Congressman Grayson: TPP creates parallel legal system, threatens U.S. sovereignty

These international courts will be manned by corporate lobbyists who will act as both attorneys and judges in this parallel legal system. It will be operated by the United Nations and the World Bank. Consequently, with a supranational court presiding over disputes and lording over American law, there is little that can be done to prevent a massive erosion of American sovereignty by the multinationals in the face of corporate profiteering.

By Taylor Rose | January 23, 2014

WASHINGTON— The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “creates a parallel court system that has never existed before and will usurp U.S. sovereignty” warned Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) in an exclusive interview with SFPPR News and Analysis.

The devil is in the details.  According to the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), the TPP agreement “would give multinational companies the power to sue counties over laws that might diminish the value of their company or cut into their expected future profits.”

In light of this revelation, Congressman Grayson, an avowed liberal with a zero American Conservative Union rating, then warns that the future of American sovereignty and constitutionalism are in grave danger.

These international courts, according to Grayson “will be manned by corporate lobbyists who will act as both attorneys and judges in this parallel legal system. It will be operated by the United Nations and the World Bank.” Consequently, with a supranational court presiding over disputes and lording over American law, there is little that can be done to prevent a massive erosion of American sovereignty by the multinationals in the face of corporate profiteering.

Grayson believes that “multinational corporations have been at the center of support” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and indicts the TPP as being “an agreement of the multinational corporations, for the multinational corporations and by the multinational corporations.” And, clearly, the Obama administration has bought into this paradigm.

Secret negotiations

Grayson’s concerns originate from the fact that “the agreement has been negotiated in secret away from oversight” by the USTR and that “the so-called advisors to the trade representatives…have been coming up with the basic parameters of the agreement…are over 80% corporate lobbyists.”

This corresponds with SFPPR’s research, where SFPPR News & Analysis contributor Rachel Alexander cites how in place of congressional representatives “corporate representatives are making decisions on everything related to trade” but even worse, these meetings are being held in secret.

Grayson does not see either the UN or the World Bank pressing for the passage of this agreement, but rather “the net result of this agreement is that we are handing over our sovereignty to these two organizations.”

This secretive, networking leads Grayson to conclude that the establishment support – big business, the Democrat and Republican parties – for granting President Obama fast track or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in order to ram the TPP through Congress originates from “a bureaucratic-corporate partnership that is out of control.” TPA would clearly put constitutionalism at risk, whereby Article 1, Section 8 states, “The Congress shall have the power… regulate commerce with foreign nations.” By giving the executive fast track, Congress abrogates its constitutional responsibility.

Given this, plus accusing Republicans in Congress of “being loyal to their corporate owners,” Grayson sees a bleak future for American sovereignty and workers.

Further globalization of trade

The TPP is simply one part of a massive U.S. trade globalization plan that includes the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union. “This is being depicted as a trade agreement,” when Grayson thinks it is not, but rather it is a plan to increase corporate profits at the expense of national sovereignty and the American working class.

Grayson also subscribes to the notion that if the TPP and the parallel European agreement are passed by Congress that “America will become fundamentally nothing more than a consumerist society, where all of our industry exists abroad.”

These warnings echo a similar concern expressed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who fears that the implementation of Trade Promotion Authority and the resulting passage of the TPP and TTIP will create a “global trade zone.”

Far worse than NAFTA

Grayson also fears the possible economic consequences levied on the American worker. He cites how NAFTA impoverished both American workers and Mexican farmers and that if the TPP is passed, “this will be far worse” than NAFTA.

Under NAFTA, the United States’ trade deficit grew immensely. Grayson predicts the TPP will quadruple the U.S. trade deficit over the next 10 years.

Grayson’s fears are not unfounded given that over 700,000 jobs have been “lost or displaced” by NAFTA according to an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) briefing and the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico was a staggering $50.1 billion in 2013, when in 1993 there was a $1.6 billion surplus.

Grayson cites how the trade agreements “essentially undercut our own labor standards” and warns that the agreement will place American workers in “direct competition with workers in Viet Nam who make around .30 per hour, whereas our workers make more like $30 per hour.”

Because of how Viet Nam and other nations such as Malaysia have “few to no safety protections for their workers,” it contrasts sharply with America’s high safety standards. Consequently, the American worker will always be out performed by what Grayson calls the “slave labor” of Viet Nam. Hence, he says the agreement will be used by Viet Nam “to have a favorable export market for its goods.”

All of this leads the congressman to conclude that Viet Nam, as well as other Pacific Third World nations, engage in “unfair” trade competition with the United States through free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership resulting in higher profits for corporations, a growth in disparity between the rich and poor and a displaced American labor force.

According to Bloomberg, the “TPP agreement will only happen if President Obama is able to get Trade Promotion (or fast-track) Authority from Congress,” thereby providing a glimmer of hope to opponents of the TPP, that if the TPA can be stalled, the TPP and TTIP may not pass at all.

Grayson sees light at the end of the tunnel where “fundamentally both left and right will despise this agreement for its deindustrialization policies along with the gross violations of our national sovereignty” and therefore stop implementation of what Grayson calls “NAFTA on steroids.”

In the final analysis

The Democratic-left will continue to oppose global trade deals like NAFTA, CAFTA-DR and the proposed TPP largely based on labor union issues. Pro-free trade globalist Republicans will give their knee-jerk support up until the end, when Democrat votes are needed for passage, then there’s compromise. Rogues like Grayson on the Democratic side of the isle will never vote for such global trade agreements, if they remain true to “their” principles. Ron Paul-type Republicans would never vote for such trade agreements either.

At the end of the day, the establishment Democrats and Republicans in Congress, with the backing of the business establishment, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will vote yea. Opposition to such damaging NAFTA-like free trade agreements depends on conservative congressmen and senators true to their principles backed by strong grassroots tea party organizations across the country in an uneasy coalition with the Graysons in Congress.  Grayson, however, appears to hold a unique perspective in his push against fast track and the TPP basing his opposition on great American principles like upholding the Constitution and preserving American sovereignty and independence.

In regards to alternative solutions, Grayson believes that rather than supporting the TPP, the United States needs to create “an honest” trade relationship with Asia, which starts with preventing “China from manipulating our currency.”

“This has been a problem for at least 15 years,” Grayson said, adding that “China alters the correct relationship between our currency and theirs” in order to give their country the advantage in dealing with the United States. In the meantime, they accumulate enormous amounts of U.S. assets.”

Finally, Grayson thinks that NAFTA should be repealed immediately as “it has been the only trade agreement to impoverish both Mexican and American workers.” Now, that’s an idea that’s long overdue and one that tea parties nationwide can embrace.

An undisputed leader of the early conservative movement in America, William Rusher, the former publisher of William Buckley’s National Review, would certainly have garnered the applause of many a tea party today for his 1978 statement critical of the multinational corporations saying quite emphatically, “I am damned if I see much point in letting such important matters as American foreign policy be run by a handful of multinational corporations, their lawyers, and their government friends.”  How apropos William Rusher’s admonishment would be today, with respect to U.S. trade policy.

Taylor Rose is a graduate of Liberty University with a B.A. in International Relations from the Helms School of Government. Fluent in English and German he has worked and studied throughout Europe specializing in American and European politics. He is a prolific writer and author of the book Return of the Right an analysis on the revival of Conservatism in the United States and Europe. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.