It's unusual for me to agree with everything that a Green Party politician says but in the instance of Paul Bailey's Talking Point on Friday, November 7, he is right on the money. So far as known, this TPP agreement is potentially quite evil. We need facts before signatures.
This agreement is being negotiated in secrecy at the insistence of the United States negotiators representing corporate America that want to dominate, it's US "exceptionalism" in practice.
They were late-comers to the process first started in 2002 by Helen Clark for New Zealand, with leaders of Singapore and Chile, known as Pacific Three Closer Economic Partnership (P3-CEP). Brunei became involved and in June 2005 a P4-CEP agreement was signed and became the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership, a comprehensive trade agreement with rules, remedies, tariff reductions and the like. There was an agreement!
In 2008, the US involved itself and in 2009 US "trade negotiator" Kirk notified Congress that President Obama planned to enter TPP negotiations "with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pact".
Let's not be fooled here. This "shaping" appears all to do with corporate America dominating over treaty partners and putting its interests over and above that of sovereign nations and their peoples - exceptionalism. In secrecy since then, now involving 14 different countries, there have been 20 more formal rounds of "negotiations," indicating how objectionable the corporate demands must be.
Information about the treaty is extremely hard to find and New Zealanders are in the dark.
Taking the word of our negotiator Tim Groser that he is doing a good job for New Zealand is not good enough; corporate America is ruthless in what it does and how it achieves its objectives.
Public Citizen, a global trade watch organisation, commented on the apparently only leaked text so far (Article 12), saying: "It reveals that negotiators already have agreed to many radical terms, granting expansive new rights and privileges for foreign investors and their private corporate enforcement through extra-judicial 'investor-state' tribunals." Although TPP has been branded a "trade" agreement, the leaked text shows that TPP would limit how signatory countries may regulate foreign firms operating within their boundaries.
The leaked text reveals a two-track legal system, with foreign firms empowered to skirt domestic courts and laws to directly sue TPP governments in foreign tribunals.
There they can demand compensation for domestic financial, health, environmental, land use laws and other laws they claim undermine their new "TPP privileges".
Paul Roberts, former under Secretary of Treasury in the Reagan administration, comments: "These so-called 'partnerships' (there is an Atlantic one too) are in fact vehicles by which US corporations make themselves immune to the sovereign laws of foreign countries in which they do business."
A sovereign country that attempts to enforce its laws against an American corporation can be sued by the corporation for "restraint of trade".
For example, New Zealand benefits from being a GE Free food producer. If Monsanto wants to sell GMO seeds in New Zealand or US corporations wish to sell genetically modified foods in New Zealand, and New Zealand enforces any laws against GMOs, the TPP allows New Zealand (or "GE Free" regions) to be sued in jurisdictions outside the courts of New Zealand for "restraint of trade".
In other words, preventing the entry into New Zealand of a prohibited product constitutes "restraint of trade".
This is outrageous! Take note, those who promote GE Free Hawke's Bay food produce to the world as a point of difference. Compensation to an American corporate may be enforced. I have nothing against New Zealand's negotiator but we are foolish to just take his word for gospel. The facts must be disclosed.
Currency and market manipulation is the hallmark of corporate America. Authorities supposed to hold corporations to account actually sanction illegal foul play.
For example, it's impossible for any economist to reconcile a situation in which demand exceeds supply yet the price falls. Demand for physical gold and silver is so high everywhere that mints in Canada and the US can't keep up with demand for coins, yet the price is regularly pummelled with thousands of paper contracts in derivatives markets dumped over the quietest times of trading by Wall Street's "too big to fail" bullion banks.
Although US banks have been fined for corruption, deception and manipulation to the tune of $69 billion (yes, billion), that's a joke and bothers them not one bit when they are then recipient of free printed money from the very organisation that is supposed to be the overseer of corruption, the Federal Reserve.
New Zealand has a lot to fear, even lose. The P4-CEP signed agreement between four small nations attempting to co-operate on trade has morphed into TPPA dominated, it appears, by corporate America's interests.
Let us not be idle and see our sovereignty threatened.
Full disclosure of this agreement before signing and a binding referendum may be the only way New Zealand law can be maintained in New Zealand.
-Malcolm Eves is a retired Hawke's Bay financial adviser.
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Email: email@example.com. All views expressed are those of the writer, not the newspaper.