As in Colombia, will farmers go bankrupt in Malaysia with the TPPA?

Malaysia is in negotiations to enter the TPPA [Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement] together with 11 other countries. It is not unknown that these negotiations are being held privately, the contents are kept secret, so the members of the public remain unaware of the real consequences of this Agreement.

Coincidentally, these days we have news from Colombia.  The BBC has reported that thousands on small-scale farmers are on strike in Colombia, protesting against the enforcement of a Free Trade Agreement with the US and EU which is driving them bankrupt. The protests have already caused 2 dead and dozens of injured people.

US-Colombia Trade Agreement? Sounds too similar to the TPPA, right? Now I understand why the TPPA is kept secret. And I fear that the same that is happening in Colombia will happen in Malaysia if it enters the TPPA.

(Did you know that the TPPA is called by some the “mother of all free-trade deals” and by others the “Corporate Deathstar.”?)

The story Strike in Colombia Highlights Free Trade Failure analyzes the consequences of the US-Colombia Trade Agreement on people, and it compares it with NAFTA, a similar Free Trade Agreements involving Mexico. Below I have highlighted the more important (more terrifying) consequences of these FTAs.

Colombia

The US-Colombia Trade Agreement went into effect May, 2012. […] The new agreement forces Colombian farmers “to compete against heavily subsidized US products” and an Oxfam report estimates “that the average income of 1.8 million grossly under-protected small farmers will fall by 16 percent.” “The study concludes that 400,000 farmers who now live below the minimum wage will see their incomes drop by up to 70 percent and will thus be forced out of their livelihoods.”

 

The Colombian trade agreement is hurting Colombia’s small farmers and they are reacting. They are pitted against America’s giant, industrialized, government-subsidized farms and losing the battle. And in America these giant, corporate farms largely only enrich the 1%, providing low wages for the rest and forcing smaller American farmers out of business as well.

Mexico

This is similar to the after-effect of the NAFTA agreement that allowed US-subsidized corn into Mexican markets, wiping out many small farmers and sending them north desperately looking for work. NAFTA forced at least 4,000 pig farms under, losing 120,000 jobs. (China being the beneficiary, now buying American pork-producer Smithfield.) It helped increase rural poverty from 35% to 55%. Tobacco and coffee farmers also went under.

 

A Wilson Center report says NAFTA “Subsidized Inequality,” displacing “many hundreds of thousands of small-scale corn producers.” A McClatchy report estimates the number of Mexican corn-farming jobs lost at 2 million, worsening illegal migration.

 

If we don’t want to become Colombia or Mexico, Malaysia should not sign the TPPA.

 

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Image copied from Earth First! Newswire.

 

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