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Friday, August 16, 2013

How the Pending Trans-Pacific Partnership and EU-US Trade Deals Will Gut National Regulations, Hurt Budgets, and Undermine Sovereignity

The Sovereignty Surrenderers: Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yves here. We’ve written from time time about the latest plans underway to further degrade the lives of ordinary citizens in order to fatten the bottom lines of major multinationals, namely, two major US-led international trade pacts.

Even though the US media has given these pending deals scant attention, they represent a far-reaching effort to restructure basic legal and regulatory frameworks. As we wrote earlier this year:

By way of background, the Administration is taking the unusual step of trying to negotiate two major trade deals in the same timeframe. Apparently Obama wants to make sure his corporate masters get as many goodies as possible before he leaves office. The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the US-European Union “Free Trade” Agreement are both inaccurately depicted as being helpful to ordinary Americans by virtue of liberalizing trade. Instead, the have perilous little to do with trade. They are both intended to make the world more lucrative for major corporations by weakening regulations and by strengthening intellectual property laws. The TPP has an additional wrinkle of being an “everybody but China” deal, intended to strengthen ties among nations who will then be presumed allies of America in its efforts to contain China…

Baker describes in scathing terms why these types of deals are bad policy:
…these deals are about securing regulatory gains for major corporate interests. In some cases, such as increased patent and copyright protection, these deals are 180 degrees at odds with free trade. They are about increasing protectionist barriers..
These deals will also lead to more upward redistribution of income. The more money that people in the developing world pay to Pfizer for drugs and Microsoft for software, the less money they will pay for the products that we export, as opposed to “intellectual property rights”….

This is yet another case where the government is working for a tiny elite against the interests of the bulk of the population.

If that isn’t bad enough, there’s another side of these planned pacts that is often simply ignored. These “trade” deals are Trojan horses to erode or eliminate national regulations. Baker anticipates that these deals will include sections that would limit government regulation (including at the state and local level) on fracking and could revive much of the internet surveillance that reared its ugly head in the failed SOPA [notice this was written in the innocent pre-Snowden era].

And this sort of erosion of the right to regulate will most assuredly extend to financial services. Dodd Frank? The Brown-Vitter bill that some see as a great new hope for tougher financial regulation? They are already unworkable under existing trade agreements.

Back to the current post. The article below describes the likely mechanism by which international investors will be able to vitiate national laws and regulations. Notice also that Australia has managed to get an exception to the Trans-Pacific Partnership on this issue. Who there has the 5×7 glossies on Obama? Will he share? …Finish reading