UN experts issue warning on TPP

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, February 4th, 2016 - 28 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, trade - Tags: , , ,

Last week a panel of UN experts issued warnings on the TPP:

UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights

A number of free trade and investment agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are currently being negotiated. …

“While trade and investment agreements can create new economic opportunities, we draw attention to the potential detrimental impact these treaties and agreements may have on the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in legally binding instruments, whether civil, cultural, economic, political or social. Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement.

As also underlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, States must ensure that trade and investment agreements do not constrain their ability to meet their human rights obligations (Guiding Principle 9).

Observers are concerned that these treaties and agreements are likely to have a number of retrogressive effects on the protection and promotion of human rights, including by lowering the threshold of health protection, food safety, and labour standards, by catering to the business interests of pharmaceutical monopolies and extending intellectual property protection.

There is a legitimate concern that both bilateral and multilateral investment treaties might aggravate the problem of extreme poverty, jeopardize fair and efficient foreign debt renegotiation, and affect the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, persons with disabilities, older persons, and other persons leaving in vulnerable situations.

Investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) chapters in BITs and FTAs are also increasingly problematic given the experience of decades related arbitrations conducted before ISDS tribunals. The experience demonstrates that the regulatory function of many States and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk. … ISDS chapters are anomalous in that they provide protection for investors but not for States or for the population. They allow investors to sue States but not vice-versa. …

Here’s coverage from the EFF:

UN Experts Say TPP and Fast Track Threaten Human Rights

Prominent experts at the United Nations have now indicated that secretive trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) undermine human rights around the world, both because of the secretive, corporate-dominated process, and due to the substantive content of the provisions that arise out of these opaque negotiations.

Last week, an independent UN expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, said that the secrecy surrounding trade negotiations is a threat to human rights because it disenfranchises and excludes the public from “the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs.” He urges human rights impact assessments be undertaken immediately as part of the negotiation process, and goes on to say that fast tracking these deals to approval has a detrimental impact on a democratic, equitable world order. We agree, and have been fighting Fast Track legislation in the U.S. to stop back-room negotiations that led to the TPP’s provisions become legitimized by the bill’s passage.

In his statements, he particularly singles out trade agreements’ investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. They allow investors to sue nations over legislative and administrative rules alleging that they harm their profits. ….

Read on for plenty more.

When the UN is issuing warnings on the TPP, don’t you think it would be wise to listen?

28 comments on “UN experts issue warning on TPP”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    The Nat Party AND the Govt have set up websites giving out what they call “TPPA facts” but there is another website that has just been set up too – run by ActionStation – its the real mccoy. Don’t confuse it with the propaganda from the Nats or Govt.

    You can find it at tppafacts.co.nz .

    Crowdfunded by all us ordinary NZers and informed by expert peer-reviewed analysis, take a look and share the fact-sheets as much as you all can, so every New Zealander can assess the biggest so-called ‘trade’ deal of our time with eyes wide open.

  2. cogito 2

    Let’s make 2016 Key’s annus horribilis, the year that kiwis reject his lies and deceptions and reclaim Aotearoa NZ for the people.

  3. Murray Simmonds 3

    “When the UN is issuing warnings on the TPP, don’t you think it would be wise to listen?”

    Absolutely correct Anthony Robins.

    But the fact is that we didn’t need the UN to tell us its a bum deal. Most thinking people had already figured that for themselves. There is a large volume of literature out there already telling us what the UN has merely re-iterated.

    Nevertheless its nice to see the UN adding a bit of gravitas to these expert opinions.

  4. Bill 4

    You know all those ‘natural’ National voters in Southland and elsewhere who are about to lose the farmland that has been passed on down through generations – due to falling milk solid prices….

    Expect a ‘free-for all’ from international buyers in the near future and a huge, further concentration of land ownership into even fewer hands.

    Mind you, that’s going to happen regardless of any TPPA, although without it, National could have done a flip-flop on land sale legislation where foreign interests are involved.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      Banks to get tougher on dairy farmers after milk price forecasts fall

      Waikato accountant Peter Hexter of Cooper Aitken said banks had to their credit been generally supportive of farmers but the pressure would now come on.

      “We know of people banks have been quite tough on and we expect banks to look at some people more closely.

      “I’ve sat with banks myself and they’ve said they’re happy to lend this year (2015 season) to help cashflow but it won’t be there next season….they won’t be inclined to help out. So far banks have been very supportive but another season of low cashflow….”

      Hexter said bankers have told him banks are considering raising their margins even though interest rates are low and being held low by the Reserve Bank.

      The farmers are fucked and the only people with money are rich offshore corporations. We’re going to see a massive sell off of farm land over the next year or two.

    • cogito 4.2

      “You know all those ‘natural’ National voters in Southland and elsewhere who are about to lose the farmland that has been passed on down through generations”

      According to Mai Chen “Migrants coming to live and work in the south will be the future of Southland.”

      Why couldn’t she have said that assisting KIWIS to do well was the future of Southland?

      Not a day goes by without kiwis being indoctrinated into accepting massive numbers of migrants while born and bred kiwis are forgotten and overlooked.

    • weka 4.3

      True, and another factor here is that two generations ago Southland farmers left the farm to their son, now sons have to buy their parents out. That’s increased the debt on farms hugely.

      • cogito 4.3.1

        I have never understood that. Why take on debt for something which is already owned by the family….. Utter madness.

        • weka

          I know. I guess concepts of family have changed a lot in the intervening years. I’m tempted to say greed, but I think some of it at least is that elderly people now have to pay for their own security. They’re not going to get looked after by their kids, so why not get some money from the farm to buy a freehold house etc? Also, in the past the farm only had to go to one person, now there is more of an expectation that the farm be split amongst siblings.

  5. The Real Matthew 6

    Given the UN has concerns it makes me even more sure that the TPPA is a good agreement

    • Gangnam Style 6.1

      That is probably square 3 in this posts bingo card.

    • McFlock 6.2

      The predicted benefits of the TPPA for NZ are statistically indistinguishable from zero.
      There are more and more examples of ISDS and trade agreements being used by corporations to try to overrule policy that was made in the public interest, e.g. Keystone pipeline, tobacco.
      Members of a global government express concerns that the TPPA threaten individuals’ ability to participate in democratic systems.

      But you’re still completely rationally (and not at all ideologically) convinced that the TPPA is a good agreement? Sounds legit /sarc

  6. Draco T Bastard 7

    Secretive negotiations need to be defined as undemocratic and thus not binding.

    • Chooky 7.1

      + 100

    • aerobubble 7.2

      They already are. Anyone who makes a promise for someone else without their consent isn’t worth the paper its written on. Anything done for your benefit that you don’t know about is never done in your interest. The China trade agreement was open, but this one is a joke, quite illegal, for the obvious reason that anyone can write contracts, or laywers say they consulted with clients, and those contracts aren’t worth the paper. Now imagine contracts coming up to the invested dispute court where inadequate consultation was allowed in their construction, two things will happen, either the court will become overloaded with such cases, or the plaintives taxpayers will stop paying out. The TPP is a joke everyone knows its not go in to get ratified by the congress without massive alteration

      • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1

        Well then. Labour and the rest of the parties that say they don’t support the TPPA won’t have any difficulty in saying that they will be withdrawing us from it then.

        • aerobubble

          Politicians are paid to lie, its the job. The problem with Labour I they haven’t found the lie that will re-elect them. I want my politicians to lie in such a way as to help the planet, which helps me as I live on this planet.

  7. Tautuhi 8

    The Natzis still have to ratify the TPPA undoubtedly the rats will sign it, the Natzis are hell bent on pushing this through having dealt in international markets and seen how the multinationals operate I personally don’t think it is in NZ’s best interests to agree to this TPPA especially the ISDS Clauses?

  8. Richard McGrath 9

    There is one UN “expert” I can think of who is in favour of the TPP. She used to lead a political party here that is becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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