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Press Statement
July 5, 2012
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA, email:
Filipino-American Alliance Rejects Washington’s Call for an “American Pacific Century”
As the 13th round of negotiations for the new secret US-led free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), commences this week in San Diego, California, Filipino-Americans across the US under the banner of BAYAN USA resolutely join the growing peoples’ clamor against the TPPA and amplify our utmost condemnation of the Obama administration’s push to seize the markets of the Asia-Pacific rim via the imperialist economic sabotage scheme known as neoliberalism. We equally condemn the Obama administration’s hyped up geo-political military strategy inherent in any US economic neoliberal offensive– this time with a strong, renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
Secret Negotiations

Initiated by the US back in 2010– the same year US Secretary Hillary Clinton boasted of the pursuit of an “American Pacific Century” during the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Honolulu– the TPPA negotiations are carried out in secret. This is to achieve the US and negotiating parties’ objective of railroading the deal void of any direct intervention or scrutiny from the public, including civil society. At present, nine countries– United States, Malaysia, Peru, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, and Brunei– are taking part in the negotiations.
Larger than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the TPPA aims to destructively pave the way for greater US economic domination of the Pacific Rim. The negotiators have focused on 21 areas in crafting the TPPA’s structural frame of greater liberalization, deregulation, and privatization– business mobility, customs, competition, cooperation, e-commerce, environment, financial services, horizontal issues, government procurement, investment, intellectual property, labor, legal issues, market access, rules of origin, sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and telecommunication.
In the name of super-profit for the global financial oligarchy, the TPPA sets to economically pulverize and socially devastate the regional peoples of the Pacific Rim. As proven from the NAFTA experience, greater liberalization and deregulation of economies will allow for the massive migration of US industries to countries where they can achieve higher profitability due to cheap labor and raw material outputs. The migration of industries will result in mass layoffs in the US, and at the same time project superficial development in the recipient countries of the Asia-Pacific region, where in reality poverty and social desperation will deepen.
Workers are also bound to suffer greatly from the TPPA’s framework of attacking workers’ job security, wages and benefits, occupational safety, and weaken worker’s rights in general. It will also encourage systemic outmigration of workers as well as promote discrimination against migrant workers and women workers. In addition, the TPPA will wreck havoc on the environment, destroy local agriculture and sow food insecurity for the regional peoples.

Asia-Pacific: Workshop of the World

Aggravated by the global crisis they created through neoliberalism, indebted by the trillions from wasteful failed war efforts in the Middle East, and increasingly frustrated by the mounting class rage mobilizing an overburdened US working class, Washington is seeking to tap into the growing economies of the Asia-Pacific region in order to save its own economy.
For the US economy, the Asia-Pacific region is of strategic importance. It is home to over 60% of the global population, and is the world’s largest market for US exports worth nearly $1 trillion. Two-thirds of all US agricultural exports are sent to this region. JP Morgan Asset Management described the Asia Pacific as the “workshop of the world” because most of the goods used worldwide are produced in the region. In order to survive the economic crisis, Washington must ensure economic hegemony over the Asia-Pacific market.
Standing in its way, however, is the growing economic influence of one of the US economy’s biggest trading partners- China. Though the actual content of the negotiations remain a secret, it is obvious that Washington is using the TPPA to contain China’s emerging economic scope of influence in the region by intentionally excluding China from the negotiating table. As the US seeks to maintain profitable trade relations with China, it also seeks to isolate and contain its greatest competitor for the Asia-Pacific market. Inherent to this economic scheme is imperialist militarization and aggression, hence the US military pivot to the Asia-Pacific.
Neoliberalism Necessitates Structural Reactionary Violence
In tandem with his public declaration of re-balancing the US military to the Asia-Pacific region in January, the Obama administration continues to shift its military force in the form of greater deployment of US military personnel for basing in the region. This includes more US-led multi-lateral and bilateral war games as well as the increase and consolidation of military agreements that blatantly violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the regional countries.
Fanning the flames for a provocation of military aggression, Washington continues to sow an anti-China scare campaign through direct saber-rattling over territorial disputes between China and US allies in the region, such as the disputes over the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal. In its containment campaign, Washington appears to be stepping up a Cold War-era type arms race competition against China with its massive deployment of military arsenal to the region. In the Philippines alone, the Pentagon has stepped up its intrusive war games, deployed at least one US nuclear naval vessel, conducted fatal US drone exercises against civilian populations, and is set to deploy US spy planes.
Washington is also alarmed by the number of national liberation struggles in the region that threaten its imperialist interests. In countries with strong national liberation movements like the Philippines, Washington employs covert counter-insurgency tactics including increased state repression, intelligence-gathering, surveillance, politically-motivated killings and abductions of civilians critical of US foreign policy. These human rights violations are perpetrated by US proxy military forces and are protected by climates of impunity by the Philippine government.
Expose the Horrors of the US Neoliberal Economic Agenda
It is clear that Obama administration’s call for an “American Pacific Century” is a thinly-disguised continuation of the Bush administration’s war economy and  military industrial complex. The economic motivation for this must be exposed to the world in order to defeat it. The strength of people’s movements against the 1% are increasing as a response to global economic crisis. The TPPA will only aggravate the already desperate economy, placing the heavy burden upon the working-class poor and the 99% of the population who will not receive any benefit from this agreement.
BAYAN USA commends and joins all efforts to broaden the support and rally the people to expose and oppose the TPPA and all other US-led free trade agreements and schemes hell-bent on economically saving the global 1% at the expense of the struggling peoples of the world. We call on greater international solidarity between the American people and the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region against the renewed US imperialist economic intervention epitomized by the TPPA, and for the unconditional respect for the sovereignty and right to self-determination of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.