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Why "Fast Track" for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Needs to be Derailed

[Updated from original publication on Jan. 30, 2014]

Update - March 20, 2014 - Thoughtworks along with 29 other tech companies signed this letter that will be delivered to Sen. Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, US Senate,  expressing concern and opposition to fast track authorization for TPP. 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a major new international trade agreement that has been developed in secret closed-door sessions by trade negotiators from twelve nations. From what we have been able to learn via leaks, the TPP is very good for global corporations and very bad for everyone else.

Recently, legislation has been introduced in the US Congress to grant the TPP “fast track” authority, drastically reducing Congress’ authority to determine trade relations and effectively snuffing out any prospect of a public debate.  In the technology domain alone, the TPP will have a major (negative) impact on the internet, copyright and patent law. Its full scope undermines progressive policies around workers rights, environmental and health standards, agriculture and much more.

If signed this agreement would become the largest international trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and would impact 800 million people, a third of world trade, and 40% of the global economy. During its drafting, 600 corporate advisors have been given full access to the working text, but to date there has been no opportunity for public review or debate.

We are appalled at this bald-faced attempt to undermine the democratic process by steamrolling through a potentially very damaging framework that puts the interests of powerful multinational corporations over those of nations and their citizens. Stopping Fast Track Authority for TPP in the US Congress will put the brakes on this cynical tactic to usurp power from the people. It will force a meaningful debate in public and in Congress about whether this agreement is in the best interests of the millions it will impact.

For all these reasons, Thoughtworks has joined a huge coalition of organizations that oppose Fast Track for the TPP. Since its inception on January 22nd, more than 100 new groups have joined the effort at StopFastTrack.com, including Coalition for a Prosperous America, Ben & Jerry’s, Free Software Foundation, SumOfUs, Democracy for America, Friends of the Earth, Namecheap, and CREDO -- adding to an already impressive list of groups like Thoughtworks, reddit, Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, MoveOn, LabelGMOs, and Fight for the Future.

The social-media-fueled campaign has been embraced by more than 120 organizations and coincided with more than 50 rallies and teach-ins across the U.S., Canada and Mexico last week alone. Nearly 600,000 people have signed petitions or sent emails to lawmakers, and members of Congress have already received more than 40,000 phone calls from constituents who oppose Fast Track. A simultaneous social media push known as a Thunderclap reached 5.4 million users and received support from actor Mark Ruffalo, author Cory Doctorow, and tech celebrity Tim O’Reilly.

See the full list of 120 organizations participating: http://stopfasttrack.com

See photos from more than 50 protests and events: http://stopfasttrack.com/#photos

Read "Fast-Track Opponents Rally Support" in the Washington Post to learn more about our efforts. 

 If you are interested in participating in future action to protest against TPP, contact us at socialjustice@thoughtworks.com

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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