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By Cathy García
To promote investment and facilitate trade, Peru must privatize the public sector, including a massive assault on the functions of the judiciary, municipalities, and regional governments. On the other hand, for the US, NAFTA is a simple trade agreement in charge of the Department of Commerce.
The FTA with the United States is the most effective and ‘legal’ instrument for submitting Peru to the interests of imperialism. The TCL subverts the health of the people, the state constitution, environmental laws, agriculture, workers' rights and fundamentally national sovereignty. With this treaty, the US acquires the political and legal representation of its transnational companies that operate in Peru, in such a way that they can take cases to international commercial courts (also controlled by themselves) for arbitration and dispute resolution.
The transnationals also have the option of taking the Peruvian state before a secret court located in the World Bank if there are "barriers to investment and trade" in the country. Protection barriers, according to the FTA, are the environmental protection laws that try to regulate transnational corporations, public services, postal services, state universities, public libraries, mines, public management of drinking water, etc. To promote investment and facilitate trade, Peru must privatize the public sector, including a massive assault on the functions of the judiciary, municipalities, and regional governments. On the other hand, for the US, NAFTA is a simple trade agreement in charge of the Department of Commerce.
The clause ‘investor rights’ of the FTA allows a transnational company to bring the government of Peru to the World Bank court for any law that threatens ‘legitimate profits’. This represents the total immunity of the mining and oil transnationals that threaten the health of the people and pollute the environment.
The national agricultural job losses will be devastating due to the importation of subsidized and genetically modified agricultural products from US agribusiness companies. In disputes regarding intellectual property rights, patents, software, copyrights, and industrial designs, medicines, books, systems and entertainment technologies, Peru has given up everything without receiving anything in return. There were even additional agreements outside the negotiating table that were harmful to Peru (such as the phytosanitary control of imported meat). The FTA gives the US 20 years of monopoly, a period in which Peru must change its protection laws to favor transnationals. This measure will affect the health of the Peruvian people due to the high cost of medicines and the proliferation of adulterated drugs in the market.
The FTA gives transnational companies the right to patent medicinal plants (new and traditional), it gives the biodiversity of our country in perpetuity, including biogenetic seeds.
Under NAFTA, the privatizations of drinking water and public hospitals promoted by the World Bank will be deepened. APRA is an accomplice in this crime against the Peruvian people. In Congress, in alliance with the toledistas, he prepares the approval of the FTA by giving the people his first stab in the back. And that without having formally taken power (but already co-governing with Toledo). García Pérez (before the elections) offered to renegotiate the contracts signed with transnational energy companies (gas and oil), he promised to collect fair taxes from the transnationals, including over-profits due to the high prices of metals and hydrocarbons. Those promises are false because NAFTA prohibits it. According to the "investments" section of the FTA, these measures are illegal because they are considered "indirect expropriation" and the transnationals will request compensation. So why does APRA strive to approve it with Toledo and implement it? Because their offers were leaps into the void, demagoguery to deceive the people once again. The Aprista rhetoric of redistributing profits from oil, gas or mining are siren songs. He also offered to lower the electricity rate, telephone service and "water for all" (drinking water and sewage for 500 thousand people in 6 months). Gross lie.
Once the FTA is signed and implemented, forget about improving basic services controlled by the untouchable transnationals. Peru will not be able to give measures in favor of the people, of the consumers. The TLC is the celebration of the transnationals and the funeral of the Peruvians. That's why they invest millions of dollars in propaganda (they have covered all the TV and the written press). With the FTA, the conditions of exploitation of the Peruvian worker are guaranteed for decades, and the conditions of exploitation of our wealth ceded in perpetuity.
Will the economic situation of Peru improve with the FTA as Toledo and García Pérez say? Due to the ATPDEA, asparagus and other agro-industrial products from the coast began to be exported. Agricultural production grew in some places (such as ICA with 100 companies for example), the transnational mining sector also grew. But did workers' wages improve? Did I improve the standard of living of the population on the coast? No. According to the Ministry of Labor, from 2000 to 2004, the average remuneration of an executive in Ica grew 56%, while the average remuneration of workers increased only 0.5%. Considering the rise in the cost of living in the same period (5-10%), the living standards of workers and their families deteriorated. So what is the use of Peru being! the first asparagus producer? Therefore, the publicity of the government and APRA that states that free trade is a guarantee of social welfare is false. Redistributive policies will be bound by NAFTA.
And that of the dream of "Sierra exportadora" and the avocados of Puno (refried from Fujimontecinism). The boastful García Pérez says: "Peru should no longer produce potatoes, corn or wheat, but chili peppers and asparagus." Mr. García, how many people eat asparagus compared to those who eat potatoes and corn in Peru? "Sierra exportadora" is importing transgenic potatoes and corn (the so-called frankeistein food) from the US so that our bellies swell. While the potatoes of Andahuaylas and Anta rot and the thousands of peasants and their families starve. What is needed instead of FTA: an agrarian policy for Peru to produce food and take it to the national market to guarantee the health of the people. The surplus is exported. That is agrarian policy. The consumption of fish (pejerrey and others), beans (our favorite dish should be the color of the flag rice with beans) should be promoted. Peru must produce milk and eliminate that shameful welfare state from the glass of powdered milk. And above all, Peru needs work and only a national industry and a national agriculture provide work for the masses. Not the illusory "compensations" of NAFTA damages from counterfeiters and Pharisees who enter the government.
In short, the TLC represents:
1) The aggression against the sovereignty of Peru and the Constitution.
2) The reduction of the role of the State in protecting the health of the people, the environment, the tax system and the national culture. Access to lower-cost generic drugs will be restricted, a measure that affects the lives and health of millions of Peruvians.
3) The control of the transnationals and the international banking of the political decisions of Peru. The role of national institutions will be reduced to being simple accessories of free trade and investment, in other words, to the interests of transnationals: The armed forces will increase their repression of the peasantry, SUNAT will continue to exempt them from millionaire taxes, INDECOPI will bet for the monopoly, the Ministry of Labor for the "voluntary" dismissals and postponement of PAMAs, the Ministry of Education will fight to imprison Senderista teachers, and so on.
4) The liquidation of national agriculture that will not be able to compete with subsidized and highly productive US agribusiness corporations. Liquidation of family and community agriculture that constitutes about 76% of irrigated farmland.
5) The right of transnational companies to patent our plants and biodiversity.
6) More unemployment, corruption, hunger and misery.