The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a multilateral free trade agreement currently being negotiated by nine countries in Asia and the Pacific region, among them the United States, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, and Peru: all countries where Columbans live and serve. States expressing interest in joining include Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. The agreement seeks comprehensive trade liberalization among its members with the eventual goal of encompassing the Asia/Pacific region.
In accordance with Catholic Social Teaching on the Dignity of Human Life, we advocate for trade agreements that strive for equitable and sustainable economic development with particular concern for people who are traditionally marginalized in the neo-liberal economic model such as small-scale and family farms and businesses, migrants, women, and indigenous peoples.
As currently proposed, TPP is cause for concern. Though the details of the agreement are still being negotiated, some controversial proposals have become public; including one that its opponents—all participants, except the U.S.—claim will unfairly facilitate brand-name companies’ monopolization of the pharmaceutical market.
More fundamentally worrisome at this point than any specific provisos is the secrecy with which the negotiations proceed. Public access to TPP-oriented meetings and information is heavily restricted.
We insist on our right as citizens to participate in the decision-making process to ensure a fair and dignified outcome for all. We therefore refer you to the following action alert: call on the U.S. Trade Representative to opt for full transparency in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership!