What the TTIP teaches us about the TPP

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, May 13th, 2016 - 11 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, democracy under attack, Globalisation, International - Tags: , ,

With the heavily opposed TPP Bill passing its first reading in Parliament last night it’s time to take a look at its sister deal, Europe’s TTIP. Not good:

Leaked TTIP documents confirm major risks for climate, environment and consumer safety

From an environmental and consumer protection point of view four aspects are of serious concern:

Long standing environmental protections appear to be dropped

None of the chapters we have seen reference the General Exceptions rule. This nearly 70-year-old rule enshrined in the GATT agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), allows nations to regulate trade “to protect human, animal and plant life or health” or for “the conservation of exhaustible natural resources” [1]. The omission of this regulation suggests both sides are creating a regime that places profit ahead of human, animal and plant life and health.

Climate protection will be harder under TTIP

The Paris Climate Agreement makes one point clear: We must keep temperature increase under 1.5 degrees to avoid a climate crisis with effects on billions of people worldwide. Trade should not be excluded from climate action. But nothing indicating climate protection can be found in the obtained texts. Even worse, the scope for mitigation measures is limited by provisions of the chapters on Regulatory Cooperation or Market Access for Industrial Goods. [2] As an example these proposals would rule out regulating the import of CO2 intensive fuels such as oil from Tar Sands.

The end of the precautionary principle

The precautionary principle, enshrined in the EU Treaty[3], is not mentioned in the chapter on Regulatory Cooperation, nor in any other of the obtained 12 chapters. On the other hand the US demand for a ‘risk based’ approach that aims to manage hazardous substances rather than avoid them, finds its way into various chapters. This approach undermines the ability of regulators to take preventive measures, for example regarding controversial substances like hormone disrupting chemicals.

Opening the door for corporate takeover

While the proposals threaten environmental and consumer protection, big business gets what it wants. Opportunities to participate in decision making are granted to corporations to intervene at the earliest stages of the decision making process. While civil society has had little access to the negotiations, there are many instances where the papers show that industry has been granted a privileged voice in important decisions. [4] The leaked documents indicate that the EU has not been open about the high degree of industry influence. The EU’s recent public report [5] has only one minor mention of industry input, whereas the leaked documents repeatedly talk about the need for further consultations with industry and explicitly mention how industry input has been collected. ….

Sounds familiar doesn’t it. As usual the pressure is coming from America:

Leaked TTIP documents cast doubt on EU-US trade deal

Talks for a free trade deal between Europe and the US face a serious impasse with “irreconcilable” differences in some areas, according to leaked negotiating texts.

The two sides are also at odds over US demands that would require the EU to break promises it has made on environmental protection.

President Obama said last week he was confident a deal could be reached. But the leaked negotiating drafts and internal positions, which were obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, paint a very different picture. …

It’s all about the lobbyists:

Greenpeace Publishes Leaked TTIP Documents… Show How Backroom Deals Are Driven By Lobbyists

from the because-of-course-they-are dept

We’ve written plenty of stories about the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) agreement being worked on between the US and the EU. Think of it as the companion to the TPP, which covers the US and a variety of countries around the Pacific ocean. Like the TPP, the US has demanded extreme levels of secrecy around the negotiations (in the past, the US negotiating body, the USTR, has admitted that the more the public is aware of the details, the less likely they are to support the agreement). And while there have been reports out of the EU arguing that negotiators there are more willing to be more open about the negotiations, so far, the US has not allowed it. This has resulted in some crazy situations including secretive “reading rooms” where politicians are carefully guarded if they look at the current drafts — and where they’re not allowed to bring any device or copy anything from the documents.

Now, Greenpeace has leaked a bunch of the TTIP documents…  As for the contents revealed, it’s pretty much what everyone suspected. Most of the focus, so far, is on details showing that the US has been pressuring the EU to loosen various consumer and environmental protections in the EU. While it hasn’t received as much attention, the leak also does suggest problems for digital rights, mainly by giving telcos much more power. …

The Guardian’s Trevor Timm offers some good advice:

The TTIP and TPP trade deals: enough of the secrecy

Two of the largest US-negotiated trade deals in recent history are both being hidden from public view. If they remain that way we must reject them outright

And on Stuff this morning Green MP Kennedy Graham reflects on the TPP process in NZ:

TPPA shines light on constitutional shortcomings

As the Green MP on the relevant committee, I attended the hearings the committee held, reading the 3000 written submissions and listening to the 255 oral submissions presented in person.

In eight years in Parliament, I have not witnessed such passion from New Zealanders as in these hearings. Whatever the substantive issues of the treaty, and we all have our views, the fact is that people harbour deep concern over the general nature of this particular agreement.

But the concern I wish to convey here is not about policy. It is about the manner in which the House dealt with the treaty examination process. Because I believe it highlights both procedural hubris on the part of the government, and also a constitutional weakness in relation to the role of Parliament over treaty examination and ratification. …

Read on for Graham’s list of important questions.

TTIP, TTPA, same game around the globe, a take-over by American corporations, with the rights of the public held in no regard whatsoever.

11 comments on “What the TTIP teaches us about the TPP”

  1. save nz 1

    +100

  2. AmaKiwi 2

    “Green MP Kennedy Graham reflects on the TPP process in NZ: “It reflects a constitutional weakness in relation to the role of Parliament over treaty examination and ratification…”

    We are not dealing with isolated incidents of “constitutional weakness” or one environmental mishap, etc.

    When our MPs acknowledge our Westminster system needs an overhaul, we are one step closer to re-designing our self-destructive civilization.

  3. JonL 3

    It is, of course, a formal declaration of war by the multinational corporates and those who would be the ruling class, against the rest of the population. That is the only way it can be interpreted. So….it boils down to whose side are you on?…….

  4. Richardrawshark 4

    I don’t like FTA’s period, their is no free trade around the planet, there are costs in trade always, costs to labour, costs of labour, product quality, effects on the economy good and bad. Every negotiation with a country should have it’s own defined trade agreement. Blanket agreements allow low wage labour countries an unfair advantage and cripples our manufacturing in the same area for the cost of money leaving our economy and for the receipt of cheap labour inferior goods. Made by people not exactly getting much pride from their remuneration.

    Environments secondary to me. So is legal reasons.

  5. Pasupial 5

    Phil Goff can Fuck Off!

  6. Whateva next? 6

    When I tried to discuss TTIP concerns in Europe with “non political” friends/ neighbours, it was dismissed out of hand as being “different” from TPPA, and irrelevant…….how will we point out it is the same concerns we should have, no matter which side of the equator?

  7. johnm 7

    Kill TPPA Now

    Paul Craig Roberts

    In his May 9, 2016, speech to European medical professionals, Michael Hudson points out that the result of TPPA for Europe will be the privatization of health care systems with the associated much higher costs.

    Hudson’s accurate description of TPPA shows that politically powerful corporations have gained the power in Western “democracies” to sacrifice the welfare of all populations to corporate greed for profit regardless of the cost to peoples, countries, and societies.

    The evil of American “democratic capitalism” is total and irredeemable. TPPA gives corporations unaccountable power over governments and peoples. The corporations must be slapped down hard, fiercely regulated, and forced by threat of long prison sentences to serve the public interest, and not the incomes of the executives and shareholders who comprise the One Percent.

    Here is Hudson’s analysis:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/11/the-dangers-of-free-trade-agreements-ttips-threat-to-europes-elderly/

    Remember: shareholders can sue the directors of Corps for failing their duties. With the TPPA the CORPS are the shareholders in our, our country and if we don’t deliver they can sue us in a secret court run by themselves. The TPPA is a CORPORATE FASCIST takeover big time. Shonkey made his pile that way of course he’ll sell us out to his bosses.

    I’ve inserted TPPA instead of TAPA or transatlantic partnership agreement. The same applies to both.

    • Johan 7.1

      To: johnm
      Got in one!!!
      A number of years ago US corporates with overseas investments were protected by military type operatives in countries around the world under the guise of the Monroe Doctrine. Today corporations in the USA have become more efficient in achieving their goal, they have manipulated world commerce, through treaties such as the TPPA, specifically designed to increase the gap between the rich and poor.
      Forget about passing the TPPA in law, and aim to negotiate a trade treaty which is a fair one for all.

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    Wall St. groups threaten to sit out trade pact push
    Banks, insurance companies and other financial companies oppose a provision in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would give foreign governments the ability to require that U.S. businesses maintain data servers within their borders, fearing it could create high costs and security risks.

    The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Financial Services Roundtable (FSR) say that while they are prepared to devote substantial resources to lobbying Congress in support of the TPP, the Obama administration must first rework the data provision to guarantee that their electronic data can move freely across borders.
    ….
    Bentsen said the problem stems from a push by U.S. regulators, who felt strongly about making sure that they could have access to information from U.S.-based firms, particularly in periods of economic turmoil. Financial groups say regulators are far too focused on where the data is stored, given the interconnectivity of global networks.
    http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/279621-wall-st-groups-threaten-to-sit-out-trade-pact-push?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  9. Tautoko Mangō Mata 9

    I attended the lecture on ISDS given by Canadian Professor Gus van Haarten. Here are a few notes I took.
    Some interesting facts: the biggest beneficiaries of ISDS are large multinational corporations, followed by wealthy individuals. Lawyers and arbitrators also did well.
    Respondent countries were the losers.
    Signs of trouble with TPP.
    1. Rapid expansion of ISDS through TPP
    2. ISDS undermines democracy and regulation.
    A survey on the question “How does ISDS affect your decision-making?” gave the findings that Trade and ISDS is a driver of the whole process. Canada did not introduce national prohibition of bulk removal of water from Canadian waterways because of the threat of ISDS.
    3.ISDS transfers public powers to arbitrators
    4.ISDS rejects domestic processes- removes customary duty to go to domestic courts in first instance.

    Please read the following article about Gus van Haarten plus McClay’s BS response.
    http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/79903061/expert-warns-nz-about-foreign-lawsuits-as-tppa-bill-passes-first-reading

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