Gould on the TPP

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, October 8th, 2015 - 59 comments
Categories: capitalism, Globalisation, trade - Tags: , , , ,

Yet another excellent discussion of the TPP yesterday:

Bryan Gould: Dairy tariffs still in place – why did we sign TPP?

Now that we are at last allowed to know a little more about the TPPA negotiated in our name, it is clear that the free trade goal that was said to be the main point of the exercise has not been achieved. Tariff-free access for our dairy produce into US, Canadian and Japanese markets has been denied to us.

Such small gains as have been secured are so insignificant that Tim Groser, the Trade Minister, could not even remember what they were. The best he could come up with was a small reduction over time in the Japanese tariff on cheese.

So, if the TPPA is not from our viewpoint really about free trade, what is it about? As Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, maintains, it is about managed, not free, trade – and trade that is managed in the interests of large, international, and mainly US corporations.

It represents, in other words, a further, large, and largely irreversible step towards the absorption of a small economy like New Zealand into a much larger economy – an economy that is increasingly directed from overseas, not by politicians or even officials, but by self-interested and unaccountable business leaders.

Perhaps the most obvious indication of that further shift in power is the Investor/State Dispute Resolution provisions included in the TPPA. These provisions allow overseas business interests to sue our government in specially constituted tribunals if they feel that the government has done or is likely to do something that might adversely affect their profits.

A democratically elected government carrying out its mandate, could – in other words – be compelled by a tribunal comprising just three unelected business people from overseas, to abandon its legislative programme and thereby give up a major power of self-government.

How can we have confidence in an arrangement that has been agreed in secret and over our heads, that has at the same time taken such care to consult and serve the interests of such a small group of powerful international business leaders, and that potentially has such a far-reaching impact on our ability to govern ourselves?

Plenty more in this excellent piece, go read the whole thing in The Herald.


Bonus from cartoonist Rod Emmerson:
Emmerson TPP dead rat

59 comments on “Gould on the TPP ”

  1. Paul 1

    Evans cartoon
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/08/malcolm-evans-tppa-2/

    In World War 2, New Zealanders died to protect our sovereignty. Now we have a PM who will trade it away.
    Sad days.

    • infused 1.1

      How is it being traded away? Or is this just more of your usual bullshit?

      • Tricledrown 1.1.1

        So we can’t stop non residents buying and speculating on land without throwing out the whole agreement.
        Confused .
        It’s Dogs breakfast.
        Pigheaded rwnj’s defending TPpa like lemmings.
        Confused you have been Trumped!
        The Donald had come out against the agreement.
        At least someone on the right has bucked the rights lemming sheepish following fetish.
        It takes a Dead Cat to expose a Dead Rat.
        T

      • Steve Withers 1.1.2

        You’d know if you were paying attention. This isn’t new. “Con”-fused.

    • Steve Withers 1.2

      Been saying it for years. They are the “Multi-National Party”. We should take them to the Commerce Commission for false representing themselves as pertaining to New Zealand primarily. Just about everything they have been doing is directed toward creating business openings here for multi-nationals….at the expense of locals.

  2. dukeofurl 2

    It seems that Middle east sandstorms have been beneficial to the anti TPP supporters as they have kept Key from pushing his lies and distortions a few days longer.

    Just wait till he arrives home and goes into full frontal bullshit.

  3. Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 3

    I find the Investor/State Dispute Resolution provisions most concerning. It seems to me a stick that capital can beat labour with.

    The TPPA introduces a foreign body into our sovereignty that will forever change governance in NZ. Not only will foreign corporations have a power over our government like never before. But domestic vested interests aligned with foreign capital will have a new tool to stop unwanted progressive movements wanting to solve important social problems -the housing crisis, obesity, global warming and so on.

    The likes of Mathew Hooten are already lining up the argument that NZ hasn’t lost its sovereignty but the choice is either agreeing with the pro- corporation Investor/State Dispute Resolution Provisions or leave the TPPA. How often in the future will the likes of Mathew be encouraging foreign companies to threaten to take a progressive NZ government to this unaccountable court so they can then tell the public you can have trade or you can have progressive social policies but you cannot have both.

    To me this is the true cost of the TPPA. I wouldn’t sign it. I hope that the public gets a real debate on this. That Labour doesn’t automatically fall into behind the Tories. Really a decision like this needs the mandate of a referendum or general election.

    • AmaKiwi 3.1

      Investor State Tribunals: The individuals who have been injured should be the judges, not corporate lawyers.

      Example: NZ decides to tax sugar. CocaCola sues. The case is decided by a panel of people with diabetes.

    • Steve Withers 3.2

      The good news is that this is the same reason many Americans don’t like it either. If they hate the UN as usurping their sovereignty, they should DESPISE the TPP tribunals.

  4. Nigel Gregory 4

    The main thrust of this deal from the US standpoint is the pharmaceutical industry and their push to export drugs.

    High drug costs are a huge issue in the US with the Obama administration arguing high drug prices in the main benefit the US economy as export profits outweigh the negatives of high domestic prices.

    The TPP from a US view is specifically designed to make drugs more expensive.

    https://medium.com/@jamie_love/tpp-designed-to-make-medicine-more-expensive-reforms-more-difficult-e6a94a5d4a18

    Anyone who does not feel Pharmac will be the victim of a death by a thousand cuts is not being honest with themselves in my opinion.

    • AmaKiwi 4.1

      More Americans die each year from addiction to prescription pharmaceutical company made opiate-based pain killers than die from cocaine and heroin combined.

      Grosser negotiated with corporate murders. Key thinks it’s OK for murderers to dictate rules to us!

  5. Bob 5

    Ha! So in June Bryan Gould is complaining about our reliance on Dairy:
    “The warnings that some of us have voiced for some time about our dangerous dependence on a single commodity are, sadly, proving all too accurate. The slump in world dairy prices has exposed the unwelcome truth that our apparent good fortune depends substantially on just one price for just one product – and we now know that the milk powder price will not remain consistently at its recent high levels.”
    http://www.bryangould.com/chickens-coming-home-to-roost/
    And now in October he is complaining about opening up alternate trade opportunities, with not enough being done for dairy!

    • Paul 5.1

      Bob. Shill for the 0.01%.

      • Bob 5.1.1

        That’s right, pointing out hypocrisy is being a shill.

        Are you still stuck on conspiracy theories around fat taxes? Or have you actually done some reading now?
        http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/assets/docs/TPP12%20summary%20of%20the%20Agreement.pdf

        • Paul 5.1.1.1

          Attack the messenger Bob

        • Tracey 5.1.1.2

          If you like pointing out hypocrisy Bob your finger smust ache when addressing National’s.

          Remember when Groser and Key said they wouldn’t enter a deal that wasn’t great for dairy?

          Because I am nothing but generous, here is a link to several hypocrisies which you will enjoy

          http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/10/07/gordon-campbell-on-govts-favourite-crony-serco-and-the-tpp/

          “The nadir of yesterday’s TPP coverage would have to be the claim by Crawford Falconer, Kathyrn Ryan’s RNZ Nine to Noon star commentator on the TPP, that investor-state disputes “certainly aren’t targeted at countries like New Zealand.” Rubbish. Here’s the Toronto Globe and Mail on two examples of huge ISDS losses inflicted on Canada in this year alone.
          As mentioned previously in this column, the Canadian government was deemed liable in the Bilcon case when it sought an environmental impact review of the effect of a quarry that it had agreed to in principle:
          The Bilcon decision [which has laid Canada open to a $300 million damages claim] has raised a number of concerns about the investor-state dispute settlement provisions that are commonplace in international agreements, ranging from the North American free-trade agreement, to the Canada-China foreign investment agreement, to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership currently under negotiations.
          A dissenting member of the panel – University of Ottawa law professor Donald McRae – warned that the ruling represents a “significant intrusion” into domestic jurisdiction and will “create a chill” among environmental review panels that will be reluctant to rule against projects that would cause undue harm to the environment or human health.
          There is a growing concern in legal circles that the arbitration panels are expanding their mandate – including substituting their decision-making role for domestic courts – and that they cannot be appealed, Toronto trade lawyer Larry Herman said Tuesday. The Bilcon decision “will feed ammunition to those who oppose international arbitration as a form of dispute settlement,” he added.
          It’s the second high-profile NAFTA loss for Canada. Last month, Ottawa was ordered to pay Exxon Mobil Corp. and Murphy Oil Ltd. $17.3-million after a NAFTA panel ruled that Newfoundland and Labrador had violated the trade agreement by imposing retroactive research-spending requirements on its offshore oil producers.
          It remains to be seen whether the final ISDS wording in the TPP will remove the expectation of profit as a grounds for liability. If it doesn’t, New Zealand would indeed be liable to exactly the same Bilcon-style cases, if it subsequently chose to seek an environmental review of a foreign investment that it had greenlit.”

          • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 5.1.1.2.1

            Tracey I would recommend ignoring trolls. This post is too good to be a reply to some useless bastards who will probably not even read it let alone reply in any sort of intelligent way.

            Promoters of the TPPA point to the increase in trade over the coming decades. Which even they admit will be a small percent of sweet bugger all. But what about the increasing costs as social problems are not fixed? When the corporates use ISDS to stop progressive movements campaigning on social problems. Who will pay for the unresolved -housing crisis, rising healthcare costs, obesity that continues to worsen, environmental degradation….. ?

            If the TPPA had been in force 20 year ago. How would it of affected NZ. Would we have Pharmac and KiwiBank? Would we have been able to save KiwiRail and Air NZ? What other impacts would it of have?

            What things will it prevent in the coming decades and what cost will that impose on our society?

          • Matthew Hooton 5.1.1.2.2

            Why would the fact a company tried to sue Canada (a G8 economy) mean that ISDS are likely to be “targeted” at NZ?

            • Tracey 5.1.1.2.2.1

              Why would John Key think that a company that would sue Canada or any other country under such provisions wouldn’t sue NZ?

              Ohhhhh it’s because you are saying we are too small and nothing-ish, right? Which kind of makes it odd that we would have got a great deal from the TPP negotiations given we are seen as insignificant, right? We got scraps right? Which is whty Aussie (not a G8 country) got the US to concede on some medical provisions, but not us, and why Dairy was infinitesimal?

            • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal 5.1.1.2.2.2

              Because people like you will invite them to. Whenever there is a progressive movement that Tories like you don’t like. You will manipulate the situation so you threaten the government being sued due for breaching (in Tory-world opinion) the TPPA.

              • Tracey

                The OIA process will become important too. IF corporates can suggest to governments that a particular Bill will make them sue unless it is softened off “here” and “here” then we won’t know what influenced the changes unless we can get OIA’s

                • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal

                  Ultimately we need a Lange type political leader who is willing to stand up and say that corporates are part of society not above it.

                  That it is madness to put governments in a choice between supporting humanity in the form of supporting progressive movements in the public interest or supporting corporates in the form trade. That doing both should always be possible.

                  Much like Lange supported humanity by saying it is madness to say the only way to promote peace is by supporting the inhumane nuclear destruction of MAD.

                  • Tracey

                    Yes but in the end Lange couldn’t stop the march of the corporate ideologues

                    • Brendon Harre -Left wing Liberal

                      Yes we would need a new Lange without Roger and his gnomes.

                      This could be a defining test for the progressive left. To unite behind the traditional humanity values of the left. Or be split into a Progressive left camp and a Tory-lite pro-corporate camp.

            • Anno1701 5.1.1.2.2.3

              Because we are a soft/easy target

            • NZSage 5.1.1.2.2.4

              Oh dear Matthew, I find it incredulous that you are touted as a “Political Commentator” when clearly you are devoid of any political nous and incapable of thinking outside of the “right” field.

          • Steve Withers 5.1.1.2.3

            Canada can be clever.

            You pay Bilcon the $300 million……and then never let them do anything in Canada ever again.

            Like the US does……conjure up a fatuous reason to declare them a terrorist organisation, sequester all their assets for “racketeering” and “money laundering” and extradite their execs. Bad form to question a ‘good faith’ application for extradition for such serious crimes.

            Bu-bye.

        • infused 5.1.1.3

          Paul’s an idiot. Best to just ignore him.

          • Tricledrown 5.1.1.3.1

            Confused.
            Schaudefraude.
            Put some facts on the table put up an argument.
            That’s right you don’t have any.
            Pathetic.
            The TPPa is dead in the water the US,Canada and Japan will not have anything to do with the TPPA.
            Negotiations are nothing more than a Junket for has been washed up politicians.
            By the time you add up the negative costs which are large and funnily enough reported in the MSM on an annual cost several hundred millions.
            Added up over the 25 years when the socold benefits acrue.
            The costs add up to more than the benefits.
            No benefits to Dairy sheep or Beef industry.
            It’s the emporers new clothes purveyed by flimflam Conmen.

          • b waghorn 5.1.1.3.2

            Says the pathetic piece of shit who attempted to derail farewell from the job post to a sick women. Fuck off and die

    • maui 5.2

      A rather facile insight.

    • KJT 5.3

      Because that was touted by TPPA propagandists as the main benefit to New Zealand of signing.

      Even Key/Groser etc were claiming they would not sign, without “meaningful movement” on dairy.

    • Tricledrown 5.4

      Bob you have shot yourself in the foot saying Bryan Gould says our economy is to reliant on 1 commodity milk.
      Then you point out how Bryan points out Dairying will not not benefit from the TPPA.
      Bob you remind me about the joke what’s the name of a drowning man,Bob.
      Bob you have drowned in your own argument.
      Bryan Gould is right about the futility of reling on one or two commodities.
      As it can leave to exposed as the TPPA shows!
      Rwnj’s shallow thinking exposed again
      Footnmouth disease no pun intended but I’m milking it,I couldn’t be Grosser.

    • Steve Withers 5.5

      No…he’s saying this was the reason the government gave us for being in the TPP….and they didn’t achieve it.

      Learning to read with comprehension will aid your understanding enormously.

  6. wyndham 6

    The TPPA is largely about the US asserting a presence in the Pacific region as a counter to the increasing Chinese influence in the area. Simple as that and will be the only reason that TPPA will pass in the Congress and the Senate despite all the hot air politicking from the likes of Trump.

    • Nigel Gregory 6.1

      Agree with your sentiments but would add the push towards US corporate hegemony as well, especially big pharmaceutical companies.

      Trump is a buffoon.

      • Tricledrown 6.1.1

        Trump has come out strongly against the TPPA.
        Yes he is a bafoon but his rhetoric has put an end to any chance of Congress ratifying the TPPA.

    • AmaKiwi 6.2

      “US asserting a presence in the Pacific region”

      No. It’s about US corporations replacing elected governments.

      What’s this awesome “Chinese menace” NZ faces? My freedom is not endangered because I buy Chinese products at the Warehouse.

  7. vto 7

    Gould highlights why the entry into this is invalid.

    The government simply does not have the ability to change the power of our vote like that.

    Simple

    Invalid

    • dukeofurl 7.1

      Its time you woke up to what our current system is: we are a representative democracy, which means once elected our representatives ( especially the government) can pass any laws they like. And for trade agreements, very few laws need changing, the rest is by diktat.

      Did you think we had a sort of Icelandic Athling passed down over centuries of citizens getting together.
      Well hello.

      • vto 7.1.1

        Oh yes you are correct the government can pass a law to cancel all future elections

        how silly of me

        • AmaKiwi 7.1.1.1

          Legally they could.

          Read about how all civil liberties were suspended during the 1920’s watersider strikes. Chris Trotter had a frightening piece on it a few months back.

          You could be arrested for giving food to the family of a striker!

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.1

            The NZ opposition parties have to come out swinging over the TPP

            Thus far it seems NZF has been most vocal…so they will get my vote

            • dukeofurl 7.1.1.1.1.1

              At least they are consistent, voted against China FTA too.

            • Steve Withers 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Chooky: So the media decides who you hear and how much…….and then you vote on that basis?

              Amazing.

        • weizguy 7.1.1.2

          Parliament can pass such a law. Whether it would receive royal assent is an interesting question.

          • dukeofurl 7.1.1.2.1

            It would be done in an instant. They literally cant refuse, its a myth that they have discretion at all.

            “There is no longer explicit statutory recognition of a power to withhold the Royal assent, as there was in the previous law. [9] This was omitted in 1986 as being unnecessary. It was felt that to re-enact it then (when New Zealand’s constitutional rules were being restated in modern terms) might suggest that a personal discretion was vested in the Governor-General. But even with the omission of any express statement of the power to refuse to give the Royal assent, it remains the case that a bill does not become law until signed by the Governor-General in token of assent. [10]

            A refusal to assent would be a remarkable – indeed a unique – event in New Zealand. No bill presented to a Governor or a Governor-General has ever been refused the Royal assent in New Zealand, although two Acts were subsequently disallowed by the Sovereign (in 1855 and 1867) under a procedure which no longer exists.
            http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/about-parliament/how-parliament-works/ppnz/00HOOOCPPNZ_281/chapter-28-enactment-and-publication-of-acts

      • Tricledrown 7.1.2

        Demockery.
        Duke.
        Govts take head of popularity polls .
        Otherwise known as the greasy pole.
        When nearly 80% of New Zealanders are against the TPPA.
        Our pole dancing PM will move policy to where the votes are.
        With out anything like a decent deal for Dairy and Agriculture National won’t get any support for the Sell out they have negotiated.
        Big economies can opt out Delay opening their market’s while small economies like ours will have to wear their decisions like the Australian’s did to our Apple growers.

      • Steve Withers 7.1.3

        There are democracies and then there are democracies.

        If you subscribe to the Tory view that a government is an elected dictatorship….I guess you’re correct according to that view.

        If you subscribe to the view that we elect representatives with whom we have an ongoing conversation throughout their term……then you can’t possibly be correct.

        Under First Past the Post we tended to have more of the former.

        Under MMP we have tended to have more of the latter…..simply because a government that wants to survive needs to be paying attention to the views of the people they represent.

        The days of elected dictatorship – should be – well behind us now. Someone tell National.

  8. Murray Simmonds 8

    Julian Assange, interviewed on ‘Nine to Noon” this morning, referred to “LAWFARE” – a term that was new to me. Furthermore he linked it to the Trans-Pacific Trade negotiations. So I tried to find out a bit more about Lawfare. There’s quite a good definition of it on Wikipedia, but the link below gave a rather more interesting account of what its all about:

    http://www.thelawfareproject.org/what-is-lawfare.html

    What stood out for me was a list of five goals of modern-day lawfare, the second of which is (Quote)

        “ 2. To delegitimize the sovereignty of democratic states”

    The Radio NZ Interview:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/286406/julian-assange-talks-to-radio-nz

    • Chooky 8.1

      Thanks I missed that interview

      • Steve Withers 8.1.1

        It’s a good one except for the couple of occasions the interviewer reveals she hasn’t done her homework and plagues him about the Swedish legal issues and “why don’t you just walk out of the embassy and face the” Swedish charges?

        He’d already told her the UK planned to extradite him to the US regardless of the outcome of the Swedish case. He had already also explained he wasn’t charged with anything in Sweden. They were engaged in a preliminary investigation – which had been concluded, and then re-opened by a politically partisan prosecutor.

        Other than that….it was very interesting.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      ‘The highest art of warfare is to subdue the enemy without fighting…willful ignorance of this is the height of inhumanity…’

      Sun Tzu, c. 500BCE

      “Lawfare” has been around for a little while now.

  9. Chooky 9

    This is the nature of the corporates we are dealing with behind the TPP…white collar criminal tax evaders

    ‘Top 500 US companies keep $2.1 trillion where tax collectors can’t get it’

    https://www.rt.com/usa/317839-top-usa-companies-trillion-overseas/

    “The top 500 US companies retained $620 billion that would have otherwise been taxed and spent by the government by using overseas bank accounts, according to a report from Citizens for Tax Justice and the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

    “At least 358 companies, nearly 72 percent of the Fortune 500, operate subsidiaries in tax haven jurisdictions as of the end of 2014,” the report states. In total, the 500 companies keep about $2.1 trillion in tax havens outside the US, most often in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.

    So-called “offshore” profits often don’t leave the US economy, however. The money is still circulating within America, just under the name of a registered foreign subsidiary of a US company. The report’s conclusion is that the real problem lies in too many loopholes resulting in too little government revenue.

  10. Rolf 10

    ”We” did not sign the TPP, Key did, to remain in the ”Club”. He is just a lackey to Washington, does whatever he is told to do. People always say, we are a part of Asia, so let us trade with Asia. Dump USA.

  11. tracey 11

    According to professor Kelsey the 3.25% gain of dairy into Canada is NOT NZ’s gain but is the total gain for all 11 nations. Until the full text is released we won’t know our share. The Government does though. So, if Kelsey proves right(basing her views on reading what other nations are writing) and in fact we are sharing part of 3.25% then the Government will have been deliberately misleading. If she is wrong, it is cos she was not permitted access to full details while the Government picked and chose according to its spin strategy.

    “Canada granted new quotas phased in over 5 years: a 3.25% share of annual dairy production, with most directed to value-added processing (not what New Zealand produces). That is for all 11 members; we don’t know how much of that NZ got.”

    – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/07/must-read-sober-reflections-on-the-tppa-deal-and-why-we-need-to-keep-fighting/#sthash.9hgyGp3d.dpuf

  12. Murray 12

    Brian Gould claims that the TPPA is managed trade not free trade. I suggest a name even closer to the truth would be rigged trade. The TPPA is certainly not free trade. I once heard it claimed that in free trade there is no need for free trade agreements. With the environmental problem that is perhaps an over simplification but it is nowhere near as much a repudiation of the truth than to call the TPPA a free trade agreement.
    I believe inappropriate exchange rates are at least partly responsible for trade problems between countries. In many if not all countries there are far more people who purchase imports than produce exports. There are therefore in democracy more votes for an over-valued currency than an under-valued currency. One consequence is that countries that have strong democracies tend to have over valued currencies with consequential low economic growth and high and increasing external debt and I believe with only a few exceptions the statistical evidence supports this opinion.

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  • State of the Nation
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