Chicagoland Foreign Trade Zones and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Today’s Democracy Now reported on a leaked chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that is being negoited in secret by the Commerce Department. See Public Citizen for details,(, but it fills in part of what and why the establishment of foreign trade zones and toward what end. Key provisions included in the open ended pact allow new members to join with out renegotiating. It is a binding international legal contract that could eventually be imposed globably giving corporations (private wealth) superior rights to nation states. To the extent that a corporation’s activities harmed a community or society as a whole, the injured party would have to pay for the right not to be harmed. The loss of potential profit or the cost of
complying with health/safety standards is defined as an injury to the corporation.

  • Limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms;
  • Extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries;
  • Establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges; and
  • Allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.

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