US intent in sealing controversial deal to open greater opportunities for its corporations
Research group IBON once again urges President Aquino who is attending the summit of South East Asian leaders to quit seeking membership in the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Philippines should opt out of the workshop being offered by the US for prospective TPP members, the group said.
The first of its kind, the US-Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held in the United States promises to expand economic cooperation and advance peace and security in the region. This, amid global economic challenges and some tension caused by China’s assertive moves over the disputed South China Sea.
At the summit, US President Obama announced a US-ASEAN trade workshop series to usher more members into its Trans Pacific Partnership. According to IBON, the US is intent in sealing the controversial free trade deal to open greater opportunities for its corporations for instance through uninhibited movement in almost all economic activities, stricter intellectual property rules, and priority for investor rights over public welfare. The US has been experiencing economic woes comparable to those during the Great Depression.
But while US corporations may benefit from the TPP, IBON reiterated that other nations, including the Philppines, stand to lose from the corporate-biased deal. Investment liberalization, for example, will intensify global value chains (GVCs), which is what big foreign companies will make of local small and medium enterprises. GVCs will not only spell lower wages but also undermine local industries and their contribution to domestic development as they will be subsumed by global industries, IBON said.
According to the group, the US is engaging ASEAN for its foreign policy self-interest and not to develop the region. ASEAN is being used as a strategic economic, political and military hub of the US pivot to Asia to contain China and strengthen its domination of the region.
IBON said that President Aquino should primarily push for the people and the nation’s interests. The President should not allow the TPP to exploit the country’s natural resources and industries because these should be put to use in nurturing the Filipino people and developing a truly inclusive Philippine economy first and foremost, said the group.