Model legislation for local “TPP Free Zones”

March 16, 2016
The Alliance for Democracy
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Global corporations are engaged in a series of elaborately planned moves to take away our democratic rights, and currently, nowhere is that more evident than in the promotion of multinational trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Alliance for Democracy’s TPP-Free Zone campaign encourages communities to organize proactively against the TPP.  This campaign also provides a basis for establishing strong local rights as part of a global movement for economic and environmental justice.

Alliance for Democracy launched our TPP Free Zone Campaign in August of this year at the Democracy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin. In workshops on trade and at the Anti-TPP rally on the Capitol steps, we challenged Madison to become the first TPP Free Zone in the country.  Now Dane County, where Madison is located, has become the first TPP-Free Zone in the country and Madison has passed a very strong anti-TPP resolution.  Other cities like Berkeley CA are considering taking similar action.

Our goal is to create a body of local law.  Resolutions are an intermediate step, but an important one for public education about the local impacts of the TPP like banning “buy local” rules and for sending a strong message to  Congress that they will face resistance if they attempt to adopt TPP. The resolutions lay the groundwork for passage of TPP Free Zone ordinances if the TPP is approved, over-riding local laws.  The message is one of resistance:  “We will not obey!”

TPP-Free Zone: Model Legislation
Whereas the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) is being negotiated between the US and 12 or more Pacific Rim countries by the US Trade Representative in secret without any consultation with our local government either directly or through the National League of Cities or the US Conference of Mayors or the National Association of Counties; and

Whereas, the text is being drafted with transnational corporations which will benefit greatly from its rules;

Whereas, the TPP text has not been made available to the public or even to our local officials; 

Whereas the TPP would have direct, potentially undesirable consequences for our municipality, its people, its local businesses, and its ecological systems on which all life depends;

Whereas the Investment Chapter of the TPP, which was leaked in 2012, would allow foreign corporations to sue the US and its states over any law or regulation violating TPP rules which could take away their “right” to future profits and therefore potentially rob our municipality of needed protections for our people, local businesses and environment;

Whereas TPP financial rules would prevent regulation of risky financial products such as “interest rate swaps” thereby threatening the financial stability of our government and more broadly the stability of our overall economy;

Whereas US, state and local food safety rules could be challenged by foreign corporations as “illegal trade barriers” if higher than standards in other TPP countries thus threatening the health of our residents;

Whereas the TPP would provide large pharmaceutical firms with new rights and powers to increase medicine prices and limit access to cheaper generic drugs which would impact our residents;

Whereas the US would agree to waive “Buy American” or “Buy Local” requirements aimed at enhancing our local economy and creating local jobs;

Whereas, we would have no right or ability to represent our interests before the foreign tribunals which would have the authority to hear cases brought by corporations under the TPP;  and

Whereas such rulings might require taxpayer compensation which could impact the financial health of our municipality and its residents;

Therefore the City/Town Council of _______________ hereby declares as a matter of law that _______________ is a TPP-Free Zone where we will not recognize the secretly negotiated rules laid down without our consent nor any decisions by any secret tribunals which would in any way diminish our ability to act in the best interest of our residents and our local businesses and to protect our ecological systems on which all life is based. 

Further, we will convey our ordinance to our Congressional delegation, to President Obama and to US Trade Representative Michael Froman, with our demand that all text be made public and that all further negotiations cease.

And finally, if despite the harm to our community and our nation, Congress approves the TPP, we will take all necessary measures to ensure that this ordinance is enforced.