Last week Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Los Angeles to convince a decidedly American audience to support the Trans Pacific Partnership, the newly controversial trade pact that would link the US, Mexico, Chile, Peru and Canada with Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Brunei, Australia and New Zealand in a tariff-free zone accounting for nearly 40% of global trade. US Congressmen who wish to read the TPP agreements must do so alone in a locked room and are not permitted to take notes. Those who have done so say only two of the 26 chapters cover traditional trade matters. The bulk of the document, which must be accepted or rejected without any modification, consists of new rights and privileges for multinational corporations (especially international banks and pharmaceutical companies) and irrevocable constraints on government regulation.
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