Monthly Archives: October 2015

Harper supported TPP and lost Canadian Election

TPP was an issue in the Canadian election. Leading up to the dramatic conclusion, the Conservative candidate said:

This deal is, without any doubt whatsoever, in the best interests of the Canadian economy.

By contrast, the Liberal Party issued this statement:

Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Harper Conservatives have failed to be transparent through the entirety of the negotiations – especially in regards to what Canada is conceding in order to be accepted into this partnership.

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Read full articles here and here.

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Cipher: Lessons for the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Cipher Brief writes about NATFA and TPP in Lessons for the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

First, like the TPP, NAFTA was never mostly about trade and even less about free trade. In 1994, the U.S. already had low tariff barriers to Mexican goods. The agreement was much more about creating and expanding new rights and privileges for investors, mostly multinational corporations….

Since NAFTA, economists have also learned that the gains from the parts of these agreements that have to do with trade are extremely small. The most widely cited estimate of the gains to the U.S. from the TPP come to about 0.4 percent of GDP after 10 years – that’s total, not annual gain. This would be barely noticeable. And worse, the likely impact of the TPP on wage inequality would wipe out these gains from most wage earners, so that most people would be worse off as a result of the agreement. Even worse, the TPP’s provisions that strengthen and lengthen patent and copyright protection, according to the drafts that have been leaked, would have even more of an impact in the upward distribution of income. It is no exaggeration when opponents of the TPP refer to the agreement as a “corporate power grab.”

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Read the full article here.

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How TPP can be seen as a military plan

CommonDreams has a novel analysis of TPP in terms of military planning. From More than Economics: TPP, Empire and Common Security Alternatives:

“In fact, you may not expect to hear this from a Secretary of Defense, but in terms of our rebalance in the broadest sense, passing TPP is as important to me as another aircraft carrier.”
—Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

More than corporate profits have driven the now concluded negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement designed to integrate 40% of the world’s total annual production of wealth and resources. Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Chas W. Freeman put it well when he explained that TPP is a “bulwark against rising Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region. [It] is about geopolitical influence, not about economics – even butchered economics.”

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Read the full article here.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation: The Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared

If you are a fan of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, you’ll be interested to read The Final Leaked TPP Text Is All That We Feared:

Today’s release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.

Since we now have the agreed text, we’ll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published by Wikileaks and others.

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Read the full article here.

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MSF calls TPP “A Threat to Affordable Medicines for Millions”

Some people talk about helping others. And then there’s MSF, which sends doctors to help save lives in places where bombs are dropping from the sky. MSF just released a strong statement against TPP:

TPP is threatening to cut off the lifeline that generic drugs provide for people living with HIV/AIDS and many other diseases.  The availability of generic medicines in a particular country depends on a complex structure of national rules and regulations governing patents and other intellectual property rights….

However… the US government is pushing policies in the TPP that represent the most far-reaching attempt to date to impose aggressive IP [intellectual property] standards in a trade agreement with developing countries – policies that further tip the balance towards strong IP regimes favoring commercial interests and away from public health.

Please watch their short video “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Threat to Affordable Medicines for Millions:”

https://vimeo.com/66307252

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Read the full article here.

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Guardian: Obama faces TPP deal balancing act as Congress considers approval

The Guardian published Obama faces TPP deal balancing act as Congress considers approval:

Pro-trade analysts in Washington remain hopeful that most Republicans will welcome the overall liberalising effect of the deal despite their misgivings about specific industries, but the analysts acknowledge there may not be enough Democratic party converts to offset lost support on the right.

“It’s a game of whack-a-mole,” said Daniel Ikenson, director of trade policy studies at the Cato Institute.

“The administration has been touting this as the most progressive trade agreement in history, but every time they do that, the Republicans start to peel off.”

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Read full article here.

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Chile: TPP Opponents Demand Disclosure of Full Text of Agreement (in Spanish)

This is an article in Spanish about how TPP opponents in Chile are demanding the full text of the agreement:

Chile: Organizaciones que rechazan el TPP piden a Cancillería conocer acuerdo

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Read full article here (in Spanish)

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The Nation: A TPP Deal Is Finally Reached, but Don’t Assume It Will Pass Congress

While the New York Times headlines suggest that TPP is a done deal, The Nation has a different headline: A TPP Deal Is Finally Reached, but Don’t Assume It Will Pass Congress

TPP opponents are now insisting the deal faces serious peril in Congress, where it will come up for a vote in about four months. Political advocacy often requires creating a sense of optimism and momentum even when it’s not warranted, but in this case there is legitimate reason to believe the trade deal will ultimately be rejected by either the House or the Senate, or possibly both.

Several brewing political disturbances could form a perfect storm to defeat the TPP in early February. The most immediate danger is in the House, where fast-track trade promotion authority passed by very narrow margins during a drama that included one failed vote.

Now, restless hardline conservatives just pushed House Speaker John Boehner out of his job.

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Read the full article here.

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Project Syndicate: The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade

Project Syndicate published a strong article, The Trans-Pacific Free-Trade Charade:

As negotiators and ministers from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries meet in Atlanta in an effort to finalize the details of the sweeping new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), some sober analysis is warranted. The biggest regional trade and investment agreement in history is not what it seems.

You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for “free trade.” The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members’ trade and investment relations – and to do so on behalf of each country’s most powerful business lobbies. Make no mistake: It is evident from the main outstanding issues, over which negotiators are still haggling, that the TPP is not about “free” trade.

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Read the full article here.

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Brooklyn elected officials react to TPP, including Republican Congressman Dan Donovan

Kings County Politics published Brooklyn Fed Lawmakers Express Reservation On Pacific Trade Agreement, a roundup of local elected officials on TPP. Here is the view of New York City’s only Republican congressional representative:

Patrick Ryan, spokesperson for Southwest Brooklyn Congressman Dan Donovan, said since the actual contents of the agreement have not been disseminated to Congressional offices yet, Donovan and his team will thoroughly review the agreement before they comment on it.

“As you know, the Congressman voted against providing the President with fast-track authority. The Congressman’s main interest is protecting jobs for Brooklynites and Staten Islanders, and after reviewing the agreement’s framework he had major concerns about the potential for job losses here,” said Ryan.

“Fast-track authority precludes Congress from amending individual sections and instead requires a straight up-and-down vote on the entire package, a procedure the Congressman opposes because it does not allow for changes to the agreement that might better protect American jobs,” he added.

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Read the full article here.

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