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Archive for February, 2012

What US Business Wants from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

by Dr Patricia Ranald, Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network {1} convener

Australian Options, Issue 61 (Winter 2010)

The Australian Government has started negotiations for a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) with the US, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore New Zealand and Vietnam to develop a multilateral agreement based on the bilateral agreements the US has with four of these countries. This will resurrect all of the issues that were debated in the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).

The Howard Government negotiated the AUSFTA in 2003 and 2004. The US government and companies identified Australian health, cultural and environmental policies as barriers to trade that they wanted to remove or change. These included price controls of medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, labelling of genetically engineered food, Australian content rules in film and television, and rules for local content and jobs in government purchasing.

The US government also wanted an investor-state dispute process, which would have given US companies the right to sue Australian governments for damages if laws or policies harmed their investments, even if the laws were in the public interest.

There was strong community opposition which had some impact. There was no investor-state dispute process, no changes to genetic-engineering food labelling, and limited changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and local media content. The Australian Labor Party, then in Opposition, moved Senate amendments to the implementing legislation which limited legal action by drug companies to prolong their rights to charge higher prices for medicines, and preserved some local media content for film and television.

http://www.australian-options.org.au/issues/options_61/images/cartoon5.jpg

The TPPA means that all the issues we kept out of the USAustralia agreement will be on the table again. We know from submissions made by US business groups that they want more changes to Australian policies on the price controls on medicines, local media content, labelling of genetically-engineered food, and government procurement, and that they support the inclusion of an investor-state dispute process in the agreement {1}.

The US Government National Trade Estimate report on Foreign Trade Barriers in Australia in 2010 also lists these policies as trade barriers which they want changed {2}.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (“PBS”)

In the US, the wholesale prices of common prescription medicines are three to ten times the prices paid in Australia. Under the PBS, the wholesale prices of medicines are controlled because health experts on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee compare the price and effectiveness of new medicines with the prices of comparable but cheaper generic medicines whose patents have expired. The listed medicines are then made available for sale at regulated subsidised retail prices, currently $5.30 for pensioners and other low income groups and $33.30 for others. The difference between the wholesale price and the subsidised retail price is the cost of the PBS to taxpayers.

Pharmaceutical companies argued that Australia’s system prevented them from enjoying the full benefits of their intellectual property rights by comparing the price of new drugs with cheaper generic drugs. Our strong community campaign helped to retain the PBS pricing system.

But the AUSFTA set up a joint Medicines Working Group of US and Australian representatives and in 2007 the Howard Government made changes to medicines policy that enable pharmaceutical companies to receive higher wholesale prices for some medicines, by creating a new F1 category for medicines that are supposed to have unique health benefits.

Medical studies published in 2010 show that the higher priced F1 medicines are an increasing share of the PBS budget, without enough evidence that they have better health effects. A government review of PBS costs published in February 2010 confirms that the F1 category is contributing to higher costs for the PBS than were predicted. The 2010 Budget has some measures to limit the F1 category and contain these costs.

The TPPA provides another opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry to demand changes which would lock in the F1 category’s higher prices. They are demanding that all the TPPA governments give a commitment not to implement new policies to control prices, and the US Government Trade Barriers report asks for more rights for drug companies to take legal action to delay cheaper generic drugs becoming available.

The Australian government should stand firm against these demands, which would prevent them from making changes to contain the costs of the PBS, as they have done in the 2010 budget.

No Investor-State Dispute Process

All trade agreements contain state-to-state dispute processes to resolve conflicts about the agreements.

Investor-state dispute processes are additional dispute processes which give international corporate investors rights to challenge domestic government laws and policy and sue governments for damages if they believe their investments have been harmed. These disputes are heard by trade tribunals which give priority to the interests of the investor, rather than to the public interest.

The AUSFTA does not contain the investor-state dispute process because strong community campaigning pressured the Howard Government to oppose it.

The investor-state dispute process in the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has enabled corporations to challenge laws and sue governments for millions of dollars. The process is based in US legal principles, which define most public interest regulation as “indirect expropriation” if it affects corporate profits.

This is an unacceptable expansion of the rights of corporate investors. Governments are elected to develop laws and policies in the public interest through democratic parliamentary processes. Giving corporations extra rights to sue governments undermines the democratic process and places the rights of corporations above the rights of elected governments, as the following examples show.

* Ethyl vs Canadian government 1998 to 1999: US company Ethyl successfully challenged a Canadian ban on gasoline additive MMT which the Canadian government claimed was harmful to human health and the environment. The Canadian government agreed to withdraw the ban and pay Ethyl $13 million.

* SD Myers vs the Canadian government 1998 to 2000: US waste treatment company SD Myers challenged a Canadian government ban on the export of toxic PCB chemicals and on a multilateral environmental treaty on toxic waste trade.

* United Parcel Service vs the Canadian government 2000 to 2007: US company UPS claimed that the Canada Post’s parcel delivery service was unfairly subsidised because it was part of the larger public postal service. The company did not win this case, but it cost the Canadian government millions in time and legal fees over seven years.

The NAFTA dispute process discourages governments from raising standards of public regulation. Between 1994 and January 2009, 59 cases were launched against governments, an average of almost four cases per year. Most of these have not succeeded, but they involve governments in years of expensive litigation, even if damages are not awarded.

A more recent example comes from a bilateral investment treaty containing an investor-state dispute process based on the NAFTA principles and has direct implications for Australia.

* Philip Morris vs government of Uruguay 2010 ongoing: Philip Morris International, based in Switzerland and the US, filed a claim against Uruguay in February 2010 challenging tobacco advertising restrictions introduced by Uruguayan health authorities, based on World Health Organisation recommendations. The company claims that the measures violate the terms of the Switzerland-Uruguay bilateral investment treaty by preventing it from displaying its trademark, and claimed “substantial” damages.

The Australian government also announced in April 2010 that it would introduce similar legislation. Philip Morris immediately threatened legal action against the Australian government, claiming that the legislation would violate Australia’s international trade obligations including the USAustralia Free Trade Agreement.

The current AUSFTA does not have an investor-state dispute process, so this is an empty threat. But if the government agrees to an investor-state dispute process as part of the TPPA it would hand the tobacco companies the weapon to sue it for millions of dollars of damages in a law suit against the plain packaging legislation. US firms could also use the process to challenge laws on the PBS, local content in media and government purchasing, and genetic-engineering labelling. US firms are far more likely to sue our governments than vice versa because they have more resources and because Australia generally has more public interest legislation than exists in the US.

Local Content in Media and in Government Purchasing

Australia still has local content requirement for television and radio to ensure that Australian stories and music are heard. These are being targeted again as trade barriers by US media companies. US industry groups have also targeted the local content rules for Australian government purchasing, implemented in 2009, as trade barriers.

Genetically Engineered Food Labelling and Regulation of GE Crops

The US is the world’s largest producer of GE foods and these companies are again targeting Australia’s GE food labelling and regulation of GE crops as barriers to trade.

Strong Labour and Environmental Clauses

The AUSFTA has weak labour and environmental clauses which are not enforceable. The Australian government should support strong labour clauses that require signatories to enforce the core International Labor Organisation’s (ILO) standards in the ILO Conventions, and strong environmental clauses that require signatories to meet all applicable international environmental standards including those contained within UN environmental agreements, with trade penalties for non compliance.

Australian Government Position

Australia already has Free Trade Agreements with most of the TPPA countries in Asia and South America, so will not get any more access to their markets. The government wants to try to use the agreement to improve Australian access to US agricultural markets, which was not achieved in the AUSFTA, but this is very unlikely. The danger is that further changes to the PBS and the other policies will be demanded as trade-offs.

Trade Minister Simon Crean has said on the one hand, that “everything is on the table” in the negotiations, and on the other hand that there will not be a “re-opening of obligations in relation to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that were settled in 2005”. He also said that the government has “serious reservations about the inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement provision in this agreement” {3}.

Given that there is clearly pressure from both US business and the US government on all of the issues listed above, the government should adopt a clear set of principles that there will be no concessions on public interest issues in the negotiations, and that they will support strong and enforceable labour and environment clauses.

Community response

Over thirty organisations, including unions, church, environment, health, pensioner and other community groups linked through the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network have asked the government to adopt the following principles in the TPPA negotiations:

* No further changes to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which would increase wholesale prices and reduce affordable access to medicines

* No investor-state dispute process which would give special rights to international corporations to sue governments for damages

* Full rights to regulate labelling of genetically engineered food and to regulate GE crops, including existing state bans on introduction of GE crops

* No further weakening of Australian Government power to regulate audiovisual media for Australian content purposes

* Retention of the Foreign Investment Review Board, and of its powers to review foreign investment in the public interest

* No weakening of quarantine regulations

* No reductions in the ability to have local content requirements for government purchasing and industry policies that support local employment

* Strong labour clauses that require signatories to enforce the core International Labor Organisation’s (ILO) standards in the ILO Conventions, with trade penalties for non-compliance

* Strong environmental clauses that require signatories to meet all applicable international environmental standards including those contained within UN environmental agreements, with trade penalties for non compliance.

For the full statement and further information about this campaign see http://www.aftinet.org.au.

References:

Tom Faunce et al, “The Impact of the Australia – US Free Trade Agreement on Australian medicines regulation and prices”, Journal of Generic Medicines, Volume 7, 1, 18 – 29 (January 2010)

Philip Clarke and Edmund Fitzgerald, “Expiry of patent protection on statins: effects on pharmaceutical expenditure in Australia”, Medical Journal of Australia (April 27 2010) page 8, found at {4}

Department of Health and Ageing, “The Impact of PBS Reform” Report to Parliament on the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Act 2007, Commonwealth of Australia (2010) page 15.

Kyla Tienhaara, The Expropriation of Environmental Governance: Protecting Foreign Investors at the Expense of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press (2009)

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. Bridges Weekly (March 10 2010) {5}

Philip Morris spokesperson quoted in Nick O’Malley, “Hard Sell in a dark market” Sydney Morning Herald (April 24 2010) features, page 1.

Links/Notes:

{1} http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=USTR-2009-0041

{2} http://www.austr.gov/about-us/press-office/reports-andpublications/ 2010

{3} Letter to the Canberra Times (March 17 2010)

{4} http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/192_11 070610/cla11057_fm.html

{5} http://ictsd.org/i/news/ bridgesweekly/71988/

http://www.australian-options.org.au/issues/options_61/article_ranald.php

Categories: Uncategorized

The Structure of Empires

2012/02/29 1 comment

by John Michael Greer

The Archdruid Report (February 22 2011)

Empires, as last week’s post noted, have been around for a long time. The evidence of history suggests that they show up fairly promptly once agriculture becomes stable and sophisticated enough to support urban centers, and go away only when urban life also breaks down. Anyone interested in tracking the rise and fall of empires thus has anything up to five thousand years of fairly detailed information from the Old World, and well over three thousand years from the New – plenty of data, one would think, for a coherent picture to emerge.

Unfortunately one major difficulty stands in the way of such a picture, and it’s one that was mentioned last week: empires attract doubletalk the way a dead rat attracts flies. Some of the doubletalk comes from rival power centers, outside the empire du jour or within it, that hope to excuse their own ambitions by painting that empire in the least complimentary colors that can be found, but an even larger amount gets produced by empires themselves – or, more exactly, by the tame intellectuals that empires produce and employ in numbers as large as the imperial economy can support. Between the doubletalk meant to make any given empire seem much worse than its rivals, and the doubletalk meant to make the same empire seem much better than its rivals, understanding is an early casualty.

Last week’s post gave a few examples of the first class of doubletalk. I could cite any number of examples of the second, but one that’s particularly relevant to the theme of this series of posts is that shibboleth of contemporary economics, free trade. That term’s become so thickly encrusted with handwaving and deliberate disinformation that it probably needs to be defined here; “a system of international exchange that prohibits governments from taxing or prohibiting the movement of goods, services, or money across borders” is as good a definition as any.

Pick up an introductory textbook of economics, though, and your chances of finding an objective assessment of a system of this kind are very low indeed. Instead, what you’ll find between the covers is a ringing endorsement of free trade, usually in the most propagandistic sort of language. Most likely it will rehash the arguments originally made by British economist David Ricardo, in the early nineteenth century, to prove that free trade inevitably encourages every nation to develop whatever industries are best suited to its circumstances, and so produces more prosperity for everybody. Those arguments will usually be spiced up with whatever more recent additions appeal to the theoretical tastes of the textbook’s author or authors, and will plop the whole discussion into a historical narrative that insists that once upon a time, there were silly people who didn’t like free trade, but now we all know better.

What inevitably gets omitted from the textbook is any discussion, based in actual historical examples, of the way that free trade works out in practice That would be awkward, because in the real world, throughout history, free trade pretty consistently hasn’t done what Ricardo’s rhetoric and today’s economics textbooks claim it will do. Instead, it amplifies the advantages of wealthy nations and the disadvantages of poorer ones, concentrating capital and income in the hands of those who already have plenty of both while squeezing out potential rivals and forcing down wages across the board. This is why every nation in history that’s ever developed a significant industrial sector to its economy has done so by rejecting the ideology of free trade, and building its industries behind a protective wall of tariffs, trade barriers, and capital controls, while those nations that have listened to the advice of the tame economists of the British and American empires have one and all remained mired in poverty and dependence as long as they did so.

There’s a rich irony here, because not much more than a century ago, a healthy skepticism toward the claims of free trade ideology used to be standard in the United States. At that time, Britain filled the role in the world system that the United States fills today, complete with the global empire, the gargantuan military with annual budget to match, and the endless drumbeat of brushfire wars across what would one day be called the Third World, and British economists were accordingly the world’s loudest proponents of free trade, while the United States filled the role of rising industrial power that China fills today, complete with sky-high trade barriers that protected its growing industries, not to mention a distinctly cavalier attitude toward intellectual property laws.

One result of that latter detail is that pirate editions of the Encyclopedia Britannica were produced and sold by a number of American firms all through the nineteenth century. Most of these editions differed from their British originals in an interesting way, though. The entry for “Free Trade” in the original editions repeated standard British free-trade economic theory, repeating Ricardo’s arguments and dismissing criticisms of free trade out of hand; the American editors by and large took the trouble to replace these with entries critiquing free trade ideology in much the same terms I’ve used in this post. The replacement of pro- with anti-free trade arguments in these pirate editions, interestingly enough, attracted far more denunciation in the British press than the piracy itself got, which shows that the real issues were tolerably well understood at the time.

When it comes to free trade and its alternatives, that level of understanding is nowhere near so common these days, at least in the United States. I’ve long suspected that businessmen and officials in Beijing have a very precise understanding of what free trade actually means, though it would hardly be to their advantage just now to talk about that with any degree of candor. On this side of the Pacific, by contrast, even those who speak most enthusiastically about relocalization and the end of corporate globalism apparently haven’t noticed how effectively tariffs, trade barriers, and capital controls foster domestic industries and rebuild national economies – or perhaps it’s just that too many of them aren’t willing to consider paying the kind of prices for their iPods and Xboxes that would follow the enactment of a reasonable tariff, much less the prices that would be required if we had the kind of trade barriers that built the American economy and could build it again, and American workers were paid American wages to make them.

Free trade is simply one of the mechanisms of empire in the age of industrialism, one part of the wealth pump that concentrated the wealth of the globe in Britain during the years of its imperial dominion and does the same thing for the benefit of the United States today. Choose any other mechanism of empire, from the web of military treaties that lock allies and subject nations into a condition of dependence on the imperial center, through the immense benefits that accrue to whatever nation issues the currency in which international trade is carried out, to the way that the charitable organizations of the imperial center – missionary churches in Victoria’s time, for example, or humanitarian NGOs in ours – further the agenda of empire with such weary predictability: in every case, you’ll find a haze of doubletalk surrounding a straightforward exercise of imperial domination. It requires a keen eye to look past the rhetoric and pay attention to the direction the benefits flow.

Follow the flow of wealth and you understand empire. That’s true in a general and a more specific sense, and both of these have their uses. In the general sense, paying attention to shifts in wealth between the imperial core and the nations subject to it is an essential antidote to the popular sort of nonsense – popular among the tame intellectuals previously mentioned, at least, and their audiences in the imperial core – that imagines empire as a sort of social welfare program for conquered nations. Whether it’s some old pukka sahib talking about how the British Empire brought railroads and good government to India, or his neoconservative equivalent talking about how the United States ought to export the blessings of democracy and the free market to the Middle East, it’s codswallop, and the easiest way to see that it’s codswallop is to notice that the price paid for whatever exports are under discussion normally amounts to the systematic impoverishment of the subject nation.

In the specific sense, flows of wealth can be used to trace out the structure of empire, which is a more complex matter than the basic outline discussed so far might make it seem. It’s entirely possible that a long time ago, when empires were new, there might have been one or two that consisted, on the level of nations, of a single imperial nation and a circle of subject nations; and on the level of populations, of a single ruling class and an undifferentiated mass of oppressed subjects. If empires this simple did exist, though, it was a very long time ago.

Nowadays an imperial system normally involves at least four distinct categories of nations, and an even more complex set of population divisions. On the level of nations, the imperial nation is in a category of its own; around it is an inner circle of allied nations, who support the empire in exchange for a share of the spoils; the third category consists of subject nations, the cash cows that the empire milks, and in due time will milk dry; finally, around the periphery, are enemy nations that oppose the empire in peace and war. In theory, at least, this last category shouldn’t be necessary, but it may not be accidental that when an empire loses one enemy, the usual response is to go shopping for another.

On the level of populations, the sort of crudely manipulative rhetoric that divides an elite one percent from an oppressed 99%, which was made popular last year by the Occupy movement, is a formidable barrier to understanding. An empire that tried to manage its affairs along those lines would fall in weeks. From ancient Rome to contemporary Washington DC, “divide and conquer” has always been the basic strategy of empire, and the classic way to do that in modern times is to hand out shares of wealth and privilege unequally to different sectors of the population. The British empire turned this into an art form, using arbitrary privileges and exclusions of various kinds to keep ethnic groups in each subject nation so irritated at one another that they never got around to uniting against the British. From the simmering rivalry between India and Pakistan, through the troubles of Northern Ireland, to the bitter mutual hatreds of Israelis and Arabs in what used to be British Palestine, the ethnic hatreds whipped up deliberately for the sake of Britain’s imperial advantage remain a live issue today.

These same divisions can be traced out within the imperial nation as well, and readily make hash out of any attempt to sort things out along the simplistic “us and them” lines favored by political activists. In contemporary America, for example, different sectors of the population are subject to the same sort of privileges and exclusions that defined so much of life in British India; if you’re an American citizen, the average annual income of your parents is a more exact predictor of your own income than any other factor, but your gender, your skin color, the location on the urban-rural spectrum of the neighborhood where you grew up, and a great many other arbitrary factors have far more to say about your prospects in life than America’s egalitarian ideology would suggest. These complexities are hardly accidental.

Still, there’s more going on here than simple manipulation from the top down. Within an imperial system, different nations and population groups are always competing against one another for a larger share of the wealth and privilege that empires make available. That happens on the scale of nations, for example, when a subject nation in a strategic location becomes an ally, or when an ally – as America did in 1945 – supplants the former imperial center and takes the empire for its own. That also happens on the scale of populations, and on smaller scales still.

The ruling class of any nation, for example, consists of a loose alliance of power centers, held together by the pressures of mutual advantage, but constantly pursuing their own divergent interests and eagerly trying to claim a larger share of power and wealth at the expense of the other power centers. There are always families, factions, and social groups rising up into the ruling class at any given point, and others falling out of it; while outside the ruling class is an even more complex constellation of groups who support power centers within the ruling class, who expect to receive wealth and privileges in return for their support, and who rise and fall in their own intricate rhythm. Proceed step by step down the pyramid, and you’ll find the same complexities in place all the way down to the bottom, where a flurry of ethnic, cultural, and social groups compete with one another over whose oppression ought to get the most attention from middle class liberals.

On the level of nations or that of populations, in other words, it’s neither possible nor useful to divide the structure of empire into the simplistic categories of oppressor and oppressed, ruler and ruled. Many nations in any imperial system fall between the summit and the base of the pyramid, and are permitted to pump wealth out of nations lower down on the condition that they forward a certain fraction of the take further up. The vast majority of people in the imperial nation and its allies, and a certain fraction of those even in the most heavily exploited subject nations, receive at least a modest share of wealth and privilege in exchange for their cooperation in maintaining the imperial system, compete constantly for a bigger share, and generally limit their criticisms of the imperial system to those aspects of it that profit somebody else. That’s why empires have proven to be so enduring a human social form; the basic toolkit of empire includes an ample assortment of ways to buy the loyalty, or at least the passive acquiescence, of all those potential power centers that might otherwise try to destabilize the imperial system and bring the empire crashing down.

Yet empires do come crashing down, of course. The fact that the form has proven to be enduring has not given a comparable endurance to any individual empire. Britons during Victoria’s reign liked to boast that the sun never set on the British empire – though that may have been, as the Irish liked to suggest, because God Himself wouldn’t trust an Englishman in the dark – but the sun did set on that empire in due time, and once the sunset started, it proceeded with remarkable speed. Children who were just old enough to remember the celebration of Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, when the empire was not far from its zenith, had not yet reached retirement age when the last tattered scraps of that empire went whistling down the wind.

The collapse of the British empire is a fascinating story in its own right, but it’s also an object lesson of great importance just now. That collapse opened a window of opportunity through which several nations tried to climb, and the one that succeeded is today’s dominant imperial power, the United States of America. Understand Britain’s imperial sunset, and the broader patterns by which empires overshoot their economic basis and go under, and you understand one of the most important and least anticipated facts of the decades ahead of us – the parallel collapse of the American empire, and the struggle to replace it. We’ll explore that in outline next week.

 

 

 

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End of the World of the Week #10
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England has a long history of tolerating eccentrics, and its apocalyptic prophets have accordingly been among the more colorful examples of the species. From the Middle Ages through to the present, some truly exotic claims have been made by English prophets, but I know of only one who announced that she would bring about the Second Coming by the simple and elegant means of duplicating the role of the Virgin Mary and giving birth to Christ.

This was Joanna Southcott. Born in 1750 in the West Country village of Gittisham, Southcott led an unremarkable life until middle age, when she began to develop a reputation as what people at that time politely called a “wise woman” and earlier generations had called by the more robust label of “witch”. Her skills as a folk healer and fortuneteller attracted a modest following, which grew considerably in 1792 when she announced that she was the woman clothed with the Sun described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. Moving to London, she began issuing prophecies in bad verse – one of them stating that the Second Coming would occur in the year 2004 – and providing followers with seals that declared them members of the fortunate 144,000 who would enter into the New Jerusalem.

One of the job requirements of the woman clothed with the Sun, though, was to give birth to a man child who would rule the nations with a rod of iron. In 1814, at the age of 64, Southcott announced that she was pregnant and would give birth to the Messiah after the normal interval. Nine months later, with an exquisite sense of timing, she died; her followers, convinced she was in a trance, kept her body warm with hot water bottles until the smell of decay became intolerable.

— Story from Apocalypse Not {1}

John Michael Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America {2} and the author of more than twenty books on a wide range of subjects, including The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (2008), The Ecotechnic Future: Exploring a Post-Peak World (2009), and The Wealth of Nature: Economics As If Survival Mattered (2011). He lives in Cumberland, Maryland, an old red brick mill town in the north central Appalachians, with his wife Sara.

If you enjoy reading this blog, you might want to check out Star’s Reach {3}, his blog/novel of the deindustrial future. Set four centuries after the decline and fall of our civilization, it uses the tools of narrative fiction to explore the future our choices today are shaping for our descendants tomorrow.

Links:

{1} http://www.vivaeditions.com/book_page.php?book_id=25

{2} http://www.aoda.org/

{3} http://starsreach.blogspot.com/

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2012/02/structure-of-empires.html

Categories: Uncategorized

Beware the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement!

by Jane Kelsey

http://web.me.com/jane_kelsey/Jane/TPPA.html (January 12 2012)

Q: Should we be concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)?

A: If negotiations for the TPPA succeed they will create a mega-treaty across nine or more countries that puts a straightjacket on the policies and laws our government can adopt for the next century and give massive new powers to corporations.

Q: Which countries are involved in these negotiations?

A: There are currently nine: the US and New Zealand, plus Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Japan, Canada and Mexico are in the wings.

Q: When did negotiations begin and when are they expected to end?

A: There have been numerous rounds since negotiations began in March 2010. They originally aimed to finish it in late 2011; now they say 2012 (… or 2014 or … never?)

Q: What could the TPPA affect?

A: Almost every area of policy you can think of – and run roughshod over democracy, tino rangatiratanga and people’s sovereignty.

Q: What is in the proposed agreement?

A: We don’t exactly know because the negotiations are secret and the only documents that are in the public domain have been leaked. Worse still, the nine governments agreed that none of the background documents will be released until four years after the negotiations end (or collapse), so we won’t be able to hold them accountable for any tradeoffs they make until they are no longer in power.

Q: What kind of policies could be targeted in the negotiations?

A: We know from various sources that they include

– stronger restrictions on foreign investments

– tobacco control laws

– restrictions on sale and manufacture of GMOs and labeling of GM foods

– the Pharmac scheme for buying drugs and subsidies

– the ability to reverse privatisations in the future

– stronger regulation of mining

– parallel importing, especially for music and computer programmes

– Intellectual property protection in the digital media

– hot money flows in and out of the country.

Q: If it covers all these things why is it described as a ‘trade’ agreement?

A: That’s a clever branding exercise. This is really a charter of rights for foreign investors based in any of the TPP countries – think entertainment (Warners and Sony), pharmaceuticals (Merck and Pfizer), mining (RTZ and BP), tobacco (Philip Morris, BAT), retailers (Wal-Mart and Woolworths), finance sector (Merrill Lynch, Westpac, AIG, Macquarie, JP Morgan), agri-business (Cargill, Monsanto), private water operators (Bechtel, Veolia) and much more.

Q: How would a TPPA give foreign investors special rights?

A: The lax rules on foreign investment would be locked in for the indefinite future, except for a few areas the government excluded in the agreement. Foreign firms who might be affected by new laws would have to be consulted and the government would have to show how it had responded to their views. Foreign investors could sue the government for hundreds of millions of dollars for breaching their rights under the TPPA, for example by changing our laws in ways that affect their expected profits or share value. The case would be heard in a secretive international tribunal, not in our domestic courts.

Q: That sounds like Warners and the Hobbits on a massive scale!

A: What happened there shows how much leverage these corporations already have. One powerful company could pressure the government to change our labour laws overnight – and get massive tax subsidies from a government that says there’s no money for health, early childcare, public transport, et cetera … Imagine the ‘chilling effect’ if a mining or tobacco company threatened to sue the government under the TPPA if it went ahead with a law that affected their profits? There are lots of international examples where governments have caved in rather than trying to defend themselves through a long and expensive legal battle.

Q: How does the New Zealand government justify the TPPA?

A: The standard rationale is that better access for Fonterra’s into the huge US market requires some sacrifice. As US economist Joseph Stiglitz said “Most of these ‘free trade’ agreements are … managed for the advantage of the United States, which has the bulk of the negotiating power”. There is no real negotiation and “one can’t think that New Zealand would ever get anything that it cares about”. A Wikileaks cable showed that even New Zealand’s lead negotiator didn’t expect any significant gains.

Q: So why would the government secretly sell out our tino rangatiratanga and sovereignty?

A: Partly because they are true believers in free trade ideology. Partly because they think a TPPA can morph into an Asia-Pacific wide FTA that will spread their gospel to the new powerhouses that will dominate the 21st century. Partly to pander to the US in its moves to counter the influence of China.

Q: What we can do about it and how can we find out more?

A: Get the word around all your networks, facebook pages, websites and media

– Organise meetings and action around the TPPA

– Ask your MPs, local government and Iwi leaders if they know what’s going on

– Demand the government holds an inquiry to bring the negotiations into the daylight

– For information and campaigning websites on the TPPA in Aotearoa and internationally

– see www.tppwatch.org, www.tppdigest.org, www.nznotforsale.org, and follow the links.

Buy No Ordinary Deal (2010), edited by Jane Kelsey from www.bwb.co.nz, bookseller or library.

http://web.me.com/jane_kelsey/Jane/TPPA_files/BRIEFING_NOTE_ON_THE_TPP_Jan_12_1.pdf

Categories: Uncategorized

The Downward Mobility of the American Middle Class

And Why Mitt Romney Doesn’t Know

by Robert Reich

http://robertreich.org (February 06 2012)

January’s increase in hiring is good news, but it masks a bigger and more disturbing story – the continuing downward mobility of the American middle class.

Most of the new jobs being created are in the lower-wage sectors of the economy – hospital orderlies and nursing aides, secretaries and temporary workers, retail and restaurant. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain working only because they’ve agreed to cuts in wages and benefits. Others are settling for jobs that pay less than the jobs they’ve lost. Entry-level manufacturing jobs are paying half what entry-level manufacturing jobs paid six years ago.

Other people are falling out of the middle class because they’ve lost their jobs, and many have also lost their homes. Almost one in three families with a mortgage is now underwater, holding their breath against imminent foreclosure.

The percent of Americans in poverty is its highest in two decades, and more of us are impoverished than at any time in the last fifty years. A recent analysis of federal data by the New York Times showed the number of children receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million in the last school year, up from eighteen million in 2006 and 2007. Nearly a dozen states experienced increases of 25 percent or more. Under federal rules, children from famlies with incomes up to 130 percent of the poverty line, $29,055 for a family of four, are eligible.

Experts say the bad economy is the main factor driving the increase. According to an analysis of census data by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, 37 percent of young families with children were in poverty in 2010. It’s likely that rate has worsened.

Mitt Romney says he’s not concerned about the very poor because they have safety nets to protect them. He says he’s concerned about the middle class. Romney doesn’t seem to realize how much of the middle class is becoming poor.

But Romney doesn’t like safety nets to begin with. He’s been accusing President Obama of inviting a culture of dependency. “Over the past three years Barack Obama has been replacing our merit-based society with an entitlement society”, he says over and over, arguing that our economic problems stem from a sharp rise in dependency. Get rid of these benefits and people will work harder.

He and other Republicans point to government data showing that direct payments to individuals have shot up by almost $600 billion since 2009,  a 32 percent increase. And 49 percent of Americans now live in homes where at least one person is collecting a federal benefit such as food stamps or unemployment insurance, up from 44 percent in 2008.

But Romney and other Republicans have cause and effect backwards. The reason for the rise in benefits is Americans got clobbered in 2008 and many are still sinking. They and their families need whatever help they can get.

The real scandal, as I’ve said before, is America’s safety nets are too small and shot through with holes. Only forty percent of the unemployed qualify for unemployment benefits, for example, because they weren’t working full time or long enough on a single job before they were let go. The unemployment system doesn’t recognize how many Americans work part time on several jobs, and move from job to job.

And even those who are lucky enough to be collecting employment benefits are about to lose them. A record and growing percent of the unemployed have been jobless for six months or more, and Republicans in Congress are unwilling to extend their benefits.

Romney’s budget proposals would shred safety nets even more. According to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, his plan would throw ten million low-income people off the benefit rolls for food stamps or cut benefits by thousands of dollars a year, or some combination. “These cuts would primarily affect very low-income families with children, seniors and people with disabilities”, the Center concludes.

At the same time, Romney’s tax plan would boost the incomes of America’s most wealthy citizens, who are already taking home an almost unprecedented share of that nation’s total income. Romney wants to permanently extend George W Bush’s tax cuts, reduce corporate income tax rates, and eliminate the estate tax. These tax cuts would increase the incomes of people earning more than a million dollars a year by an average of $295,874 annually, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

By reducing government revenues, Romney’s tax cuts would squeeze programs for the poor even further. Extending the Bush tax cuts will add $1.2 trillion to the nation’s budget deficit in just two years. That’s the same as the amount that’s supposed to be saved by automatic spending cuts scheduled to start next year – which, by the way, will hit the poor especially hard.

Oh, I almost forgot. Romney and other Republicans also want to repeal of Obama’s health care law, thereby leaving thirty million Americans without health insurance.

The downward mobility of America’s middle class is the big news, but the GOP apparently hasn’t heard about it. Maybe it’s too hard to hear about from that far away – and Mitt Romney is certainly far away. His unearned income last year was more than $20 million. That’s about as much as the combined earnings of a thousand American families at or just above the poverty line.

_____

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including The Work of Nations (1992), Locked in the Cabinet (1998), Supercapitalism (2008), and his most recent book, Aftershock (2010). His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes. He is also Common Cause’s board chairman.

http://robertreich.org/post/17162027435?a4ef2200

Categories: Uncategorized

If You Write a Trade Agreement No One Will Sign?

Categories: Uncategorized

Abstractions versus the “Real World”

Economic Models and the Apologetics of Greed

by Professor John Kozy

Global Research (February 13 2012)

Economists build models by subtracting from reality the characteristics they deem unessential to the economic situations they model. The result is a bare bones description consisting of what economists deem economically essential. Everything that is discarded (not taken into consideration in the model) is called an “externality”. So the models only work when the externalities that were in effect before the models are implemented do not change afterward. The realm of economic models can be likened to the realm of Platonic Ideas. Both realms are static and unchanging throughout all time. Unfortunately the real world constantly changes. Since externalities are excluded from all economic models and can be expected to change after any model is implemented, all economic models necessarily fail. Economists are frauds and economics amounts to nothing but an apologetics of greed.

In the 1980s, manufacturers of apparel began offshoring their production to underdeveloped countries, one of which was Bangladesh. Economists endorse this practice; they have a model that justifies it.

Offshoring production to underdeveloped nations gives needy people jobs, increases their incomes, reduces poverty, and expands their nations’ GNPs. It also enables people in developed nations to purchase products produced offshore at lower prices enabling them to consume a wider range of things. As a result, everyone everywhere is better off.

Convinced? Most economists are, but it hasn’t worked that way. Everyone everywhere is not better off – as the whole world now knows. Why?

In the latter part of the 1980s or early part of the 1990s, a large retailer (don’t remember which one) thought it would be a good idea to bring an employee of a factory in Bangladesh to America to see how the clothing the factory was producing was being marketed to Americans. So a Bengali woman was selected to represent her factory and brought to America. This idea didn’t work out well. The woman not only saw how the products were being marketed but how much they cost and she was infuriated. She knew what she and her coworkers were being paid, about two percent of the price of the garments. She did not remain silent and was quickly sent back to Bangladesh. Here is the gist of her story:

She said she and her coworkers were not financially better off after being hired by the factory. Yes, the wages were better than those that could have been earned before, but they weren’t much benefit. Why? Because when the paychecks began to arrive, the local landlords and vendors increased prices on everything, so just as before, all of their incomes went to pay for basic necessities. The landlords and vendors got the money; the workers were not better off, and those in the community who were not employed by the apparel factory were decidedly worse off. It fact, it quickly became apparent that the workers were working for nothing. They did the work; the landlords and vendors got the pay. But, of course, the country’s GNP was better, which is all that matters to economists who still claim that Bangladesh’s economy is improving.

And although Americans were able to buy the apparel more cheaply than they could have before the manufacturing was offshored, the American apparel workers who lost their jobs are decidedly not better off.

Two conclusions follow from this scenario: employment alone is not a sufficient condition for prosperity; full employment can exist in an enslaved society along side abject poverty, and an increasing GNP does not mean that an economy is getting better. Remember these the next time the unemployment rate and GNP numbers are cited. Those numbers mean nothing.

More than thirty years has now passed and nothing has changed in Bangladesh. Most Bengalis still continue to live on subsistence farming in rural villages. Despite a dramatic increase in foreign investment, a high poverty rate prevails. Observers attribute it to the rising prices of essentials {1}. The economic model described above just does not work, not in Bangladesh or anywhere else. Explaining why reveals what’s wrong with economics and why current economic practices, which have not essentially improved mankind’s lot over the last two and a half centuries, won’t ever improve it.

Economists build models by what they call “abstraction”. But it’s really subtraction. They look at a real world situation and subtract from it the characteristics they deem unessential. The result is a bare bones description consisting of what economists deem economically essential. Everything that is discarded (not taken into consideration in the model) is called an “externality”. So the models only work when the externalities that were in effect before the models are implemented do not change afterward.

For instance, had the Bengali landlords and vendors not raised their prices after the factory was opened, the employees would have been better off. But the greed of the vendors and landlords was not taken into consideration by the model. The realm of economic models can be likened to the realm of Platonic Forms or Ideas. Both realms are static and unchanging throughout all time. Unfortunately the real world, as Heraclitus knew, is not static – change is ever-present, “No man ever steps in the same river twice”. Since externalities are excluded from all economic models and can be expected to change after any model is implemented, all economic models necessarily fail. Economists are frauds and economics amounts to nothing but an apologetics of greed. The world that economists model is imaginary, not real.

Don’t believe that what I have described takes place only in the underdeveloped world; it takes place everywhere a profit driven economy exists. I well remember working in Washington, DC as a staffer for a US Senator. One year, a pay raise was scheduled to take effect the coming January. Shortly after Thanksgiving Day, prices began rising in all the area’s stores. The workers who received the raise were no better off in January that they were in October. The raise was siphoned into the pockets of vendors.

Free market economic conditions create a situation in which vendors always prevail. In the end, they get all the money. The economy’s business is business and it is protected by the legal system. Because prices cannot be controlled in a free market economy, vendors can always set them high enough to get all the money. Economists call it inflation, and the only way it can be controlled is by reducing the amount of money available for the taking. Reducing the amount of money available for the taking reduces wage levels and keeps workers poor. The business cycle is an excuse business uses to take back any gains workers have acquired. The American financial industry bribed the Congress to amend the Bankruptcy code in 2005 even though no financial institution was in any danger of collapse because of consumer bankruptcy filings. In 2008, the same financial industry brought down the world’s economy, began foreclosing on people’s houses, and forced thousands into bankruptcy. After reading this article, do you believe that both revising the bankruptcy code and the financial collapse were coincidental? The whole point of a free market economy is to take back all the money paid to employees so that the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. What happened in Bangladesh happens everywhere all of the time. Humanity is enslaved by these economic practices but the enslavement is carefully and continuously hidden. Workers, those whose efforts keep the society functioning and produce all of its wealth, are mere fodder – farm fodder, factory fodder, and when necessary, cannon fodder.

As a result,

most of the new jobs being created are in the lower-wage sectors of the economy – hospital orderlies and nursing aides, secretaries and temporary workers, retail and restaurant. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain working only because they’ve agreed to cuts in wages and benefits. Others are settling for jobs that pay less than the jobs they’ve lost. Entry-level manufacturing jobs are paying half what entry-level manufacturing jobs paid six years ago.

Other people are falling out of the middle class because they’ve lost their jobs, and many have also lost their homes. Almost one in three families with a mortgage is now underwater, holding their breath against imminent foreclosure.

The percent of Americans in poverty is its highest in two decades, and more of us are impoverished than at any time in the last fifty years. A recent analysis of federal data by the New York Times showed the number of children receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million in the last school year, up from eighteen million in 2006 and 2007. Nearly a dozen states experienced increases of 25 percent or more. {2}

In America, just as in Bangladesh, the vendors have emptied the people’s pockets. All economic models can be rendered ineffective by how the actions of people change externalities. Governments try to restrain such uncontrolled changes by enacting regulations, but conceiving of effective regulations that cover all eventualities and that cannot be gamed is impossible. All market economies motivated by profit are founded on unfairness as should be easily seen. In any financial transaction between two parties motivated by profit, one party wins and the other party loses, because it is mathematically impossible for both parties to profit at the same time. One person’s profit is another person’s loss. So if bettering the human condition is an economic goal, no economy motivated by profit will succeed in doing it. Unless people stand up for humanity, most humans will always be slaves. People should honestly be asked whether this is the world they want to live in. No economist, apparently, has the courage to stand up and ask. Why is that? If you know a working economist, please ask her/him!

Links:

{1} http://blogs.worldbank.org/endpovertyinsouthasia/financing-living-wage-bangladesh%E2%80%99s-garment-industry

{2} http://robertreich.org/post/17162027435?a4ef2200

_____

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the US Army during the Korean War, he spent twenty years as a university professor and another twenty years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

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(c) Copyright John Kozy, Global Research, 2012

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http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29270

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What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?

by Electronic Frontier Foundation (undated in 2011)

Defending your rights in the digital world

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe.

The nine nations currently negotiating the TPP are the US, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam. Expected to be finalized in November 2011, the TPP will contain a chapter on Intellectual Property (copyright, trademarks, patents and perhaps geographical indications) that will have a broad impact on citizens’ rights,  the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and innovation across the world. A leaked version of the February 2011 draft US TPP Intellectual Property Rights Chapter {1} indicates that US negotiators are pushing for the adoption of copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties, including the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement {2}.

The TPP will rewrite the global rules on Intellectual Property (“IP”) enforcement. All signatory countries will be required to conform their domestic laws and policies to the provisions of the Agreement. In the US this is likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s {3} broad ban on circumventing digital locks and frequently disproprotionate statutory damages for copyright infringement) and restrict the ability of Congress to engage in domestic law reform to meet the evolving IP needs of American citizens and the innovative technology sector. The recently leaked US IP chapter also includes provisions that appear to go beyond current US law. This raises significant concerns for citizens’ due process, privacy and freedom of expression rights.

The leaked US IP chapter includes many detailed requirements that are more restrictive than current international standards, and would require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These include obligations for countries to:

* Treat temporary reproductions of copyrighted works without copyright holders’ authorization as copyright infringement. This was discussed but rejected at the intergovernmental diplomatic conference that created two key 1996 international copyright treaties, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

* Ban parallel importation of genuine goods acquired from other countries without the authorization of copyright owners.

* Create copyright terms well beyond the internationally agreed period in the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of IP. Life plus seventy years for works created by individuals, and following the US- Oman Free Trade Agreement, either 95 years after publication or 120 years after creation for corporate owned works (such as Mickey Mouse).

* Adopt laws banning circumvention of digital locks (technological protection measures or TPMs) that mirror the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) {4} and treat violation of the TPM provisions as a separate offence, even when no copyright infringement is involved. This would require countries like New Zealand to completely rewrite its innovative 2008 copyright law. It would also override Australia’s carefully-crafted 2007 technological protection measure regime exclusions for region-coding on movies on DVDs, videogames, and players, and for embedded software in devices that restrict access to goods and services for the device – a thoughtful effort by Australian policy makers to avoid the pitfalls experienced with the US digital locks provisions. In the US, business competitors have used the DMCA to try to block printer cartridge refill services, competing garage door openers, and to lock mobile phones to particular network providers.

* Adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation, based on the provisions of the 1997 US No Electronic Theft Act.

* Adopt the US DMCA Internet Intermediaries copyright safe harbor regime in its entirety.  This would require Chile to rewrite its forward-looking 2010 copyright law {5} that currently provides for a judicial notice and takedown regime, which provides greater protection to Internet users’ expression and privacy than the DMCA’s copyright safe harbor regime.

In short, countries would have to abandon any efforts to learn from the mistakes of the US experience over the last twelve years, and adopt many of the most controversial aspects of US copyright law in their entirety. At the same time, the US IP chapter does not export the limitations and exceptions in the US copyright regime like fair use, which have enabled freedom of expression and technological innovation to flourish in the US. It includes only a placeholder for exceptions and limitations. This raises serious concerns about other countries’ sovereignty and the ability of national governments to set laws and policies to meet their domestic priorities.

Non-Transparent and on the Fast Track

Despite the broad scope and far-reaching implications of the TPP, negotiations for the agreement have taken place behind closed doors and outside of the checks and balances that operate at traditional multilateral treaty-making organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization.

Like ACTA, the TPP is being negotiated rapidly with little transparency. Since 2009 when United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified the US Congress that President Obama intended to begin talks on TPP, there have been five formal rounds of TPP negotiations in Melbourne, Australia (March 2010), San Francisco, USA (June 2010), Brunei (October 2010), Auckland, New Zealand (December 2010), and Santiago, Chile (February 2011). The negotiating countries hope to complete the TPP agreement by the 19th meeting of the Economic Leaders of APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to be held in Hawaii in November 2011.

In the meantime, further negotiations are planned for March 24 to April 1 (round 6, Singapore), June 20 to 24 (round 7, Vietnam), September 6 to 11 (round 8, San Francisco, USA), and October 24 to 28 (round 9, Lima, Peru).

During the TPP negotiation round in Chile in February 2011, negotiators received strong messages from prominent civil society groups {6} demanding an end to the secrecy that has shielded TPP negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the public. Letters addressed to government representatives in Australia {7}, Chile {8}, Malaysia {9}, New Zealand {10} and the US {11} emphasized that both the process and effect of the proposed TPP agreement is deeply undemocratic. TPP negotiators apparently discussed the requests for greater public disclosure during the February 2011 negotiations, but took no action.

Why You Should Care

TPP raises significant concerns about citizens’ privacy, freedom of expression and due process rights, innovation and the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities and enable access to knowledge for the world’s citizens.

The Office of the US Trade Representative is pursuing a TPP agreement that will require signatory counties to adopt heightened copyright protection that advances the agenda of the US entertainment and pharmaceutical industries, but omits the flexibilities and exceptions that protect Internet users and technology innovators.

The TPP will affect countries beyond the nine that are currently involved in negotiations. The new TPP agreement will build upon a 2005 agreement between New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam (the P4 agreement {12}) but will include more extensive provisions on intellectual property and other issues. The TPP will set rules that will likely be adopted initially by the 21 member economies in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum {13}. The TPP is being negotiated by nine members of APEC, and negotiators plan to finalize the “TPP concept” at the APEC Economic Leaders meeting in November 2011.

Like ACTA, the TPP Agreement is a plurilateral agreement that will be used to create new heightened global IP enforcement norms. Countries that are not parties to the negotiation will likely be asked to accede to the TPP as a condition of bilateral trade agreements with the US and other TPP members, or evaluated against the TPP’s standards in the annual Special 301 process {14} administered by the Office of the US Trade Representative.

What You Can Do

If you’re in the US, take our Action Alert {15}.

If you’re elsewhere, check out the Action suggestions from TPP Watch {16}.

Key Documents

Leaked US Intellectual Property Rights Chapter {17}, February 2011

Leaked New Zealand IP chapter proposal {18}, February 2011

Leaked Chile IP chapter proposal {19}, February 2011

Leaked comments from New Zealand TPP negotiators {20}, December 2010

Australian Government. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Update on Fifth round of TPP negotiations {21}

Remarks at the First Senior US Government Officials Meeting for APEC {22}

US Congressional Research Service report on the TPP {23}, November 2010 (Intellectual Property goals on page 14)

Original P4 (Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement) Text {24}

US Industry Demands for TPP

US Chamber of Commerce, MPAA et al. memo on IP demands for the TPP {25}, December 2010

US Industry letter {26}, February 2011

EFF Documents

EFF Analysis of TPP TPM Provisions {27} in leaked US IP chapter

EFF Presentation on Freedom of Expression, Indirect Censorship & Liability for Internet Intermediaries {28}, Santiago Round TPP Stakeholder Forum, February 15 2011

EFF Presentation on TPMs and Civil Rights {29}, Santiago Round TPP Stakeholder Forum, February 15 2011

Civil Society Documents

International Civil Society Requests for Transparency in the TPP negotiations {30} delivered at February 2011 negotiation round

TPP Watch Press Release, February 2011, Letters delivered to negotiators at Chile round calling for transparency {31}

Chilean NGO Derechos Digitales Press Release about IP provision in TPP {32}, February 17 2011

TPP Media Coverage

TechDirt: US Proposals For Secret TPP ‘Son Of ACTA’ Treaty Leaked; Chock Full Of Awful Ideas {33}, March 11 2011

Wall Street Journal: US Seeks Concrete Progress On Regional Integration As APEC Host {34}, March 09 2011

Japan Times: Pitching TPP a tough nut to crack {35}, March 11 2011

ArsTechnica: Son of ACTA: meet the next secret copyright treaty {36}, March 11 2011

Broadband DSL Reports: Behold: The Son Of The ACTA – Draconion, Protectionist IP Laws Hashed Out In Secret {37}, March 11 2011

Rick Shera, LawGeek NZ:  US Wants to Take an Axe to New Zealand IP Law {38}, March 16 2011

Other TPP Resources

TPP Watch {39}

Tech Liberty NZ {40}

Public Citizen’s TPP Page {41}

Public Citizen’s and Third World Network’s Analysis of Leaked NZ Negotiators’ Comments {42}, December 2010

TPP Digest {43}

Inside US Trade’s World Trade Online {44}

KEI TPP Timeline Page {45}

Public Knowledge, Proposed New Copyright Treaty Asks For Tougher Terms Than ACTA {46}

Links:

{1} http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/tpp-10feb2011-us-text-ipr-chapter.pdf

{2} https://www.eff.org/issues/acta

{3} http://www.eff.org/issues/dmca

{4} https://www.eff.org/files/filenode//EFF%20TPP%20TPM%20Analysis_0.pdf

{5} http://www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=1012827&idParte=&idVersion=2010-05-04

{6} https://tppwatch.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/us-transparency-letter-to-ustr-kirk-021411-final1.pdf

{7} http://www.citizen.org/documents/AFTINET-TPP-letter.pdf

{8} http://www.citizen.org/documents/Chile-TPP-letter.pdf

{9} http://www.citizen.org/documents/Malaysia-TPP-NGO-letter.pdf

{10} http://www.citizen.org/documents/NZ-TPP-letter.pdf

{11} http://www.citizen.org/documents/US-TPP-letter.pdf

{12} http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Trans-Pacific/0-sep-index.php

{13} http://www.apec.org/About-Us/About-APEC/Member-Economies.aspx

{14} http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/shaping-ip-laws-not-so-gentle-persuasion-special

{15} https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=471

{16} http://tppwatch.org/what-can-we-do/

{17} http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/tpp-10feb2011-us-text-ipr-chapter.pdf

{18} http://www.citizen.org/documents/NewzealandproposedIPChaptertext.pdf

{19} http://www.citizen.org/documents/ChilePreliminaryConsiderationsforTPPIPChapter.pdf

{20} http://www.citizen.org/documents/NZleakedIPpaper-1.pdf

{21} http://www.dfat.gov.au/fta/tpp/110224-tpp-stakeholder-update-5.html

{22} http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/03/157940.htm

{23} http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R40502.pdf

{24} http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Trade-and-Economic-Relations/Trade-Relationships-and-Agreements/Trans-Pacific/0-sep-index.php

{25} http://keionline.org/node/1034

{26} http://www.ipo.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=28502

{27} https://www.eff.org/files/filenode//EFF%20TPP%20TPM%20Analysis_0.pdf

{28} https://www.eff.org/files/filenode//EFF%20presentation%20ISPs%20and%20Freedom%20of%20Expression.pdf

{29} https://www.eff.org/files/filenode//EFF%20presentation%20on%20TPMs%20and%20Civil%20Rights.pdf

{30} http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4768

{31} http://tppwatch.org/2011/02/15/civil-society-demands-end-to-secrecy/

{32} http://www.derechosdigitales.org/en/2011/02/17/propiedad-intelectual-en-el-acuerdo-de-asociacion-trans-pacifico/

{33} http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110311/00104713434/us-proposals-secret-tpp-son-acta-treaty-leaked-chock-full-awful-ideas.shtml

{34} http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110309-709196.html

{35} http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110311f3.html

{36} http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/son-of-acta-meet-the-next-secret-copyright-treaty.ars

{37} http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Behold-The-Son-Of-The-ACTA-113135?nocomment=1

{38} http://lawgeeknz.posterous.com/us-wants-to-take-an-axe-to-new-zealand-ip-law

{39} http://tppwatch.org/

{40} http://techliberty.org.nz/category/tpp/

{41} http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=3129

{42} http://citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=4685&frcrld=1

{43} http://www.tppdigest.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=233:malaysia-officially-joins-tpp-talks&catid=1:latest-news

{44} http://insidetrade.com/index.php?option=com_customproperties&view=show&tagId=159&Itemid=375&limitstart=60

{45} http://keionline.org/node/1095

{46} http://www.publicknowledge.org/blog/proposed-new-copyright-treaty-asks-tougher-te

https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp

Categories: Uncategorized