NGOs call for release of TPP trade pact text

By Leith van Onselen

Forty-eight non-government organisations (NGOs) have issued an open letter to trade ministers and heads of delegations calling for the release of the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, in a bid to raise transparency and accountability.

Australian signatories include:

  • Australian Digital Alliance
  • Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET)
  • Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
  • Australian Libraries Copyright Committee (ALCC)
  • Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)
  • Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA)

As noted in the letter:

Ever since talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) began over five years ago, there have been broad public calls on leaders to make negotiations more transparent and open to the public. In statements, in letters, and in face-to-face meetings with trade representatives, we have urged the adoption of concrete practices that would better enable the kind of open debate and oversight that would help demystify these ongoing negotiations by making better, more accurate information available to the public.

The European Commission has recently taken leadership on this issue in the parallel context of negotiations over a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), recommending on 25 November 2014 that the EU’s TTIP text proposals henceforth be released to the public, and that other information related to TTIP be shared more broadly with all Members of the European Parliament, beyond the currently limited membership of the International Trade Committee.

The end of TPP negotiations now seems to be coming into focus. They have come down to high-level political decisions by negotiating countries, and the text is largely completed except for some resolutions on remaining landing zones. At this point, we know that there is a draft of the TPP that is mostly agreed upon by those negotiating the deal.

Today, we strongly urge you to release the unbracketed text and to release the negotiating positions for text that is bracketed, now and going forwards as any future proposals are made. The public has a legitimate interest in knowing what has already been decided on its behalf, and what is now at stake with our various countries’ positions on these controversial regulatory issues.

We call on you to consider the recent announcement from the European Commission as a welcome precedent to follow, thereby re-affirming your commitment to fundamental principles of transparency and public participation in rule making. The negotiations in Washington DC this week would provide the perfect opportunity for such a ground-breaking accord to be announced.

For this reason, several notable experts have voiced strong opposition to the TPP fearing that it represents grave risks for the global trading system and citizens of countries operating within it.

Of course, the 48 NGOs are not the only ones concerned about the TPP.

Earlier this year, former World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general, Supachai Panitchpakdi, claimed the TPP represents a step backwards to the days before the WTO when the US and Europe controlled the global trading system to the detriment of other economies.

Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, raised similar fears in an open letter posted late last year, whereby he questioned negotiators’ secrecy and warned about “grave risks on all sorts of topics” posed by the TPP, as well as claiming that it contains “many of the worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed reforms extremely difficult if not impossible”.

Meanwhile, Paul Krugman, another nobel prize winning economist and trade expert, has also slammed the TPP, noting that it would increase the ability of certain corporations to assert control over intellectual property [including] drug patents and movie rights”. Krugman also claimed that “there isn’t a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view”, and that the “economic case is weak, at best”, with “the push for T.P.P… weirdly out of touch with both economic and political reality”.

Let’s hope the countries involved in the TPP follow the European Commission’s precedent and release the draft text as soon as possible. We have been kept in the dark for too long.

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Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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Comments

  1. What does it say about the current system that it needs Non government organizations to stand up and speak up for the interests of the citizens of a country that is supposed to have a government representing its best interests.
    This is unacceptable that the populace has become a nation of sheep, unwilling to say or do anything because governments put in place laws and restrictions to subdue them.

    • The populous is so complacent with its big multimillions mansions that it doesn’t care about anything but its own wealth “creation” via ever rising property prices.

  2. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Frankly I tend to the view that every last trade pact signed in the last 15 years should be subject to parliamentary review and renewal every 5-10 years. I wouildnt mind a Parliamentary Inquiry and Royal Commission into the net benefits and costs of every last free trade agreement Australia has signed up to.

    Our politicians havent shown themselves capable of negotiating anything without stuffing it up

    • That would make a mighty fine mess of Mr Robb business model for keeping the peeps none the wiser with an ongoing flow of off shore sales of Australian assets, land, existing housing, industries and claims on our future income.

      TPP is all about being wide open for business – mostly other folks businesses.

    • Stuffing it up? They’re negotiated perfectly in the manner they were intended i.e. against our better interests in favour of corporate interests.

      Robb knows what he’s doing, he just doesn’t want the rest of us to find out until it’s too late.

  3. I find it hard to see the benefits in such agreements for Australia at the moment.

    The IP parts of the TPP are the opposite of ‘free trade’ from what I understand. They would take works that are currently free in Australia, and apply the US’ broken perpetual (in practice) copyright system to them, in the bizarre hope they can incentivise Orwell to write a better version of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    My previous understanding was that it had stalled in the US because they won’t allow access to their agricultural markets. Has this changed? If not, it’s hard to see how it would go through unless we’re complete pushovers.

  4. “US and Europe controlled the global trading system to the detriment of other economies.”

    That’s the entire premise of the TPP and TTIP. It’s entire purpose is to further US global hegemony. This is done economically via agreements such as these which mean countries essentially lay themselves at the mercy of US multi nationals and give up their soverignty to the US. For countries that don’t willingly bend down or over they can expect economic measures via sanctions or outright military internvention to force compliance and the furthering of US “strategic interests.”

  5. It is not just the TPP. There is also the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) which opens up services. I suspect the banks will use it to off-shore and in-source and all government services, including health, will be subject to TiSA. The Blue and White Collar sectors of the economy could get poor pretty quickly.

  6. So-called “free trade” agreements are an essential part of the New Elite Consensus.

    The New Elite Consensus is the program of abolishing the ideals of the Modern Era – the ideals of egalitarianism, popular democracy and self-determination – and reinstating the traditional Rule of Privilege with:

    a) entrenched wealth;

    b) corrupt politics; and

    c) supranational relationships which transcend community (and even national) self-determination.

    It seeks to end the Century of the Common Man and restore the Rule of Privilege.

    In the field of wealth, Thomas Piketty and others have done a good job of documenting the return to concentrated private wealth.

    In the field of politics, the Elite have learned how to effectively subvert the corrupt system of elective government through a combination of:

    a) campaign finance;

    b) the promise of lucrative jobs for obedient politicians on retirement;, and

    c) the transfer of strategic monopolies and tax farms into the hands of private controllers, making politicians ever more dependent on the goodwill of the private financiers.

    As Gilens and Page in the US have shown, the US political system:

    a) typically reflects the policy preference of (at most) the wealthiest 10%; and

    b) where it does reflect other policy preferences those are typically not the policy preferences of the majority but of powerful lobby groups.

    And in the field of self-determination, local (and even national) self-determination is being abolished in favour of opaque and unaccountable supranational institutions – including the web of so-called “free-trade” agreements – which can be used to impose Elite interests against any aberrant national government which might try to challenge them.

    The root of this problem is the lack of genuinely democratic government. Corrupt government and Elite power go hand-in-hand.

    Wealth -> Power -> More Wealth -> More Power.

    If you care for your children and your grandchildren, look to the system which is destroying their future: the corrupt system of elective government.

    The only remedy is Democracy – genuine Democracy. That is the battle which needs to be fought.

    If Democracy can be won, all else will follow.

    If Democracy cannot be won, any other victories will be short-lived at best, falling eventually to the relentless power of Elite rent-seeking.

    Fight the battle worth fighting.

    It’s the only hope there is.

  7. TPP/CETA/C-CIT Treaties; SUING The Global Corporate Economy; the harmless NON Shareholders. ‘Coveted’ HK Investor; BUY GOLD?

    ‘But, WILL CHINA, The Muslim World, INDIA, et al, SUPPORT PUTIN (BRICS, et al); The WHITE KNIGHT?’

    SECRET TPP, CETA, et al, GLOBALIZES WALL ST.’s UNREGULATED TRANSGRESSIONS? TOO Big, BigGER, BIGGEST for “ARRANGED” FAILURES?
    HOW to DISCOURAGE CORPORATE USA, et al, “Need” to FLEECE NON-Shareholders & GLOBALLY EXPAND $17 Trillion DEBT.

    Higher Taxes (But, No ‘NEW’ Taxes), More Cuts to Services to Pay Secret TPPartnership Tribunal Penalties; NON Shareholders Have to Pay SHAREHOLDERS, corporate America, Japan, et al.
    How Much are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for?

    It will be good for, not only the NON shareholders of the enterprises that will be generated by the on-going global “cooperation” of corporate treaties, agreements, partnerships, et al, including the China – Canada Investment Treaty, The Trans Pacific Partnership, the EU – Canada CETA,
    but,
    for the potential shareholders, as well,
    who are quite interested to know if President Xi Jinping (China) will support Russia as a co-member of B.R.I.C.S. when President Putin uses his potential role as “The White Knight”.

    And, while President Putin’s potential support as “The WHITE KNIGHT” in the development of the CETAgreement, et al, litigation below can dramatically off-set the hundreds of billions of dollars due to the present & future sanctions leveled by American led, et al, corporations & financial institutions via their governments’ signing their global corporate economic treaties/”arrangements”,
    and the potential for making trillions of dollars for the Russian economy over the next 30 – 40 years & beyond,
    are the citizens (SHAREHOLDERS & NON shareholders) of Germany & JAPAN just being prudent in wanting to wait for the outcome of:
    1) The Submission to The SUPREME COURT of CANADA & the highest court in Germany, et al, to make their findings regarding “The Submission”:
    “The SHAREHOLDERS & Corporations of AMERICA, Australia, Canada, et al
    v
    the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al”?
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com )

    and

    2) “The MERKEL (Chanc. Germ.) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued”?
    (see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com )

    Have the federal representatives of the nations that are the potential signatories of CETA, TPP, et al, willingly provided the NON shareholders of China, Canada, Europe, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, with the aforementioned information? Are the federal representatives, et al, depriving the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, of the due diligence information that enables the family of the NON shareholders of Canada, et al, to make informed decisions regarding their financial planning?

    And, would a reasonable person conclude by a preponderance of the evidence, &/or, beyond a reasonable doubt, that these documents, et al, demonstrate that the SHAREHOLDERS of AMERICA, CANADA , the EU & Trans Pacific nations, et al, really do not care which NON shareholders pay them the punitive penalties, etc., by way of their secret (“Death-Star Chamber”) TRIBUNALS, as long as its not the SHAREHOLDERS who pay & not their corporations regardless of which country the corporations:
    1) operating from,
    2) maintain their headquarters,
    3) use to do their cyber banking, accounting, “taxation”, etc.
    &
    4) et al?

    And, re; the CHINA – Canada Investment Treaty, is it understandable why the “coveted” Hong Kong investor & his associates are “concerned” with the aforementioned findings of The SUPREME COURT of CANADA, et al, & the effects of the findings, et al, on the EU, AMERICA, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, treaties with CHINA, et al?

    In regard to arms sales; how about the sale of arms (non nuclear) in general in regard to the “trade” treaties that are continuing to be secretly negotiated and how will the Tribunals, both; B.R.I.C.S. & non BRICS, adjudicate, decide & penalize the NON SHAREHOLDERS for the sale of legitimate, semi- legitimate & “illegal” sales of arms within the signatories nations & the those of others, &/or, unaligned? Of particular, interest is China, which does have an treaty with Canada, which puts China “at odds” with other arms manufacturing & nuclear powers that it (China) does not have any “arrangements” with.
    Are these types of questions that your politicians & the corporate lobbyists calls “forget-me-nots” (“Buyer Beware”) that will be (maybe) worked out after the fast tracked signatures are obtained?

    And, what do you think is the significance of the line in The Submission to The Supreme Court of Canada ‘…And, lest one forgets that the revelation of the present perilous international treaties/’arrangements’ began with the regard for the rights of Native Canadians as per the Treaties/”arrangements” that corporate Canada & the Government of Canada have ‘foisted’ upon Native Canadians…’? What are the various ways that this line will cost the SHAREHOLDERS, et al?

    On the other hand, it may be worth repeating yet again,
    ‘What the TREATY of VERSAILLES was to the 20th century PALES in COMPARISON to the TPP, CETA, C-CIT, NAFTA, et al, in the 21st’.

    And, how will YOUR submission to YOUR highest court IMPROVE upon The Submission that is presently before The Supreme Court of Canada?

    David E.H. Smith
    – Researcher
    – ‘Qui tam…’
    ******
    Please consider sharing the enclosed information & questions with 10 members of your family, friends, associates in order that they can use the due diligence info to make more informed decision about their families’ financial planning, & then they can share it with 10 others…
    ******
    For more Information & Questions re; The Relationship between Human (Nature) Rights & Economics by way of the C-CI Treaty, the CET Agreement,
    TPP, et al, and The WAD Accord
    & List of RECENT ARTICLES, LETTERS & NOTIFICATIONS by DEHS,
    see; davidehsmith.wordpress.com