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cali

(114,904 posts)
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:13 AM Aug 2013

Fuck the TPP. It's worse than you think.

Views from Australia and Chile.

TPP: The fight over investment rights

(Amy Schwebel is a research officer for the Australian Council of Trade Unions.)

After three-and-a-half years of negotiation, the investment chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade agreement being negotiated by countries across Asia and the Pacific, remains hotly contested. A key issue is the so-called investor-state dispute (ISDS) settlement provisions. Australia is the only country in the negotiations opposing the inclusion of ISDS, and is the only country to have signed a bilateral trade agreement with the US that excludes ISDS provisions.

Since the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the US has required trading partners to include clauses in trade agreements that elevate the rights of foreign investors above domestic investors and, most importantly, above governments. Put bluntly, that makes international corporations more powerful than governments and limits the ability of those governments to introduce legislation and policies that promote and protect the interests of their citizens.

The result has seen a flurry of litigation by corporations suing governments for perceived losses. Over $365 million in compensation has been paid out to foreign investors since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, while $13.1 billion of further damages could result from pending claims.

Recently, US-based pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced it will sue the Canadian Government over a decision on a drug patent. Canada argues that the decision on the ADHD drug was in line with existing medicine patent standards, and a Canadian court decided not to hear Eli Lilly's appeal. The corporation is seeking compensation through international arbitration established by ISDS.

In 2012, there were 58 new cases filed under ISDS, the highest number ever in one year, bringing the total number of known cases to 514.

<snip>

http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2013/08/01/TPP-The-investment-chapter-fight.aspx


The simple calculus of the TPP: Corporations over states

(T.A. Kahn is an international trade and investment consultant and freelance writer based in Washington D.C.)

The TPP process is a hotbed of controversy. The negotiators themselves remain far apart on critical issues such as market access for sensitive products, intellectual property and environmental regulation. Consumer protection groups, labor unions and NGOs have strongly criticized the new trade rules as well as the opacity of the negotiations.

Still, the message coming out of Malaysia last week was that an agreement will be signed by the end of the year, if not in October at the annual APEC summit. Spurred on by the U.S., governments including Chile’s appear intent on pushing through an agreement by the end of the year — and ironing out the details later.

Earlier this year, I argued that the TPP is a bad deal for Chile: It requires considerable sacrifices while promising little in return.

<snip>

The proposed rules on intellectual property, for example, would require TPP partners to automatically grant strong patent protections to pharmaceuticals companies already having patents in another TPP country. Such a rule, part of a U.S. proposal, would limit the availability of generic drugs and raise the price of medical care in developing TPP countries. Chile and five other countries have resisted this approach and drafted a statement of principles on access to medicine that they want reflected in the agreement. It remains unclear how this dispute will be resolved.

<snip>

http://www.santiagotimes.cl/opinion/op-ed/26529-the-simple-calculus-of-the-tpp-corporations-over-states

18 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Fuck the TPP. It's worse than you think. (Original Post) cali Aug 2013 OP
What could go wrong? Just about everything cali Aug 2013 #1
That word keeps popping up more and more frequently, stakeholders Fumesucker Aug 2013 #2
Speaking of "stakeholders" cali Aug 2013 #3
"...a secretive regional free trade/investor rights initiative..." Buns_of_Fire Aug 2013 #11
last stage of global corporate takeover nt Mojorabbit Aug 2013 #12
I'm not sure how quickly this terrible deal written by hundreds of corporate attorney's midnight Aug 2013 #4
before it can happen, the admin has to get Congress cali Aug 2013 #5
soldout mtasselin Aug 2013 #7
Actually, the Senate and the House will have to approve the TPP - at least that has been the case pampango Aug 2013 #9
so corporations are being given even more economy manipulation power and international governance geckosfeet Aug 2013 #6
Deals like this could be a good thing, but usually aren't Babel_17 Aug 2013 #8
"that makes international corporations more powerful than governments Zorra Aug 2013 #10
"elevate the rights of foreign investors above domestic investors" GiaGiovanni Aug 2013 #13
Nah, not worse. About exactly what I expect. malthaussen Aug 2013 #14
A GOP administration could never have gotten away with this leftstreet Aug 2013 #15
huh? yes, they would have and they've done so in the past under shrub cali Aug 2013 #16
No, I mean Democrats would be screaming leftstreet Aug 2013 #17
oh. maybe. The thing is there's so damned little about the TPP in the MSM cali Aug 2013 #18
 

cali

(114,904 posts)
1. What could go wrong? Just about everything
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:32 AM
Aug 2013

10 Reasons Why Food Justice Activists Should Care about the TPP: Trans Pacific Partnership
RESOURCES


The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a secretive regional free trade/investor rights initiative led by the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, with an open-docking clause allowing for additional countries to join. In theory, the TPP seeks to increase trade in the region by opening up markets and reducing barriers to trade. The 15th round of negotiations will take place on December 3-12, 2012, in Auckland, New Zealand. Participants aim to conclude negotiations by the end of 2013.

1) Farmers are not at the table: access to meetings and materials are limited to officials and corporate stakeholders, despite widespread protests over the lack of public transparency.

2) U.S agricultural representatives are predominantly Big-Ag supporters, including Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, and Walmart.

3) The chief agricultural negotiator for the U.S. is a former Monsanto lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui.

4) Under investor protection measures in the TPP, Big-Ag corporations can take countries to court for trying to control the kinds of food they import (in a recent example, Mexico was ordered to pay Cargill $95 million dollars for blocking high-fructose corn syrup).

<snip>
http://fairworldproject.org/in-the-news/10-reasons-why-food-justice-activists-should-care-about-the-tpp-trans-pacific-partnership/

Fumesucker

(45,851 posts)
2. That word keeps popping up more and more frequently, stakeholders
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 05:34 AM
Aug 2013

Stakeholders was one of the terms of art used during the Obamacare negotiations to exclude people like single payer advocates.

Evidently one's life, health and welfare don't add up to a "stake" in society.

 

cali

(114,904 posts)
3. Speaking of "stakeholders"
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 05:42 AM
Aug 2013

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2013- The new U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Michael Froman met with agricultural stakeholders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week, providing his perspective on ongoing trade deals and accompanying challenges.

He spoke with Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue to discuss “The Next Step for the American Trade Agenda” in a public forum Tuesday.

Froman said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the trade negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that includes the U.S. and eleven other countries in the Asia Pacific region will be completed by the end of the year.

<snip>

Also this week, USA Rice Federation reported that its president, Betsy Ward, attended an invitation-only roundtable discussion on agricultural trade with Froman and USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator Islam Siddiqui this week.

<snip>

http://www.agri-pulse.com/USTR-outlines-ambitious-trade-deals-as-Froman-term-begins-7312013.asp

yeah, The Chamber of Commerce and the USA Rice Federationg; some stakeholders. And people should be very concerned about Siddiqui. He's a truly awful former lobbyist for Monsanto, Dupont and others. He's in charge of negotiating ag issues in the TPP for the U.S.

Buns_of_Fire

(17,219 posts)
11. "...a secretive regional free trade/investor rights initiative..."
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:34 AM
Aug 2013

Those phrases always leap out at me. "Free Trade." "Investor Rights."

We already know how the "Free Trade" crap is working out.

"Investor Rights?" Sure, they have rights. They're free to invest in anything they want, from perpetual motion machines to "Jihad-in-a-Box" manufacturing empires (financed through Saudi Arabia, based in Malaysia).

They also have the right to lose every penny they invested. Isn't that part of Almighty Capitalism? "Build a better mousetrap," and all that rot -- and the converse, develop a "Jihad-in-a-Box" product that you won't be allowed to sell in any country, and lose your investment?

Screw "investor rights." Caveat emptor, you mega-rich assholes. I'm more interested in everyone else's rights (those that are left).

midnight

(26,624 posts)
4. I'm not sure how quickly this terrible deal written by hundreds of corporate attorney's
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:06 AM
Aug 2013

is going to happen, but it's so secret, it must be pretty bad....

 

cali

(114,904 posts)
5. before it can happen, the admin has to get Congress
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:15 AM
Aug 2013

to pass the TPA which expired some years ago. The TPA is Trade Promotion Authority, more commonly known as Fast Track. It must pass in both houses though, of course, it applies only to the Senate which is the body that must approve trade agreements. The last time it passed the House was in 2002 by a vote of 215-212 with only 27 dems joining the slim repub majority. It expired in 2007. Fast Track prohibits Senators from amending any trade agreement and from filibustering any trade agreement, enabling only an up or down vote.

the heavy arm twisting will begin this fall, brought to you by the administration.

mtasselin

(666 posts)
7. soldout
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:15 AM
Aug 2013

This president is again going to try and sellout the American people. He has been in office 41/2 years and forgot who put him in there, I voted twice for him, what scares me is Hillary, if she is elected, meet the new boss same as the old boss.

pampango

(24,692 posts)
9. Actually, the Senate and the House will have to approve the TPP - at least that has been the case
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:03 AM
Aug 2013

with every other trade agreement.

In the United States, the term "treaty" is used in a more restricted legal sense than in international law. U.S. law distinguishes what it calls treaties from congressional-executive agreements and sole-executive agreements. All three classes are considered treaties under international law; they are distinct only from the perspective of internal United States law. The distinctions are primarily concerning their method of ratification: by two-thirds of the Senate, by normal legislative process, or by the President alone, respectively.

In general, arms control agreements are often ratified by the treaty mechanism. At the same time, trade agreements (such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and United States accession to the World Trade Organization) are generally voted on as a CEA, and such agreements typically include an explicit right to withdraw after giving sufficient written notice to the other parties. If an international commercial accord contains binding "treaty" commitments, then a two-thirds vote of the Senate may be required.

American law is that international accords become part of the body of U.S. federal law. As a result, Congress can modify or repeal treaties by subsequent legislative action, even if this amounts to a violation of the treaty under international law

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_Clause

Every trade agreement since the one with Israel in 1975 has been a "congressional-executive agreement" which requires both houses of congress to approve.

It will also be interesting to see if the House approves "fast track" authority. The tea party influence there (with their distrust of Obama and multinational organizations like the UN and the WTO) would seem to make make passage unlikely.

As you posted, the last time TPA passed in the House in 2002 it did so it did so by just 3 votes and that was with a republican president and before the big influx of tea party types. Also the republican congress refused to grant Clinton TPA when it expired during his second term. I don't think they are likely to give it to Obama now.

Without TPA the TPP is a "dead man walking". None of the previous trade agreements passed without TPA. Neither will the TPP.

geckosfeet

(9,644 posts)
6. so corporations are being given even more economy manipulation power and international governance
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:51 AM
Aug 2013

rights by NAFTA agreements...


Since the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the US has required trading partners to include clauses in trade agreements that elevate the rights of foreign investors above domestic investors and, most importantly, above governments. Put bluntly, that makes international corporations more powerful than governments and limits the ability of those governments to introduce legislation and policies that promote and protect the interests of their citizens.


Very nice. This in itself is frightening enough. NAFTA, touted as being good for jobs and free trade has been transformed into a smokescreen for handing international corporations the power to do whatever the fuck they want. How does this shit happen?



... it is not the role of government to underwrite the risk of corporations investing overseas, particularly when it exposes the interests of its citizens at home. Companies have demonstrated a preparedness to invest in high risk environments due to the potential for high profits. That risk should not be sheeted onto governments and citizens.

Government policymaking must be judged on public interest, not the level of profits that flow to corporations. Any changes to include ISDS would jeopardise Australia's sovereignty as it has done to other countries. This point was recognised by the Productivity Commission, which found that ISDS posed a 'significant risk'. Joseph Stiglitz has argued that the inclusion of ISDS in the NAFTA treaty has 'potentially weakened democracy throughout North America'.

TPP: The fight over investment rights


But corporate bailouts and welfare have become a de facto standard. It is happening even now, to the tune of $80 billion a month to Wall Street banks and investment firms (the two are one in the same now).

The corporate rulers have got their foothold and you know they are never giving it up.

on edit: Not without a major protracted costly fight anyway.

Babel_17

(5,400 posts)
8. Deals like this could be a good thing, but usually aren't
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:41 AM
Aug 2013

This is about more profits for big buisnesses. And there's nothing wrong with that in principle, but we have to look at how big business has been behaving and their relationship to government.

Once we do that it becomes clear that first we need to take care of things at home before allowing the expansion the power and influence of big businesses via the TPP.

Taxing all that off shore money would be a start.

Zorra

(27,670 posts)
10. "that makes international corporations more powerful than governments
Sun Aug 4, 2013, 09:09 AM
Aug 2013

and limits the ability of those governments to introduce legislation and policies that promote and protect the interests of their citizens."

"The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. "

-Franklin D. Roosevelt



malthaussen

(17,243 posts)
14. Nah, not worse. About exactly what I expect.
Mon Aug 5, 2013, 01:18 PM
Aug 2013

Frankly, I'm surprised we've taken so long to reach this point.

-- Mal

 

cali

(114,904 posts)
16. huh? yes, they would have and they've done so in the past under shrub
Mon Aug 5, 2013, 02:00 PM
Aug 2013

on this, there is sadly little difference. It doesn't matter if the admin is R or D. I actually think there is a chance at stopping both the TPP and the TPA which would enable it.

leftstreet

(36,119 posts)
17. No, I mean Democrats would be screaming
Mon Aug 5, 2013, 02:19 PM
Aug 2013

Just like the GOP brand suffered when the Democrats went antiwar, anti-mandated healthcare etc

It's just easier for Democrats to push through (what were traditionally) GOP policies

 

cali

(114,904 posts)
18. oh. maybe. The thing is there's so damned little about the TPP in the MSM
Mon Aug 5, 2013, 02:33 PM
Aug 2013

and creepily, most repubs and dems in Congress support this shit. I don't think they'd be screaming. They mostly didn't when shrub did it. That's scary because it indicates how in the corporate grasp they are.

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