Business rallies against secretive TPP trade talks

By Leith van Onselen

Fairfax’s Peter Martin is reporting today that the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has called on the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the US-led trade agreement between 12 Pacific rim nations (including Australia) – to be opened and negotiations monitored in real time by the Productivity Commission (PC):

The ACCI wants negotiating drafts to be shown to community and business groups who would then be under an obligation to keep them confidential.

Negotiators would retain their power to conclude deals without reference to the parliament but would be required to “properly consider and balance the merits of civil society’s views at all phases of negotiation”…

In Australia the parliament can accept or reject but cannot amend agreements negotiated by the minister.

The ACCI also wants the direct costs to the government of negotiating treaties to be clearly identified in future budgets…

Mr Clark [from the ACCI] said Australia collected no data on how trade deals were actually used after they were completed…

Australian negotiators do little to ensure that each new trade treaty is consistent with existing ones leading to a mish-mash of overlapping treaties that interfere with each other.

What is particularly concerning about the TPP negotiations is the degree of secrecy surrounding them. If it wasn’t for WikiLeaks leaking the draft chapters on intellectual property and the environment, which revealed huge potential costs to users of pharmaceuticals and digital content, the public would be none the wiser.

It is also lamentable that the TPP negotiations have been opened to some large corporations, which are free to lobby for their interests, but barred to individuals and industry groups. This all but ensures that the final deal will not be in the public’s best interests.

The ACCI’s concerns about a “mish-mash of overlapping treaties that interfere with each other” also echos those raised by me in 2013, when I argued that complex ‘rules of origin’ (ROO) attached to trade agreements raise administrative costs for businesses (including complying with paperwork requirements) and custom services in administering and auditing the ROO, undermining the benefits from the agreements. I also argued that the costs associated with ROOs will be greatest where there is a large number of trade agreements each with different requirements, resulting in a ‘spaghetti bowl effect’ of increasing complexity.

As I keep saying, Australians should be angry at the secretive sell-out that is occurring under the TPP, which has left Australians completely in the dark and seeks to place US corporate interests ahead of our own.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. ceteris paribus

    This TPP Robb-ery is best down under the cover of total darkness. Long live the big corporations.

  2. I still don’t know if this agreement is for eternety or if it needs to be renewed after some period of time. Also, what if a future government would like to cancel it? What would happen then?

    • This is a prelude to stateless society, where the “government” will have only policemen role and all resources are sucked by the “invisible” hand of totally free and unrestricted global (big, hugely concentrated and centralized) capital. This is our grim future and it was envisioned almost century and a half ago by the in-dept analysis of capitalism future development. The logic of today situation wouldn’t be so surprising if most people had the courage to read dangerous books.

  3. In regards to this TPP.
    I just read a column in today paper, that was ranting about the Human Rights Commissioner issue. The column is a side note, whats important was this quote from the Previous Commissioner.

    “As her predecessor Catherine Branson – also a labor appointee, explained in 2010: Under Australian law, ratification of an international treaty does not of itself incorporate that treaty into Australian law”

    So now im wondering, does this also apply to trade treaties ?? Is it possible that even if the current govt signs the TPP that it will require legislation to be passed to have the weight of actual law in this country ?

  4. David E.H. Smith

    Global Treaties/’Arrangements’; TPP, et al; Suing the Global Corporate Economy.
    How Many Preferred Shares of TPP, CETA, TTIP, et al, Generated Enterprises are You Selling your Right to Sue the Global Corporate Economy for? ‘New’ Shareholders Can Say ‘NO’ to & Over-Rule CETA, TTIP, et al, Plans?

    TPP, CETA, TTIP, Global Treaties; Corporate ‘USA’ & SHAREHOLDERS Secretly Using Tax Dollars to Implement SECRET Suing Machine to HAMMER Non Shareholders. Time to Re-Set ‘Game’?

    Will corp.’USA’ et al, & Feds to Prepay $Billions for All ‘Trade’ Treaty/’Arrangements’, et al, Secret (‘Death-Star-Chamber) Tribunals’ Punitive Damages to Protect Home Territory’s Taxpayers? Other Territories, Municipalities, et al, “…(we) need to control corp. USA’s ‘Contributions'”.

    Undemocratic, Higher Taxes & More Cuts to Services to Pay Secret Penalties; NON Shareholders Have to Pay corporates USA, Japan, Australia, Germany, Canada, et al, & their SHAREHOLDERS.

    But, If Not PUTIN; ‘The WHITE KNIGHT’, then Who Do YOU Want to Bankroll the Saving the harmless NON shareholders of the World from Fast Tracking TPP’s, CETA’s (TTIP) Secret ‘Death-Star-Chamber’ Tribunal Penalties?
    Will China, Iran, the Muslim World, et al, Support Putin in Suits?
    How about Li Ka Shing, Warren Buffett, et al?

    It will be good for, not only the NON shareholders of the enterprises that can be generated by the on-going global ‘cooperation’ of corporate treaties, agreements, partnerships, et al, including the Trans Pacific Partnership, the EU – Canada CETA, TTIP, the China – Canada Investment Treaty, et al,
    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 TPP, 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, CHINA, Japan, Germany, Canada, et al
    the harmless Canadian NON shareholders, both; Native & non Native, et al’?

    2) ‘The MERKEL (Chancellor of Germany) Letter; To Sue, or, Be Sued?’

    Have the federal representatives of the nations that are the potential signatories of TPP, TTIP, et al, willingly provided the NON shareholders of US, 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 (C-CIT), et al, 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 potential findings, et al, on the EU, AMERICA, the Trans Pacific nations, et al, treaties with CHINA, et al?

    In regard to arms sales (and other ‘contentious’ products & services & investors, repatriating profits, et al) ; 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