Throw into this mix the current U.S. presidential race. So too could strong statements by U.S. presidential contenders have an influence. Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, has been opposed to NAFTA from the start and is a harsh and outspoken critic of the TPP and its investment chapter. Sanders has made this one of his campaign issues and Hillary Clinton, under heavy pressure from the more populist Sanders, said in the fall of 2015 that she would not support the TPP in its current form. Not surprisingly, given her past support of trade agreements, she has largely avoided the issue on the campaign trail. But the Democratic party base deeply opposes the agreement, and a broad coalition of citizen groups under the Citizens Trade Campaign is rallying people against it. On the Republican side, all the remaining candidates support the TPP save the frontrunner and likely Republican nominee, Donald Trump. Trump has attacked the TPP, charging that it will accelerate the shift of good U.S. jobs to Asia.
In the context of this fluid debate, it is crucial for academics, activists, politicians, and citizens in the United States and around the globe to speak out against this outrageous assault on democracy enshrined in the TPP. In the longer-run, we need a truly democratic set of rules to replace the current investor provisions in trade agreements, a new set of rules that do not give global corporations unfair advantage over people and the environment. This is not pie in the sky; promising alternatives have been raised in the trans-Atlantic trade negotiations that are going on right now.
In the short term, however, the current TPP strengthens these undemocratic rules. The TransCanada case offers new chilling evidence as to why these agreements are a danger to the environment, to workers, and to democracy, and why the TPP must be stopped.
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