coalition has done ordinary Afghans a whole lot of good.

But, these issues are too remote for people outside Afghanistan. Ironically, in the age of social media, human beings are so cavernously disconnected, especially over life and death issues.

So, closer to home, I hope that you won’t presume that simply because the Singapore Government is negotiating the U.S-driven, behind-the-corporate-curtains Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade ‘partnership’ deliberately excluding China, and more significantly, deliberately excluding democratic public knowledge and discussion, that the ‘trade partnership’ is good for us.

We cannot presume that, somehow, we can trust the ‘wheelers and dealers’ to make commoners ‘richer’.

There are thankfully awakened global citizens who are questioning the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as free human beings should. An example can be found in this article Former US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who now has a lucrative job in the private sector advising transnational corporations for the law firm Gibson Dunn, said that if people knew what was in the TPP, there would be no way to get it signed into law.”

I was glad that a Straits Times Editorial some months ago has asked for a more open discussion.


Best from Kabul,

Dr Hakim / Young

17th November, 2013
*Read Dr Wee’s previous article here.

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Write up of Trans-Pacific Partnership in Wikipedia.

The 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4) is a trade agreement among Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. Its purported aims are to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.

Since 2010, negotiations have been taking place for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposal for a significantly expanded version of TPSEP. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement under negotiation by (as of August 2013) Australia,Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam.

The TPP is ostensibly intended to be a “high-standard” agreement aimed at emerging trade issues in the 21st century. These ongoing negotiations have drawn criticism and protest from the public, advocacy groups, and elected officials, in part due to the secrecy of the negotiations, the expansive scope of the agreement, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.

On November 13, 2013, a complete draft of the treaty’s Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks.


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