About 200 Protest Against Trans-Pacific Partnership

KGTV, San Diego

About 200 Protest Against Trans-Pacific Partnership

Trans-Pacific Partnership Between 11 Nations Would Be Largest Free-Trade Agreement In World

7 July 2012

SAN DIEGO — About two hundred people banging pots and pans marched downtown from the Civic Center Plaza to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel Saturday morning to protest a meeting of negotiators working to craft the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The trade agreement between 11 nations would be the largest free-trade agreement in the world.

Protesters say there are many reasons to oppose the proposed agreement and they say it is troubling that the negotiations have all been held behind closed doors.

These protestors say NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, has been a disaster for workers in the United States. They say Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, would be far worse.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership would be the largest free trade agreement ever," said protester Arthur Skamoulis. "Corporations have access to the negotiating texts while the public has been shut out. Our negotiators refuse to tell us what they’ve been proposing in our names."

Skamoulis and others protesting said what has leaked out of the negotiations is scary.

They say TPP would not only lead to less American jobs but they say it also threatens American sovereignty because they say it would give multinational corporations and private investors the right to sue nations in private tribunals.

Carol Guthrie, who is a delegate to the talks, said the goal of the negotiations is to help put Americans back to work by expanding trade in the Asian Pacific region.

"These are negotiations that seek to not only lower tariffs on American exports and lower trade tariffs in the Asian Pacific region, but also to break down some of the barriers that will block American exports from other countries," she told 10News.

10News captured video of one protester who was arrested.

"This is unlawful detainment," she said. "I have been denied the right to call my lawyer."

10News contacted San Diego police, who were unable to say why the woman was arrested.

This is the 13th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks, which wind up in San Diego on Sunday.