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Patagonia red flags TPP
Dec '15
Leading American outdoor apparel brand, Patagonia, has criticized the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement between the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries saying it safeguards the interests of big business at the expense of environment, workers, consumers communities and small businesses.

“Now that full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been made public, we can say unequivocally that we oppose it, as it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses. This confirms our previous fears about the agreement's serious social and environmental costs,” the company said in a hard hitting statement on its website.

The TPP, crafted behind closed doors over a five-year period, may indeed cut tariffs, increase trade and build closer economic and regulatory relationships among its signatories, as its proponents say. But it will also weaken worldwide labour standards, harm the global environment, diminish regulatory safeguards and enable corporations and individuals that already have far too much influence, gain even more at the expense of everyone else, it added.

The proposed trade agreement was released to the public on November 5 and is now available for review and modification before the US Congress votes on it some months from now. Countries that are party to the agreement include: the U.S., Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru, which together represent about 800 million people and 40 per cent of global trade.

Among the reasons the Patagonia cited for opposing the multi-lateral treaty were that it lacked transparency as it was “created” behind closed doors and heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists and lawyers who stood to benefit the most. The proposed TPP also allegedly does not address environmental concerns and promotes the use of fossil fuels at the cost of renewable energy.

Patagonia further claimed that TPP was not aimed at improving food security but it benefited what it called “today's widespread model of industrial agriculture and food production based on GMOs, synthetic chemicals, antibiotics and additives.

The Agreement is also not weighed positively to benefit labour issues, Patagonia said, alleging that while it spoke about labour standards, it offered no new obligations on the suppliers to ensure that they followed the standards. On the investor-state dispute settlement it said, TPP allowed foreign companies to challenge domestic laws and regulations written to protect US consumers and communities. Instead of US courts arbitrating those disputes, the job would fall to the World Bank or a division of the United Nations.

“As Congress considers TPP, we must ask, who benefits? Does it serve the many, in our country and abroad, or only a few—those who have the economic and political muscle to get their interests written, opaquely and without public oversight, into law?” Patagonia said. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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