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Paul Merrell

WikiLeaks - Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment Chapter - 0 views

  • WikiLeaks releases today the "Investment Chapter" from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014). The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP.
  • The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can "sue" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for "expected future profits". These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country's laws or policies affect the company's claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations. The TPP negotiations have been ongoing in secrecy for five years and are now in their final stages. In the United States the Obama administration plans to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress without the ability of elected officials to discuss or vote on individual measures. This has met growing opposition as a result of increased public scrutiny following WikiLeaks' earlier releases of documents from the negotiations.
  • The TPP is set to be the forerunner to an equally secret agreement between the US and EU, the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). Negotiations for the TTIP were initiated by the Obama administration in January 2013. Combined, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. The third treaty of the same kind, also negotiated in secrecy is TISA, on trade in services, including the financial and health sectors. It covers 50 countries, including the US and all EU countries. WikiLeaks released the secret draft text of the TISA's financial annex in June 2014. All these agreements on so-called “free trade” are negotiated outside the World Trade Organization's (WTO) framework. Conspicuously absent from the countries involved in these agreements are the BRICs countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Read the Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) - Investment chapter
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    The previously leaked chapter on copyrights makes clear that the TPP would be a disaster for a knowledge society. This chapter makes clear that only corprorations may compel arbitration; there is no corresponding right for human beings to do so. 
Paul Merrell

LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global | Wolf Street - 0 views

  • Much has been written, at least in the alternative media, about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), two multilateral trade treaties being negotiated between the representatives of dozens of national governments and armies of corporate lawyers and lobbyists (on which you can read more here, here and here). However, much less is known about the decidedly more secretive Trade in Services Act (TiSA), which involves more countries than either of the other two. At least until now, that is. Thanks to a leaked document jointly published by the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, the potential ramifications of the treaty being hashed out behind hermetically sealed doors in Geneva are finally seeping out into the public arena.
  • If signed, the treaty would affect all services ranging from electronic transactions and data flow, to veterinary and architecture services. It would almost certainly open the floodgates to the final wave of privatization of public services, including the provision of healthcare, education and water. Meanwhile, already privatized companies would be prevented from a re-transfer to the public sector by a so-called barring “ratchet clause” – even if the privatization failed. More worrisome still, the proposal stipulates that no participating state can stop the use, storage and exchange of personal data relating to their territorial base. Here’s more from Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of Public Services International (PSI):
  • The leaked documents confirm our worst fears that TiSA is being used to further the interests of some of the largest corporations on earth (…) Negotiation of unrestricted data movement, internet neutrality and how electronic signatures can be used strike at the heart of individuals’ rights. Governments must come clean about what they are negotiating in these secret trade deals. Fat chance of that, especially in light of the fact that the text is designed to be almost impossible to repeal, and is to be “considered confidential” for five years after being signed. What that effectively means is that the U.S. approach to data protection (read: virtually non-existent) could very soon become the norm across 50 countries spanning the breadth and depth of the industrial world.
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  • The main players in the top-secret negotiations are the United States and all 28 members of the European Union. However, the broad scope of the treaty also includes Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey. Combined they represent almost 70 percent of all trade in services worldwide. An explicit goal of the TiSA negotiations is to overcome the exceptions in GATS that protect certain non-tariff trade barriers, such as data protection. For example, the draft Financial Services Annex of TiSA, published by Wikileaks in June 2014, would allow financial institutions, such as banks, the free transfer of data, including personal data, from one country to another. As Ralf Bendrath, a senior policy advisor to the MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht, writes in State Watch, this would constitute a radical carve-out from current European data protection rules:
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Global Net Neutrality Coalition | Blog | Access - 0 views

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    "Anyone who thinks that net neutrality is a boring technical issue for computer geeks needs to look outside the U.S. Netizens around the world aren't fooled by the confusing misdirection of industry lobbyists-they're championing the cause of an open internet by pushing for laws and policies that protect the features that made the internet what it is today." [ # ! #Globalization'... # ! ... for a #Good #Cause. # ! #Participate.]
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    "Anyone who thinks that net neutrality is a boring technical issue for computer geeks needs to look outside the U.S. Netizens around the world aren't fooled by the confusing misdirection of industry lobbyists-they're championing the cause of an open internet by pushing for laws and policies that protect the features that made the internet what it is today."
Paul Merrell

Japan, U.S. trade chiefs seek to clinch bilateral TPP deal - 毎日新聞 - 0 views

  • Talks on the TPP, which would create a massive free trade zone encompassing some 40 percent of global output, have long been stalled due partly to bickering between Japan and the United States -- the biggest economies in the TPP framework -- over removal of barriers for agricultural and automotive trade. The biggest sticking point has been Tokyo's proposed exceptions to tariff cuts on its five sensitive farm product categories -- rice, wheat, beef and pork, dairy products and sugar -- and safeguard measures it wants to introduce should imports of the products surge under the TPP, which aims for zero tariffs in principle. It is uncertain how much closer the two sides can move given that their recent working-level talks saw little progress, negotiation sources said.
  • A summit meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum scheduled for November in Beijing that Obama and leaders from other TPP countries are slated to join is seen as an occasion for concluding the TPP talks, which have entered their fifth year. But the odds on an agreement depend on whether Japan and the United States can bridge their gaps before that.
  • Hiroshi Oe, Japan's deputy chief TPP negotiator, has admitted that talks with his counterpart Wendy Cutler, Froman's top deputy, earlier this month in Tokyo made very little progress. One negotiation source said the hurdle for solving the outstanding bilateral problems is "extremely high," suggesting it is still premature to bring the talks to the ministerial level. Amari himself had been reluctant to hold a one-on-one meeting with Froman with the working-level negotiations failing to see enough progress. But he apparently decided to ramp up efforts in response to strong calls from Washington for arranging a meeting with Froman, who has said the two sides are "now at a critical juncture in this negotiation."
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  • The TPP comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
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    Get ready to fight TPP fast-tracking in member states. see also 'Wikileaks' free trade documents reveal 'drastic' Australian concessions.' Source: The Guardian. http://goo.gl/hicb5h Remember that in the U.S., only Senate ratification is required. The measure will not go before the House before implementation. 
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