A series of protest and educational events are being planned to coincide with talks scheduled to take place at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a new trade agreement that would further lower trade barriers between at least twelve countries around the Pacific Rim. The talks, scheduled to take place March 9 through 15, will involve trade and industry representatives to work out details preceding a ministerial-level meeting in April. At least 12 countries –The U.S., Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada–have been participating in the talks, though South Korea and additional Latin American countries have made noises about joining. The Obama Administration, at its official Web site on the talks, calls the TPP the “cornerstone” of its trade policy and maintains that in addition to attempting to open more markets to U.S.-made products, the administration is negotiating for “robust environment standards and commitments from member countries” and “strong and enforceable labor standards” in all the signatory nations. But opponents claim that the treaty will lead to the export of millions of American jobs, strengthen pharmaceutical monopolies, encourage the privatization of lands and resources used by indigenous peoples, and erode national sovereignty in favor of corporate power.
Protest groups plan to place peaceful pickets around the resort throughout the week, culminating in a peaceful protest rally n Saturday, March 14, from 11. a.m. to 1 p.m. They have also scheduled events with “educational speakers” at the Hilo Women’s Club on Wednesday, March 11, at 6 p.m., and at the West Hawaii Civic Center Council Chambers in Kono on Friday, March 13, at 6 p.m. Among those speaking will be a representative from Global Access to Medicine; The Third World Network, and Unite Here, Local 5; as well as Palekapu Dedman of the Pele Defense Fund and Dr. Jane Kelsey from the University University of Auckland, New Zealand.
For more information about the proposed treaty, visit the Obama Administration’s TTP Web site. For a good independent overview of the issues involved, see this article in Salon. For more information about the protests, contact or visit:
Malu ‘Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Ola’a (Kurtistown) Hawai’i 96760
Email email@example.com www.malu-aina.org