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TPP Negotiations Auckland next week

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 pm, November 30th, 2012 - 13 comments
Categories: activism, assets, business, privatisation, trade, us politics - Tags:

The next round of secretive TPP negotiations is in Auckland next week, 3-12 December.  There will be a National Day of Action on Saturday 8 December.  It looks like it will be part of a world wide protest march.  There are important issues involving NZ’s ability to make and enforce it’s own laws, and John Key will be in theRE smiling and waving and selling us out.

With the TPP the US government and powerful corporates trying to extend their power into the Pacific region.  There is likely to be increasing tensions between the US-led TPP and the Asean CREP trade negotiations.

There’s a lot of information coming out now.  There promises to be ongoing debates and reports on the meaning and possible content of the TPP throughout the coming week.  The latest edition of Werewolf focuses on the issues.   Gordon Campbell explains:

Essentially, the TPP’s real value to the US appears to be as a forum for setting in place a number of non-trade practices – in government procurement, in patenting and copyright, in investor-state dispute arbitration etc – that would be of prime benefit to its own commercial lobbies. In that sense, the TPP is about securing and advancing the commercial interests of multinationals and their lobbyists – which have not been seen beforehand to be suitable subject matter for the trade obligations between nations. (Trying to get the WTO to sign onto these same kind of “Singapore provisions” created havoc a few years ago at the WTO’s Cancun meeting.)

Longer term, as US President Barack Obama made clear during the recent presidential debates, the TPP is of some use to the US in strategic terms to counter the rising power of China in the Asia Pacific region. Eventually, it may serve as a platform for a genuine Asia/Pacific deal that includes China, on terms the Americans can only hope will be satisfactory to them. Yet at present, neither China nor India would tolerate many of the current ingredients of the TPP.

Gordon Campbell has responded to Fran O’Sullivan, who criticised Jane Kelsey’s ongoing campaign against the TPP.

The best way of appreciating Fran O’Sullivan’s attack on Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey in the NZ Herald yesterday is to read it aloud as if you’re actually Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey. In which case the general content of O’Sullivan’s column – does this creature never sleep? How on earth has she managed to commandeer the debate on free trade? Are there no men in this house able to put this, this, this confounded woman in her place? – will sound exactly what it is. A last despairing squawk from the neo-liberal right, as yet another of its castles in the sand is washed away by the tide of history. Get used to it, Fran. It’s your lot that has lost the plot on “free” trade.

Jane Kelsey and US anti-free trader, Lori Wallach are on the latest Citizen A.  It all sounds pretty scary.  It won’t matter what NZ policies are on climate or privatisation – once NActs have done the deals, they’ll be most likely locked in by TPP.  According to Wallach and Kelsey, US corporates will sue for lots of money against any local laws that get in the way of their profiteering.  Apparently there’s already vulture, ambulance-chaser lawyers touting their services to corporates, at the sniff of any such possible litigation.

Kelsey said that innovative NZ IT businesses are particularly worried about TPP measures that would hinder their work.

I imagine the next week and a half will be very educational.

Updateprotest events 3-8 Dec

Monday 3 Dec:  Auckland, TPP meeting starts 7.30am Sky City Convention

Centre, Auckland.  Protest starts at the SC Convention Centre 8.30am

Tuesday 4 Dec: Wellington,  Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, Rally against TPP

12 noon, Midland Park, Lambton Quay

Featuring:
The `NZ vs Trans-national Corporations’ live boxing match
Speakers
MusicShow your opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

 

 

Wednesday 5 Dec: 5.00pm Auckland

 

It’s our future Awareness Raising Concert St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd, Auckland  This is no longer showing on the It’s Our Future Calendar.

 

 

Friday 7 Dec: 6.00pm Auckland, Britomart

Aotearoa is Not For Sale: D7  – The Big Push

take to the streets again to oppose the plans to privatise State Assets, and celebrate that over 300,000 people have signed the petition for a referendum. With a last Big Push, its time to force a democratic vote to reject these failed policies once and for all.

Endorsed so far by- the Labour Party, the Mana Movement, the Council of Trade Unions and Socialist Aotearoa. Keep those endorsements rolling in :)

https://www.facebook.com/events/304092823039121

 

Saturday 8 Dec: Nelson 12 Noon: March Millers Acre to the 1903 site.

Auckland 2.00pm Aotea Square

It’s Our future Rally and presentation of Avaaz petition at negotiations,

13 comments on “TPP Negotiations Auckland next week”

  1. BLiP 1

    .

    Shall we consider a random snippet of the secret agreement the John Key led National Ltd™ is about to sell to New Zealanders via its Crosby/Textor approach to “transparent governance”.

    Article 12.7: Performance Requirements

    1. No Party may, in connection with the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management,
    conduct, operation, or sale or other disposition of an investment of an investor of a Party [or
    of a non-Party] in its territory, impose or enforce any requirement or enforce any
    commitment or undertaking: 12

    – (a) to export a given level or percentage of goods [or services] ;

    – (b) to achieve a given level or percentage of domestic content;

    – (c) to purchase, use or accord a preference to goods produced in its territory, or to
    purchase goods from persons in its territory;

    – (d) to relate in any way the volume or value of imports to the volume or value of exports
    or to the amount of foreign exchange inflows associated with such investment;

    – ( e) to restrict sales of goods [or services] in its territory that such investment produces [or
    supplies] by relating such sales in any way to the volume or value of its exports or
    foreign exchange earnings;

    – (f) to transfer a particular technology, a production process or other proprietary
    knowledge to a person in its territory;] [or]

    – (g) to supply exclusively from the territory of the Party the goods that such investment
    procedures [or the services that it supplies] to a specific regional market or to the
    world market [; or

    Hmmmm . . . looks legit. Basically a foreign owned business can set up shop in New Zealand, employ only its own people, import what ever it wants, and sell to whomever wants without regard to maximising returns for New Zealand at all. Pretty much nothing to stop a foreign business doing that at the moment. Some already do. But, wait, there’s more – take a look at the arbitration provisions. According to more than 100 legal beagle experts from New Zealand and Australia:

    . . . Increasingly decisions issued under this [arbitration] system see foreign investors being granted greater rights than are provided to domestic firms and investors under the Constitutions, laws and court systems of host countries. In several instances, arbitral tribunals have gone beyond awards of cash damages and issued injunctive relief that creates severe conflicts of law. For instance, a recent order by a tribunal in the case brought by Chevron against Ecuador under a U.S.-Ecuador BIT ordered the executive branch of that country to violate its constitutional separation of powers and somehow halt the enforcement of an appellate court ruling . . . Investors are also seeking to avoid the deliberate decision of governments to require investors to pursue remedies in the domestic courts of the host nation, at least initially, by invoking the most-favoured-nation rule. Subsidiaries of Philip Morris International are seeking to circumvent a requirement in the Uruguay-Switzerland BIT that they must attempt to litigate their objections to Uruguay’s new tobacco labelling laws through the domestic courts for eighteen months before pursuing international arbitration by invoking a provision from a BIT between Uruguay and a third country that does not have that requirement . . . Moreover, the design of the Investor-State system tribunals allows lawyers to rotate between roles as arbitrators and advocates for investors in a manner that would be unethical for judges. The system also excludes the right for non-investor litigants and other affected parties to participate and fails to meet the basic principles of transparency, consistency and due process common to our legal systems. Investment arbitration as currently constituted is not a fair, independent, and balanced method for the resolution of disputes between sovereign nations and private investors . . .

    Huh . . . what’s that? Yep, you got it: the agreement says the “investment partners” are not subject to the laws of the countries in which they are doing business and can rotate their own legal people throughout the arbitration system without regard to extant ethical considerations. No wonder this thing is being kept secret. If domestic SMEs knew what was going on they’d be up in arms . . . oh, hang on: National Ltd™ says its “good for business” so it must be, right? No doubt John Key has reassured everyone that they’ll be lovin’ it.

  2. irascible 2

    I hear that Colman-Brunton are polling people on their knowlede of TTP and its impact on the economy. I wonder which spin company is paying for this information and how it will be fed to Fran and company to use over the next few weeks?

  3. karol 3

    I’m just reading a very interesting article on the latest Werewolf by Greg Adamson, about the legal contradictions and ambiguities of file sharing sites like Megaupload.  NZ Corporates and the NZ government still continue to advertise on such file sharing sites, yet aren’t being prosecuted like Kim Dotcom.

    It’s quite a long an very well-researched article, but well worth a read.  It shows up the complexity a round the attempts by the likes of TPP to establish new regulations for copyright and patents in relation to digital communications.

  4. Rogue Trooper 4

    it is still class conflict; just globalized now.very sad

  5. Neoleftie 5

    This is a rallying point for labour party. Either the party directly front the protest or the members take over and do the work needed to stop the erosion of the people’s rights and freedoms. Action is needed any action now now now.

    • BLiP 5.1

      .

      I find your faith in the Labour Party touching. When it comes to handling the machinations of the corporates involved in pushing through the globalisation agenda, the very best we can expect from this current crop of MPs is that they might seek to mitigate some of the more egregious provisions and consequences. Even then, it will just be a matter of slowing things down rather than anything substantive. Of primary concern, that this stage, is the secrecy under which the TPP is being negotiated. Labour have negotiated several trade agreements and they were all carried out in secret; its track record in this regard is woeful. When it comes to international trade, the difference between Labour and National Ltd™ is that National Ltd™ actually delivers positive returns to those it serves.

      The Labour Party also has a shocking track record when it comes to the protection of rights and freedoms. Annette King did away with the right to silence, turning the presumption of innocence on its head . . . then there’s the anti-terrorism laws Labour put in place. Uruwera, anyone? And you can bet your bottom dollar that same legislation will be enabling all sorts of warrantless monitoring of individuals involved in discussions exactly like this and actions currently being planned.

      Meanwhile, Clayton Cosgrove has been a major disappointment in his portfolio, turning into something of a cheerleader for National Ltd™ and kinda creepy in his effusiveness for the US. There is a glimmer of hope in Maryan Street. She’s on record from early last year calling for a “broadening of the dialogue” and, while not displaying any real concern for the TPP, did point to a possible middle-ground. Clare Curran was concerned about the secrecy under which ACTA was carried out. She has since been subject to a sophisticated US “handling” on the ACTA matter, but she might well respond to calls for consistency in her concern about the secrecy aspect. Sorry to say, the rest of the Labour Party MPs cannot be relied upon for assistance here. Until Februrary, they remain largely indolent and basking in their “Beehive Bubble”, deaf to such concerns of the membership

      On the other hand, the Greens are already all over it, and have been for a while. Same with defending rights and freedoms.

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Thats because the Greens oppose all free trade deals. I guess that means they like high tarrifs as a general proposition, because that is what free trade deals are primarily about. So if the Left who mostly oppose free trade deals (IPrent excepted) the you will vote Green. Actually IPrent is also going to vote Green. So I guess the site has broadly shifted from Labour to Green.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          But they’re not free trade deals. A free trade deal can be drawn up on a single piece of paper. I have open access to your markets and vice versa.

          In truth these deals are all about applying restrictions and controls, protecting special commercial interests, burdening sovereigns with responsibilities and red tape while ensuring maximum corporate power and non-accountability.

          That’s why these “free trade deals” are hundreds of pages long, and in the case of the TPPA, kept secret from the public.

        • lprent 5.1.1.2

          So I guess the site has broadly shifted from Labour to Green.

          The site has always been about more than just Labour. But the amusing thing is that apparently the Green MP’s and their staff have been known to say that we’re obviously supporters of Labour, the Labour MP’s have always said that we’re far too Green to be Labour. Mana supporters tend to abound as well.

          The actual answer is in the about. Political parties are a vehicle for aspirations and policies, they are not a goal in their own right. This is something that many MP’s seem to lose sight of.

          I also thought that I’d made my attitude on the TPPA quite clear. It doesn’t appear to me to be a free-trade agreement worth pursuing. So far I cannot see any particular advantages for NZ businesses apart from a vague suggestion of increased access to the US agricultural sector sometime maybe in the future. Of course even getting that through their jammed congress and senate in any useful form is highly unlikely.

          I can see a whole lot of harm to local IP businesses a lot sooner from the wholesale importation of some really stupid legal principles from the US. That is just the politics of patch protection and has nothing to do with free trade.

          Perhaps dumping the US out of the agreement would change it from a political treaty to one about trade.

  6. AsleepWhileWalking 6

    We need to dumb the TPPA down. Let’s just keep saying it is evil in document form.

    http://tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/citizen-tpp-special-with-professor-jane.html

  7. just saying 7

    Do you have any information on protest in areas outside of Nelson,
    Karol?

    • karol 7.1

      Not a lot, js.  Only what I found fairly quickly online last night.  Last night I came across a couple of things mentioning the Conference this week & realised it’d slipped my attention.  i thought other people might have missed it, too.

      The main info site is the it’s our future one I linked to first in my post above.  The events page has some things – click on an event for more details. The take action page suggests some email/letter writing to Key et al.

      I’ll update the post with the events they have listed. The Standard posted a notice about the It’s Our future site back in October, with links to the Twitter & Facebook pages for it.

  8. karol 8

    Tim Groser reckons NZ can successfully play “both sides’: the TPP & Asean’s CREP.  The article presents arguments from various opponents of the TPP, including from Lori Wallach (who is in the above-linked Citizen A video):
     

    American-based Lori Wallach, director of the Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, said the recent US election revealed a rising groundswell against deals like the TPP. And that was going to make it difficult to get the deal through the US Congress, which had final say.

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