http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/21/americas-oligarchy-not-democracy-or-republic-unive/

America is no longer a democracy — never mind the democratic republic envisioned by Founding Fathers.

Rather, it has taken a turn down elitist lane and become a country led by a small dominant class comprised of powerful members who exert total control over the general population — an oligarchy, said a new studyjointly conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities.

One finding in the study: The U.S. government now represents the rich and powerful, not the average citizen, United Press International reported.

In the study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups and Average Citizens,” researchers compared 1,800 different U.S. policies that were put in place by politicians between 1981 and 2002 to the type of policies preferred by the average and wealthy American, or special interest groups.

Researchers then concluded that U.S. policies are formed more by special interest groups than by politicians properly representing the will of the general people, including the lower-income class.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” the study found.

http://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203-7-14.pdf

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966529

How do you feel about these megamergers that are now pandemic in our society where companies from many different industries are combining? I find that to be just as bad as monopolization- especially when it involves the media and the dissemination of information.
It makes lots of money in fees for go-betweens, consultants and banks, but generally results in a poorer performing company which sheds workers. When shareholders are also same banks, this is what happens. They merge companies, collect fees, sell on the stock rise on the rumours of merger, and sell at the top of the curve.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966565

57even wrote:

OutsideTheMatrix wrote:

Thanks for the insight. So you view this decision as some kind of “growing pain” that is normal to the process and that Britain will eventually reenter the EU? Also, with regards to Sweden, what made them the outlier? I saw it mentioned before where they have curtailed personal freedoms more than the other Scandanavian nations also.
Sweden are the most ‘Eurosceptic’ after us, but the right wing rise in Austria, France and Holland is also probably linked to a ‘reaction’ to a lumbering organisation that appears, at times, to have no solution to certain issues.

It may be a growing pain, it may be terminal – what will rise from the ashes will depend how far and how deep the right’s resurgence in Northern Europe ends up being.

One thing for sure, right wing politics won’t do anything for the fortunes of the working classes, but they have been the foot-soldiers and cannon fodder for the rich for centuries, and nothing changes.

— hide signature —
Reporter: “Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilisation?”
Mahatma Gandhi: “I think it would be a very good idea!”
History repeats itself- whether we learn from it or not, it seems.

With Brexit pending, I thought I’d post some analyses of bad free trade agreements.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966297

TrapperJohn wrote:

In a pure free market, monopolies can bilk the consumer for everything they have, especially monopolies essential to every day life, such as electricity, water, gasoline, telecomm, etc…

This in fact is what happened in the US in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the robber barons. They established monopolies on rail, steel, and oil, with the Standard Oil breakup being the first serious anti-monopoly action to be taken.

Later, when the telephone became essential, AT&T was broken up when it became an effective monopoly.

Large companies can drive small companies out of business with low prices that the large company can ride out but the small company cannot, only to raise prices even higher when the competition has been eliminated – internationally, this is known as dumping.

In a totally free market, insider information trading can wreck public faith in securities exchanges.

So the concept of free trade is fine, until it is abused. Some regulation is necessary.
How do you feel about these megamergers that are now pandemic in our society where companies from many different industries are combining? I find that to be just as bad as monopolization- especially when it involves the media and the dissemination of information.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966209

There is no such thing as a free market as “free” is a meaningless term without a context (free from what; free to do what).

A context for a human artifice such as a market is it’s rules – laws and regulations defining what can and can’t be done in that market. A market free from any rule can’t exist since it’s essence is a set of rules for trading.

The rules and regulations defining how a market is conducted are chosen from human cultural norms and are very particular to that culture. Markets can be defined in different ways – there is no such thing as a single natural market that always has the same features and behaviours, like a weather or a solar system. A market is a human artifice, not a natural phenomenon. It has human, not natural, laws constructing it’s behaviour.

Various cultures have various fundamental rules that operate in their market. Our dominant Western-style market has, for example, the notions of private property defined in a very particular fashion. Capitalism is based on the notion of a market in private property of which owners have absolute ownership; on money of a certain kind as the medium of exchange; on ownership of means of production automatically entitling the owner to all profits from it’s use in an enterprise; on labour as a commodity and nothing more; and several other notions.

These notions could be otherwise within the market rules. For example, private property could be disallowed if it isn’t directly used by the owner (i.e. renting is disallowed). Private property could be limited (i.e. no one can become a land or other resource baron). Much property could be “common” (with different citizen-types having various different rights & duties in it’s use). Profit could be regarded as property to which the owner of it’s means of production has only a share of the profit with other shares belonging to the producers of the new value (the labourers, managers and other “workers”).

So, freedom of a market actually means a market in which the rules are agreed, understood and enforced without exception. The freedom is freedom from corruption (of the rules for conducting the market and the behaviour of participants, including the regulator).

One definition of a free market is a market free of tariffs across boundaries such as state borders. That is possible. Another definition of a free market is one free of rules defined and enforced by an authority (typically a government). That is impossible.

The Free Market (capital letters) is a laissez-faire style of market in which participants require government rules and enforcement but only of the kind that let’s them do what they want including exploitation, monopoly, environmental plundering and several other behaviours typically destructive of not just people and the environment but of the market itself. The term is, in fact, double-speak, as it enslaves virtually every participant except a very small number of those who are these days known as the 1%.

Even the 1% are enslaved by their obsessive compulsion to own without limit but to no purpose other than to serve their compulsion. Not much free about that situation, really, even if advert-directed consumer puppets think their “opportunity” to be a wage slave in order to acquire stuff to throw in the landfill is a freedom of any worth

SirLataxe

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966209

You’re talking about an instant gratification oriented economy which is a style of living which seems to be an epidemic in our society. Short term benefits long term loss.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966303

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966310

Wellington100 wrote:

glasswave wrote:

lol101 wrote:

The Free Market theory postulates that, if markets are free from spurious perturbations from States and external regulations, they will naturally evolve, through the Supply and Demand mechanisms to a stable equilibrium.

This equilibrium will naturally be the optimum price for any given good, ensuring at the same time maximum profits for industries and maximum benefit (or usefulness) for the consumers.

This is the very base of Liberal Economics and has shaped most economical policies during the last 50 years.

Do you believe it?
Free markets eventually lead to monopolies who will then use that monopoly status to stamp out any competition and suppress the people in the process of there own enrichment. Besides, they destroy the environment w/o concern for the future.
Free markets means different things to different people. If free markets means no trade barriers between countries that is a good thing, if free markets means eliminating all regulations so that the financial services industries can operate without restriction in a Darwinian environment, that is a bad thing.

If as you say free markets means allowing monopolies to dominate economies without regulating them or breaking them up, that is a very bad thing.

— hide signature —
Doctors are bad for your lifestyle!
I put megamergers in the same category- very unhealthy to society’s wellbeing.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57964727

On the Dutch Radio there was this notion last night of the nordic model for Brittain where UK would join NL, DK, SE and NO. I think the Brits however are more a culture of their own and they would not fit too well into this model. But it was a Brit who suggested it so what do I know.

What the Brits have done, emotionally, is not being against immigration in the end. I feel there is something very different: against establishment. And I have to wholeheartedly agree with that cause that establishment is a central European gouverned axis of FR and D. At least in part.

What they have forgotten that their own rightwing establishment will do the same (more on that below).

The centralisation of power is not what the EU should ever be. It should have been the share of power in suc a way that the people, remember politics should be for people but that one is lost such along time ago, are involved and have a say.

There was never a need for centralised politics and the creation of a superstate which cannot function in a continent with vastly, vastly different cultures. Where we had a norther European one (NL, DK. SE and NO), a western European one (Uk), a central European one (BEm FR, Germany) and a Southern one (P, E, I and Gr). No we have added an eastern mostly Slavic block. This is not the USA with mostly an Anglosaxon culture, It is not the USSR (which fell apart precisely because of culture differences nostly).

Join armies? Possible. Free travel of our citizens? Fine. One coin? May be. One central power: dead wrong.

It is also not democratic. Our democracy is ruled by the dictate of financial institutions. Whatever decide as a people is fine, but it can’t go against banks etc. We see how Greece was treated by Germany for the simple reason it were German banks who took a great risk at loaning Greece. And that went wrong. That problem should be a problem of the banks but instead it was made a problem of the European public which had to pay for the risk a bank (or a couple, mostly German) took. So if your neighbour lends money from a bank but can’t pay it, you as a neighbour have to. The bank cannot go bankrupt! Such is democracy in Europe. And Europe has reinstalled the same system being not dictated by democratic vote and freemarket as they try to sell it to us, instead dictated by financial institutions who again tell us we should loan again and more.

The US is gouverned by wallstreet. 70% of the population has got nothing to say in reality, only the higher and most of all upperclass strongly tied with financial institutions and whatever benefits from them.

We can wonder if a free Britain will become less dependable on their financial centre in the end.

And that is how rightwing wins and has won many times: we give you what we do not give a damn about -> foreigners out, no refugees and your country back (haha). Meanwhile we are also the guys who take your money and keep it for the richer upperclass. But we did not tell you that and you were so blindedby your our rhethoric that we could and can do so as long as you think something else is the cause of your underpyament. unemployment etc.

Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy?
Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy?

Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy? I try not to look at things linearly, perhaps this kind of thing will cause a rubber-band effect snapping people back to their senses. The same way I look at Trump, something so horrible, that it will cause a stronger reaction in the other direction, towards a much stronger progressive movement, rather than Clinton, which would be more of the same mediocrity. You’re seeing it right now with all the protests. Perhaps moving backwards for a little bit is necessary to “teach people a lesson” and not to blame others for ones problems, before a greater progression can be made towards a better economy and eventually rejoining the EU.

Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy? I try not to look at things linearly, perhaps this kind of thing will cause a rubber-band effect snapping people back to their senses. The same way I look at Trump, something so horrible, that it will cause a stronger reaction in the other direction, towards a much stronger progressive movement, rather than Clinton, which would be more of the same mediocrity. You’re seeing it right now with all the protests. Perhaps moving backwards for a little bit is necessary to “teach people a lesson” and not to blame others for ones problems, before a greater progression can be made towards a better economy and eventually rejoining the EU.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966376

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57966376

Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy? I try not to look at things linearly, perhaps this kind of thing will cause a rubber-band effect snapping people back to their senses. The same way I look at Trump, something so horrible, that it will cause a stronger reaction in the other direction, towards a much stronger progressive movement, rather than Clinton, which would be more of the same mediocrity. You’re seeing it right now with all the protests. Perhaps moving backwards for a little bit is necessary to “teach people a lesson” and not to blame others for ones problems, before a greater progression can be made towards a better economy and eventually rejoining the EU.

I’m talking more about the surveillance state issues that Britain suffers from. They seem to be in lockstep with the NSA and the way they went after Snowden and Assange showed they were scared to death about the skeletons in their closets being released. The Guardian did some amazing work in showing what was going on. The things you mentioned however, granted, Britain is much more advanced in those areas. Especially gun laws/death penalty/antibiotics/hormones/pesticides/GMOs. Although bigotry/racism still seems to be a problem there (as it is in much of Europe just like it is in the US.)

But let’s try looking at this from a bigger perspective. Do you think this just might be a “growing pains” issue where they might rejoin once they see the negative consequences of their actions? Perhaps it will teach them a lesson and they can then start to evolve towards a better economy? I try not to look at things linearly, perhaps this kind of thing will cause a rubber-band effect snapping people back to their senses. The same way I look at Trump, something so horrible, that it will cause a stronger reaction in the other direction, towards a much stronger progressive movement, rather than Clinton, which would be more of the same mediocrity. You’re seeing it right now with all the protests. Perhaps moving backwards for a little bit is necessary to “teach people a lesson” and not to blame others for ones problems, before a greater progression can be made towards a better economy and eventually rejoining the EU.

Criticism[edit]

In February 2016, UN‘s human rights expert Alfred de Zayas said that the TPP was fundamentally flawed and was based on an outdated model of trade pacts, and that governments should not sign or ratify the TPP.[100][101] According to de Zayas, the international human rights regime imposes, on countries, binding legal obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsand the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and trade must be done under the human rights regime. Under the ISDS in the TPP, investors can sue a government, while a government cannot sue investors. De Zayas argued that this asymmetry made the system unfair. He added that international law, including accountability and transparency, must prevail over trade pacts.[100]

Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, reported, “… I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away”, and said that “… there isn’t a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view.” Krugman also noted the absence of “anything like a political consensus in favor, abroad or at home.”[102]

Secrecy of negotiations[edit]

In 2012, critics such as Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a consumer advocacy group, called for more open negotiations in regard to the agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded that he believes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducted “the most engaged and transparent process as we possibly could”, but that “some measure of discretion and confidentiality” are needed “to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise.”[103] He dismissed the “tension” as natural and noted that when the Free Trade Area of the Americas drafts were released, negotiators were subsequently unable to reach a final agreement.[103]

On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, which would have required the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress.[104] If it had passed, Wyden said that S3225 would clarify the intent of 2002 legislation. That legislation was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity; however, according to Wyden, the bill is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as a justification to excessively limit such access.[105] Wyden said:

The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron,PHRMA, Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.[105]

In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) were among a group of congressional lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration’s secrecy policies on the Trans-Pacific Pact.[106][107][108] Warren reiterated her opposition in a speech and press release, just days before a scheduled vote.[109]

A 2015 round of negotiations was scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, but two weeks before the commencement date, Ottawa was selected as the new meeting venue and inquiries from public interest groups about attending this round were ignored.[110]

In December 2014 Senator (I-VT) Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP:

Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.[111]

Michael R. Wessel, former commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission said in May 2015 that “cleared advisors” like himself were “prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches”. He said that only portions of the text had been provided, “to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official”, that access on secure government-run website did not contain the most-up-to-date information, and that for cleared advisors to get that information, he had “to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials” and “even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement.”[112]

In June 2015, Senator (R-KY) Rand Paul opposed fast-tracking the TPP bill on the basis of secrecy. Paul explained that fast-tracking the secret trade partnership would “give the permission to do something you haven’t seen”, which he likened to “[putting] the cart before the horse.”[113]

Intellectual property[edit]

As of December 2011 some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in the US proposal for the agreement had been criticised as being excessively restrictive, beyond those in the Korea–US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).[114][115]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation[115] was highly critical of the leaked draft chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, and patents. In the US, they believed this was likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) 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. Standardization of copyright provisions by other signatories would also require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These, according to EFF, include obligations for countries to expand copyright terms, restrictfair use, adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation (ex. file sharing of copyrighted digital media), place greater liability on internet intermediaries, escalate protections for digital locks and create new threats for journalists and whistleblowers.[115]

Both the copyright term expansion and the non-complaint provision (i.e., competent authorities may initiate legal action without the need for a formal complaint) previously failed to pass in Japan because they were so controversial.[116] In early 2015 “A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists … in Japan [asked] their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States’ already excessive length of copyright.”[116] (The alleged “excessive length,” life of the author plus 70 years in most cases, is in the final agreement.)

Ken Akamatsu, creator of Japanese manga series Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argued that the TPP “would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish.”[117]

In May 2015, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman expressed concern that the TPP would tighten the patent laws and allow corporations such as big pharmaceutical companies and Hollywood to gain advantages, in terms of increasing rewards, at the cost of consumers, and that people in developing countries would not be able to access the medicines under the TPP regime.[118] He also pointed out that the TPP would allow multinational corporations to sue national governments, and have cases where group of people who are privately elected can judge.[118]

ISDS[edit]

In April 2015 the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach, said

“We consider it inappropriate to elevate an individual investor or company to equal status with a nation state to privately enforce a public treaty between two sovereign countries”, … “[ISDS] gives extraordinary new privileges and powers and rights to just one interest. Foreign investors are privileged vis-a-vis domestic companies, vis-a-vis the government of a country, [and] vis-a-vis other private sector interests”,
“… the basic reality of ISDS: it provides foreign investors alone access to non-U.S. courts to pursue claims against the U.S. government on the basis of broader substantive rights than U.S. firms are afforded under U.S. law”.[119]

On 5 October 2015 economists Joseph Stiglitz and Adam S. Hersh questioned the ISDS provisions of the TPP. “To be sure”, they wrote, “investors—wherever they call home—deserve protection from expropriation or discriminatory regulations. But ISDS goes much further: The obligation to compensate investors for losses of expected profits can and has been applied even where rules are nondiscriminatory and profits are made from causing public harm. … Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice—first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.”.[120] Stiglitz also claimed that the TPP would give oil companies the right to sue governments for loss of profits due to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.[121]

In November 2015, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs expressed concern that the ISDS-type system which the TPP proposes grants huge power to investors, and that the TPP damages the judicial systems of all the member countries, noting that ISDS has been already used by corporations to upset governments so as to weaken the regulations that have negative effects on their profits.[122]Pointing out what he believes are problems with the unnecessarily strong copyright protections and intellectual properties, the deficiencies in the standards of worker protections, the lack of social and environmental commitments in the TPP, he concluded that the US Congress must oppose the TPP.[122]

In February 2016, Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute said that the ISDS provision in the TPP was an expanded version of the ISDS in NAFTA, pointing out that more than 10 percent of foreign investors in the US could access ISDS under the TPP regime.[123] Under the ISDS mechanism, foreign corporations can sue a national government in international arbitration over a government’s actions if the measures have a negative effect on their profits and economic interests. Various measures, including those for public health, national security, environment, food and drug, responses to economic crises, could be challenged by foreign corporations, regardless of whether the measures are for the public interest.[123]

According to Lori Wallach‘s interpretation of leaked documents in 2012, countries would be required to conform their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP Agreement, which includes provisions on government spending in certain areas[124] She argues that investor-state dispute settlement mechanism can be used to “attack domestic public interest laws”.[124]

On 12 April 2016, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller argued that TPP’s ISDS would allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government over environmental regulations that the government imposed, and if the corporations won their cases the government would be forced to pay compensations to the corporations from public coffers.[125]

Pointing out that Canada was sued multiple times under NAFTA‘s ISDS and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, Miller explained that paying such compensation was like ahidden tax imposed on Canadians by multinational corporations. Green Party of Canada argues that Canadians should not be taxed by corporations for regulations that protect Canadians and Canada’s environment. Miller, who is the Green Party of Canada’s Infrastructure & Community Development Critic, concluded that TPP should not be ratified.[125]

Cost of medicine[edit]

A June 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized concerns about the TPP’s impact on healthcare in both developed and less developed countries, including potentially increased prices of medical drugs due to patent extensions, which it claimed, could threaten millions of lives. Extending “data exclusivity” provisions would “prevent drug regulatory agencies such as theFood and Drug Administration from registering a generic version of a drug for a certain number of years.” International tribunals that have been a part of the proposed agreement could theoretically require corporations be paid compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations. That, in turn, might interfere with domestic health policy.[126] A number of United States Congressional members,[127] including Senator Bernard Sanders[128] and Representatives Sander M. Levin, John Conyers, Jim McDermott and the now-retired Henry Waxman, as well as [129] John Lewis, Charles B. Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, Lloyd Doggett and then-congressman Pete Stark,[130]expressed concerns about access to medicine. By protecting intellectual property in the form of the TPP mandating patent extensions, access by patients to affordable medicine in the developing world could be hindered, particularly in Vietnam.[127] Additionally, they worried that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.[130]

Opponents of the TPP in New Zealand said U.S. corporations were hoping to weaken the ability of its domestic agency Pharmac to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing it to otherwise pay considerably higher prices for brand name drugs.[131] Physicians and organizations, includingMedecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, also expressed concern.[132]

The New Zealand Government denied the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser saying opponents of the deal are “trying to wreck this agreement”.[133]

When a deal was reached in early October 2015, the U.S. and Australia had negotiated a compromise on the length of the monopoly period on next-generation biotech drugs down from twelve years requested by the U.S. to “a minimum period of 5 years and up to a minimum of 8 years.”[134]

In Australia, critics of the investment protection regime argued that traditional investment treatystandards are incompatible with some public health regulations, meaning that the TPP will be used to force states to adopt lower standards, e.g.,  with respect to patented pharmaceuticals.[135] The Australian Public Health Association (PHAA) published a media release on 17 February 2014 that discussed the potential impact of the TPP on the health of Australia’s population. A policy brief formulated through a collaboration between academics and non-government organizations (NGOs) was the basis of the media release, with the partnership continuing its Health Impact Assessment of the trade agreement at the time of the PHAA’s statement. Michael Moore, the PHAA’s CEO, said, “The brief highlights the ways in which some of the expected economic gains from the TPPA may be undermined by poor health outcomes, and the economic costs associated with these poor health outcomes.”[136]

In February 2015, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich stated he opposed the TPP because it would delay cheaper generic versions of drugs and because of its provisions for international tribunals that can require corporations be paid “compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations.”[137]

When the full-text of the TPP was officially released on 5 November 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, expressed that they were “extremely concerned about the inclusion of dangerous provisions that would dismantle public health safeguards enshrined in international law and restrict access to price-lowering generic medicines for millions of people.”[138][139] MSF’s advisor, Judit Rius Sanjuan, cautioned that,[138]

“MSF remains gravely concerned about the effects that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will have on access to affordable medicines for millions of people, if it is enacted. Today’s official release of the agreed TPP text confirms that the deal will further delay price-lowering generic competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

— Doctors Without Borders November 5, 2015

India’s laws concerning drug patents allow it to develop generic drugs. Despite India not being a signatory to the TPP, the provisions in the TPP concerning generic drugs seem to be directly targeting India’s pharmaceutical industry, according to Amy Kapczynski, faculty director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University.[126]

Income inequality[edit]

In 2013, Nobel Memorial prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that based on leaked drafts of the TPP, it presented “grave risks” and “serves the interests of the wealthiest.”[106][140] Organised labour in the U.S. argued that the trade deal would largely benefit corporations at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries.[141] The Economic Policy Institute and theCenter for Economic and Policy Research argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages.[142][143]

In 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximise profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”[144] Senator Bernie Sanders (IVT), who opposes fast track, stated that trade agreements like the TPP “have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations.”[145] Economist Robert Reich contends that the TPP is a “Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.”[146][147]

After the announcement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015 and the finalisation of the TPP a week later, critics have discussed the interactions between the SDGs and the TPP. While one critic sees the TPP as providing a mixed bag of benefits and drawbacks to the SDGs,[148] another regards the TPP as being incompatible with the SDGs, highlighting that if the development provisions clash with any other aspect of the TPP, the other aspect takes priority.[149] The Friends of the Earth have spoken out against the TPP.[150][151]

Economists Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer challenge the view that TPP will primarily benefit the wealthy. Their analysis finds that “the gains from TPP appear to be fairly distributed—labour will gain relative to capital, and cost reductions will favour low-income households. Some workers will need to change jobs, but they constitute a small fraction of normal job churn in any given year, and the national benefits argue for generous compensation for their adjustment costs. The agreement will also benefit workers in TPP’s poorest member countries.”[152] Research by Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence finds that the “percentage gains for labor income from the TPP will be slightly greater than the gains to capital income. Households in all quintiles will benefit by similar percentages, but once differences in spending shares are taken into account, the percentage gains to poor and middle-class households will be slightly larger than the gains to households at the top.”[153][154] An opinion piece by Ed Gerwin in the Wall Street Journal argues that the TPP agreement benefits small businesses in the US.[44]

Economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson, who have extensively studied US labor markets adjustments to trade competition shocks caused by China,[155] support TPP.[156] They argue that TPP “would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative advantage”, note that “killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America” and argue that it would pressure China to raise regulatory rules and standards to those of TPP members.[156]

Environment[edit]

In 2013, Sierra Club‘s director of responsible trade, Ilana Solomon, argued that the TPP “could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land.”[157] Upon the publication of a complete draft of the Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report by Wikileaks in January 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Counciland the World Wide Fund for Nature joined with the Sierra Club in criticizing the TPP. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange described the Environment Chapter as “a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”[158][159]

In January 2014, The Washington Posts editorial board opined that congressional sponsors of legislation to expedite approval of the TPP in the U.S. already included provisions to ensure that all TPP countries meet international labour and environmental standards, and that the U.S. “has been made more productive by broader international competition and more secure by broader international prosperity”.[160]

The Venezuelan-backed TeleSUR reported that, when a deal was struck on 5 October 2015, various environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace, 350.org, and Food & Water Watch raised warnings against the deal.[161]

However, the White House has a website with supportive statements from the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Humane Society, and other environmental groups in favor of the TPP.[162]

Labour standards[edit]

In January 2016, Human Rights Watch said that the TPP side agreements with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei “are a unique and significant step in efforts to protect labor rights in trade agreements” but noted that enforcement of these rules remains to be seen: “gauging compliance will require subjective assessments by the US that may take years to carry out and face obstacles arising from foreign policy objectives, commercial interests, and other political considerations.”[163]

In May 2015, U.S. politician Sander Levin said that Vietnam has not enforced compliance with basic international labour standards: for example if a worker tries to form an independent union in Vietnam, the worker can be jailed. He said that, even if countries change their laws, it is difficult to enforce trade deals. He added that there is no evidence that the Southeast Asian country is going to meet the international labour standards.[164]

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren strongly opposes the TPP, issuing a staff report on the agreement. The report says that there is a huge gap between the promises that past US free trade agreements contained and the actual enforcement of their labour provisions.[164]

Non-compete clause[edit]

Dean Baker argued that Article 18.78, under which countries should ensure that they protect trade secrets and impose criminal procedures for violators, could be used to enforce non-compete agreements, and that big tech companies were happy if they could prevent workers from joining their rivals or starting their own company. Pointing out that California‘s success was attributed to the fact that the state did not allow for the enforcement of non-compete agreements (and that in California it was easy for tech workers to quit their jobs and start to work for another company), and that Michigan enforced non-compete agreements, Baker wrote that the connection between Silicon Valley and Detroit came in Article 18.78.[165]

Protests[edit]

A protest in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2014

“Stop Fast Track” rally inWashington D.C., April 2015

Protesters of the 4 February signing at SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland,New Zealand.

A number of global health professionals, internet freedomactivists, environmentalists, trade unions, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested against the treaty, in large part because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement’s expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.[106][166][167][168][169]

On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne’s 6 pm bulletin at Melbourne, Australia’s Federation Square venue.[170] In New Zealand, the “It’s Our Future” protest group was formed[171]with the aim of raising public awareness prior to the Auckland round of negotiations, which was held from 3 to 12 December 2012.[172] During the Auckland negotiations, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the conference venue and lit a fire in the streets.[173]

A poll conducted in December 2012 showed 64 percent of New Zealanders thought trade agreements, such as the TPP, which allow corporations to sue governments, should be rejected.[174]

In March 2013, four thousand Japanese farmers held a protest in Tokyo over the potential for cheap imports to severely damage the local agricultural industry.[175]

On 21 February 2014, Malaysian protesters dressed aszombies outside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur to protest the impact of the TPP on the price of medicines, including treatment drugs for HIV. The protest group consisted of students, members of the Malaysian AIDS Council and HIV-positive patients—one patient explained that, in Malaysian ringgit, he spent between RM500 and RM600 each month on treatment drugs, but this cost would increase to around RM3,000.[176]

On 29 March 2014, 15 anti-TPP protests occurred across New Zealand, including a demonstration in Auckland attended by several thousand people.[177] The New Zealand Nurses Association was particularly concerned that the TPP could prevent government decisions that could benefit public health.[178] On 8 November 2014, further protests occurred in 17 New Zealand cities, with turnouts in the thousands.[179][180]

In January 2015, various petitions and public protests occurred in the U.S. from progressives.[181]On 27 January 2015, protesters hijacked a US Senate hearing to speak out against the TPP and were promptly removed by capitol police officers.[182]

On 15 August 2015, protests were held across New Zealand in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, as well as several smaller cities. An activist claimed that over 25,000 people collectively protested against the TPP free trade deal throughout the country.[183] The protests were peaceful; however, police were forced to protect the steps of the Parliament building in the capital of Wellington, after an estimated 2000 people marched to the entrance.[184][185][186]

On 15 September 2015, an estimated 50 protesters blocked a lane of Lambton Quay in the central business district of Wellington, New Zealand. It was reported that up to 30 people were arrested after forming a block on the road, and were taken away in police vans. The group was attempting to enter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade headquarters, in attempt to seize documents related to the TPPA. They criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, chanting “democracy not secrecy”.[187] They were stopped by a police barricade, which later extended to a lock down of the road.[183]

On 23 January 2016, two protests against TPP occurred at Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man estimated the crowd to be about 25,000 people at Padang Merbok alone. However, Malaysiakini estimated the number for both Padang Merbok and Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur city centre at 5,000 maximum and called the protest a “dud”.[188]

On 30 January 2016, in Wellington, thousands of people joined anti-TPP rallies, and about five hundred people presented a petition calling for a binding referendum on the TPP before New Zealand’s government ratifies the TPP.[189]

On 4 February 2016, trade ministers from the twelve negotiating countries met at the SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.[190] Between 2,000 and 15,000 protesters were estimated to have marched down Queen Street at midday, including additional rallies in Aotea Square and outside of SkyCity.[191][192] Groups of protesters blocked central city intersections and motorway ramps during the day, including an incident where 100 protesters ran onto a section of the central city motorway.[190][191] Protesters in Auckland were joined by the annual Waitangi Day hikoi,[193] and an additional 250 people protested at the Wellington Cenotaph outside of parliament in Wellington.[191]

In early April 2016, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined an anti-TPP rally, and explained why he stood up and fought against the TPP.[194] As de Blasio noted, NAFTA was a disastrous trade pact: under NAFTA, about one million US jobs and tens of thousands of New York jobs were lost, and the decent standard of living for the US middle class was eroded. He argued that the TPP would damage US as NAFTA did, suggesting that the TPP would worsen US’s income inequality.[194]

In April 2016, more than twenty lawmakers in Washington agreed that the US Congress should oppose the TPP. The lawmakers expressed concern that the TPP would have negative impacts on various things: availability of life saving drugs, protections of the environment and natural resources, jobs, labor standards and human rights. They sent a letter to Washington State Members of Congress, urging them to reject the TPP.[195][196]

Looks like a lot of economists have spoken out against TPP based on what happened with NAFTA

In February 2016, UN‘s human rights expert Alfred de Zayas said that the TPP was fundamentally flawed and was based on an outdated model of trade pacts, and that governments should not sign or ratify the TPP. According to de Zayas, the international human rights regime imposes, on countries, binding legal obligations, including theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsand the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and trade must be done under the human rights regime. Under the ISDS in the TPP, investors can sue a government, while a government cannot sue investors. De Zayas argued that this asymmetry made the system unfair. He added that international law, including accountability and transparency, must prevail over trade pacts.

Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, reported, “… I’ll be undismayed and even a bit relieved if the T.P.P. just fades away”, and said that “… there isn’t a compelling case for this deal, from either a global or a national point of view.” Krugman also noted the absence of “anything like a political consensus in favor, abroad or at home.”

In 2012, critics such as Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, a consumer advocacy group, called for more open negotiations in regard to the agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk responded that he believes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducted “the most engaged and transparent process as we possibly could”, but that “some measure of discretion and confidentiality” are needed “to preserve negotiating strength and to encourage our partners to be willing to put issues on the table they may not otherwise.” He dismissed the “tension” as natural and noted that when the Free Trade Area of the Americasdrafts were released, negotiators were subsequently unable to reach a final agreement.

On 23 May 2012, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3225, which would have required the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to disclose its TPP documents to all members of Congress. If it had passed, Wyden said that S3225 would clarify the intent of 2002 legislation. That legislation was supposed to increase Congressional access to information about USTR activity; however, according to Wyden, the bill is being incorrectly interpreted by the USTR as a justification to excessively limit such access. Wyden said:

The majority of Congress is being kept in the dark as to the substance of the TPP negotiations, while representatives of U.S. corporations—like Halliburton, Chevron,PHRMA,Comcast, and the Motion Picture Association of America—are being consulted and made privy to details of the agreement. […] More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing. We hear that the process by which TPP is being negotiated has been a model of transparency. I disagree with that statement.

In 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) were among a group of congressional lawmakers who criticized the Obama administration’s secrecy policies on the Trans-Pacific Pact. Warren reiterated her opposition in a speech and press release, just days before a scheduled vote.

A 2015 round of negotiations was scheduled for Vancouver, Canada, but two weeks before the commencement date, Ottawa was selected as the new meeting venue and inquiries from public interest groups about attending this round were ignored.

In December 2014 Senator (I-VT) Bernie Sanders denounced the TPP:

Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a “free trade” agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs; undercutting worker rights; dismantling labor, environmental, health, food safety and financial laws; and allowing corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system. If TPP was such a good deal for America, the administration should have the courage to show the American people exactly what is in this deal, instead of keeping the content of the TPP a secret.

Michael R. Wessel, former commissioner on the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission said in May 2015 that “cleared advisors” like himself were “prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches”. He said that only portions of the text had been provided, “to be read under the watchful eye of a USTR official”, that access on secure government-run website did not contain the most-up-to-date information, and that for cleared advisors to get that information, he had “to travel to certain government facilities and sign in to read the materials” and “even then, the administration determines what we can and cannot review and, often, they provide carefully edited summaries rather than the actual underlying text, which is critical to really understanding the consequences of the agreement.”

In June 2015, Senator (R-KY) Rand Paul opposed fast-tracking the TPP bill on the basis of secrecy. Paul explained that fast-tracking the secret trade partnership would “give the permission to do something you haven’t seen”, which he likened to “[putting] the cart before the horse.”

Further information: Trans-Pacific Partnership intellectual property provisions

As of December 2011 some provisions relating to the enforcement of patents and copyrights alleged to be present in the US proposal for the agreement had been criticised as being excessively restrictive, beyond those in the Korea–US trade agreement and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was highly critical of the leaked draft chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, and patents. In the US, they believed this was likely to further entrench controversial aspects of US copyright law (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) 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. Standardization of copyright provisions by other signatories would also require significant changes to other countries’ copyright laws. These, according to EFF, include obligations for countries to expand copyright terms, restrictfair use, adopt criminal sanctions for copyright infringement that is done without a commercial motivation (ex. file sharing of copyrighted digital media), place greater liability on internet intermediaries, escalate protections for digital locks and create new threats for journalists and whistleblowers.

Both the copyright term expansion and the non-complaint provision (i.e., competent authorities may initiate legal action without the need for a formal complaint) previously failed to pass in Japan because they were so controversial. In early 2015 “A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists … in Japan [asked] their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States’ already excessive length of copyright.” (The alleged “excessive length,” life of the author plus 70 years in most cases, is in the final agreement.)

Ken Akamatsu, creator of Japanese manga series Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima!, expressed concern the agreement could decimate the derivative dōjinshi (self-published) works prevalent in Japan. Akamatsu argued that the TPP “would destroy derivative dōjinshi. And as a result, the power of the entire manga industry would also diminish.”

In May 2015, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman expressed concern that the TPP would tighten the patent laws and allow corporations such as big pharmaceutical companies and Hollywood to gain advantages, in terms of increasing rewards, at the cost of consumers, and that people in developing countries would not be able to access the medicines under the TPP regime. He also pointed out that the TPP would allow multinational corporations to sue national governments, and have cases where group of people who are privately elected can judge.

In April 2015 the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Lori Wallach, said

“We consider it inappropriate to elevate an individual investor or company to equal status with a nation state to privately enforce a public treaty between two sovereign countries”, … “[ISDS] gives extraordinary new privileges and powers and rights to just one interest. Foreign investors are privileged vis-a-vis domestic companies, vis-a-vis the government of a country, [and] vis-a-vis other private sector interests”,
“… the basic reality of ISDS: it provides foreign investors alone access to non-U.S. courts to pursue claims against the U.S. government on the basis of broader substantive rights than U.S. firms are afforded under U.S. law”.

On 5 October 2015 economists Joseph Stiglitz and Adam S. Hersh questioned the ISDS provisions of the TPP. “To be sure”, they wrote, “investors—wherever they call home—deserve protection from expropriation or discriminatory regulations. But ISDS goes much further: The obligation to compensate investors for losses of expected profits can and has been applied even where rules are nondiscriminatory and profits are made from causing public harm. … Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice—first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.”. Stiglitz also claimed that the TPP would give oil companies the right to sue governments for loss of profits due to efforts to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.

In November 2015, Columbia professor Jeffrey Sachs expressed concern that the ISDS-type system which the TPP proposes grants huge power to investors, and that the TPP damages the judicial systems of all the member countries, noting that ISDS has been already used by corporations to upset governments so as to weaken the regulations that have negative effects on their profits.Pointing out what he believes are problems with the unnecessarily strong copyright protections and intellectual properties, the deficiencies in the standards of worker protections, the lack of social and environmental commitments in the TPP, he concluded that the US Congress must oppose the TPP.

In February 2016, Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs of the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment and Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute said that the ISDS provision in the TPP was an expanded version of the ISDS in NAFTA, pointing out that more than 10 percent of foreign investors in the US could access ISDS under the TPP regime. Under the ISDS mechanism, foreign corporations can sue a national government in international arbitration over a government’s actions if the measures have a negative effect on their profits and economic interests. Various measures, including those for public health, national security, environment, food and drug, responses to economic crises, could be challenged by foreign corporations, regardless of whether the measures are for the public interest.

According to Lori Wallach‘s interpretation of leaked documents in 2012, countries would be required to conform their domestic laws and regulations to the TPP Agreement, which includes provisions on government spending in certain areas She argues that investor-state dispute settlement mechanism can be used to “attack domestic public interest laws”.

On 12 April 2016, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller argued that TPP’s ISDS would allow foreign corporations to sue the Canadian government over environmental regulations that the government imposed, and if the corporations won their cases the government would be forced to pay compensations to the corporations from public coffers.

Pointing out that Canada was sued multiple times under NAFTA‘s ISDS and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, Miller explained that paying such compensation was like ahidden tax imposed on Canadians by multinational corporations.Green Party of Canada argues that Canadians should not be taxed by corporations for regulations that protect Canadians and Canada’s environment. Miller, who is the Green Party of Canada’s Infrastructure & Community Development Critic, concluded that TPP should not be ratified.

A June 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine summarized concerns about the TPP’s impact on healthcare in both developed and less developed countries, including potentially increased prices of medical drugs due to patent extensions, which it claimed, could threaten millions of lives. Extending “data exclusivity” provisions would “prevent drug regulatory agencies such as theFood and Drug Administration from registering a generic version of a drug for a certain number of years.” International tribunals that have been a part of the proposed agreement could theoretically require corporations be paid compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations. That, in turn, might interfere with domestic health policy. A number of United States Congressional members, including SenatorBernard Sanders and Representatives Sander M. Levin, John Conyers, Jim McDermott and the now-retired Henry Waxman, as well as John Lewis, Charles B. Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, Lloyd Doggett and then-congressman Pete Stark,expressed concerns about access to medicine. By protecting intellectual property in the form of the TPP mandating patent extensions, access by patients to affordable medicine in the developing world could be hindered, particularly in Vietnam. Additionally, they worried that the TPP would not be flexible enough to accommodate existing non-discriminatory drug reimbursement programs and the diverse health systems of member countries.

Opponents of the TPP in New Zealand said U.S. corporations were hoping to weaken the ability of its domestic agency Pharmac to get inexpensive, generic medicines by forcing it to otherwise pay considerably higher prices for brand name drugs. Physicians and organizations, includingMedecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, also expressed concern.

The New Zealand Government denied the claims, Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Grosersaying opponents of the deal are “trying to wreck this agreement”.

When a deal was reached in early October 2015, the U.S. and Australia had negotiated a compromise on the length of the monopoly period on next-generation biotech drugs down from twelve years requested by the U.S. to “a minimum period of 5 years and up to a minimum of 8 years.”

In Australia, critics of the investment protection regime argued that traditional investment treatystandards are incompatible with some public health regulations, meaning that the TPP will be used to force states to adopt lower standards, e.g., with respect to patented pharmaceuticals. The Australian Public Health Association (PHAA) published a media release on 17 February 2014 that discussed the potential impact of the TPP on the health of Australia’s population. A policy brief formulated through a collaboration between academics and non-government organizations (NGOs) was the basis of the media release, with the partnership continuing its Health Impact Assessment of the trade agreement at the time of the PHAA’s statement. Michael Moore, the PHAA’s CEO, said, “The brief highlights the ways in which some of the expected economic gains from the TPPA may be undermined by poor health outcomes, and the economic costs associated with these poor health outcomes.”

In February 2015, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich stated he opposed the TPP because it would delay cheaper generic versions of drugs and because of its provisions for international tribunals that can require corporations be paid “compensation for any lost profits found to result from a nation’s regulations.”

When the full-text of the TPP was officially released on 5 November 2015, Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, expressed that they were “extremely concerned about the inclusion of dangerous provisions that would dismantle public health safeguards enshrined in international law and restrict access to price-lowering generic medicines for millions of people.” MSF’s advisor, Judit Rius Sanjuan, cautioned that,

“MSF remains gravely concerned about the effects that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will have on access to affordable medicines for millions of people, if it is enacted. Today’s official release of the agreed TPP text confirms that the deal will further delay price-lowering generic competition by extending and strengthening monopoly market protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

India’s laws concerning drug patents allow it to develop generic drugs. Despite India not being a signatory to the TPP, the provisions in the TPP concerning generic drugs seem to be directly targeting India’s pharmaceutical industry, according to Amy Kapczynski, faculty director of the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University.

In 2013, Nobel Memorial prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned that based on leaked drafts of the TPP, it presented “grave risks” and “serves the interests of the wealthiest.” Organised labour in the U.S. argued that the trade deal would largely benefit corporations at the expense of workers in the manufacturing and service industries. The Economic Policy Institute and theCenter for Economic and Policy Research argued that the TPP could result in further job losses and declining wages.

In 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that the TPP is “designed to carry forward the neoliberalproject to maximise profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.” Senator Bernie Sanders (IVT), who opposes fast track, stated that trade agreements like the TPP “have ended up devastating working families and enriching large corporations.” Economist Robert Reichcontends that the TPP is a “Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.”

After the announcement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 25 September 2015 and the finalisation of the TPP a week later, critics have discussed the interactions between the SDGs and the TPP. While one critic sees the TPP as providing a mixed bag of benefits and drawbacks to the SDGs, another regards the TPP as being incompatible with the SDGs, highlighting that if the development provisions clash with any other aspect of the TPP, the other aspect takes priority. The Friends of the Earth have spoken out against the TPP.

Economists Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer challenge the view that TPP will primarily benefit the wealthy. Their analysis finds that “the gains from TPP appear to be fairly distributed—labour will gain relative to capital, and cost reductions will favour low-income households. Some workers will need to change jobs, but they constitute a small fraction of normal job churn in any given year, and the national benefits argue for generous compensation for their adjustment costs. The agreement will also benefit workers in TPP’s poorest member countries.” Research by Harvard economist Robert Z. Lawrence finds that the “percentage gains for labor income from the TPP will be slightly greater than the gains to capital income. Households in all quintiles will benefit by similar percentages, but once differences in spending shares are taken into account, the percentage gains to poor and middle-class households will be slightly larger than the gains to households at the top.” An opinion piece by Ed Gerwin in the Wall Street Journal argues that the TPP agreement benefits small businesses in the US.

Economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson, who have extensively studied US labor markets adjustments to trade competition shocks caused by China, support TPP. They argue that TPP “would promote trade in knowledge-intensive services in which U.S. companies exert a strong comparative advantage”, note that “killing the TPP would do little to bring factory work back to America” and argue that it would pressure China to raise regulatory rules and standards to those of TPP members.

In 2013, Sierra Club‘s director of responsible trade, Ilana Solomon, argued that the TPP “could directly threaten our climate and our environment [including] new rights that would be given to corporations, and new constraints on the fossil fuel industry all have a huge impact on our climate, water, and land.” Upon the publication of a complete draft of the Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report by Wikileaks in January 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Counciland the World Wide Fund for Nature joined with the Sierra Club in criticizing the TPP. WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange described the Environment Chapter as “a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”

In January 2014, The Washington Post’s editorial board opined that congressional sponsors of legislation to expedite approval of the TPP in the U.S. already included provisions to ensure that all TPP countries meet international labour and environmental standards, and that the U.S. “has been made more productive by broader international competition and more secure by broader international prosperity”.

The Venezuelan-backed TeleSUR reported that, when a deal was struck on 5 October 2015, various environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, NRDC, Greenpeace, 350.org, and Food & Water Watch raised warnings against the deal.

However, the White House has a website with supportive statements from the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Humane Society, and other environmental groups in favor of the TPP.

In January 2016, Human Rights Watch said that the TPP side agreements with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei “are a unique and significant step in efforts to protect labor rights in trade agreements” but noted that enforcement of these rules remains to be seen: “gauging compliance will require subjective assessments by the US that may take years to carry out and face obstacles arising from foreign policy objectives, commercial interests, and other political considerations.”

In May 2015, U.S. politician Sander Levin said that Vietnam has not enforced compliance with basic international labour standards: for example if a worker tries to form an independent union in Vietnam, the worker can be jailed. He said that, even if countries change their laws, it is difficult to enforce trade deals. He added that there is no evidence that the Southeast Asian country is going to meet the international labour standards.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren strongly opposes the TPP, issuing a staff report on the agreement. The report says that there is a huge gap between the promises that past US free trade agreements contained and the actual enforcement of their labour provisions.

Dean Baker argued that Article 18.78, under which countries should ensure that they protecttrade secrets and impose criminal procedures for violators, could be used to enforce non-compete agreements, and that big tech companies were happy if they could prevent workers from joining their rivals or starting their own company. Pointing out that California‘s success was attributed to the fact that the state did not allow for the enforcement of non-compete agreements (and that in California it was easy for tech workers to quit their jobs and start to work for another company), and that Michigan enforced non-compete agreements, Baker wrote that the connection between Silicon Valley and Detroit came in Article 18.78.

A protest in Wellington, New Zealand in November 2014″Stop Fast Track” rally inWashington D.C., April 2015Protesters of the 4 February signing at SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland,New Zealand.

A number of global health professionals, internet freedomactivists, environmentalists, trade unions, advocacy groups, and elected officials have criticized and protested against the treaty, in large part because of the secrecy of negotiations, the agreement’s expansive scope, and controversial clauses in drafts leaked to the public.

On 5 March 2012, a group of TPP protesters disrupted an outside broadcast of 7News Melbourne’s 6 pm bulletin at Melbourne, Australia’s Federation Square venue. In New Zealand, the “It’s Our Future” protest group was formedwith the aim of raising public awareness prior to the Auckland round of negotiations, which was held from 3 to 12 December 2012. During the Auckland negotiations, hundreds of protesters clashed with police outside the conference venue and lit a fire in the streets.

A poll conducted in December 2012 showed 64 percent of New Zealanders thought trade agreements, such as the TPP, which allow corporations to sue governments, should be rejected.

In March 2013, four thousand Japanese farmers held a protest in Tokyo over the potential for cheap imports to severely damage the local agricultural industry.

On 21 February 2014, Malaysian protesters dressed aszombies outside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur to protest the impact of the TPP on the price of medicines, including treatment drugs for HIV. The protest group consisted of students, members of the Malaysian AIDS Council and HIV-positive patients—one patient explained that, in Malaysian ringgit, he spent between RM500 and RM600 each month on treatment drugs, but this cost would increase to around RM3,000.

On 29 March 2014, 15 anti-TPP protests occurred across New Zealand, including a demonstration in Auckland attended by several thousand people. The New Zealand Nurses Association was particularly concerned that the TPP could prevent government decisions that could benefit public health. On 8 November 2014, further protests occurred in 17 New Zealand cities, with turnouts in the thousands.

In January 2015, various petitions and public protests occurred in the U.S. from progressives.On 27 January 2015, protesters hijacked a US Senate hearing to speak out against the TPP and were promptly removed by capitol police officers.

On 15 August 2015, protests were held across New Zealand in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, as well as several smaller cities. An activist claimed that over 25,000 people collectively protested against the TPP free trade deal throughout the country. The protests were peaceful; however, police were forced to protect the steps of the Parliament building in the capital of Wellington, after an estimated 2000 people marched to the entrance.

On 15 September 2015, an estimated 50 protesters blocked a lane of Lambton Quay in the central business district of Wellington, New Zealand. It was reported that up to 30 people were arrested after forming a block on the road, and were taken away in police vans. The group was attempting to enter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade headquarters, in attempt to seize documents related to the TPPA. They criticized the secrecy surrounding the negotiations, chanting “democracy not secrecy”. They were stopped by a police barricade, which later extended to a lock down of the road.

On 23 January 2016, two protests against TPP occurred at Dataran Merdeka and Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man estimated the crowd to be about 25,000 people at Padang Merbok alone. However, Malaysiakiniestimated the number for both Padang Merbok and Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur city centre at 5,000 maximum and called the protest a “dud”.

On 30 January 2016, in Wellington, thousands of people joined anti-TPP rallies, and about five hundred people presented a petition calling for a binding referendum on the TPP before New Zealand’s government ratifies the TPP.

On 4 February 2016, trade ministers from the twelve negotiating countries met at the SkyCity Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. Between 2,000 and 15,000 protesters were estimated to have marched down Queen Street at midday, including additional rallies in Aotea Squareand outside of SkyCity. Groups of protesters blocked central city intersections and motorway ramps during the day, including an incident where 100 protesters ran onto a section of the central city motorway. Protesters in Auckland were joined by the annual Waitangi Day hikoi, and an additional 250 people protested at the Wellington Cenotaph outside of parliament inWellington.

In early April 2016, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio joined an anti-TPP rally, and explained why he stood up and fought against the TPP. As de Blasio noted, NAFTA was a disastrous trade pact: under NAFTA, about one million US jobs and tens of thousands of New York jobs were lost, and the decent standard of living for the US middle class was eroded. He argued that the TPP would damage US as NAFTA did, suggesting that the TPP would worsen US’s income inequality.

In April 2016, more than twenty lawmakers in Washington agreed that the US Congress should oppose the TPP. The lawmakers expressed concern that the TPP would have negative impacts on various things: availability of life saving drugs, protections of the environment and natural resources, jobs, labor standards and human rights. They sent a letter to Washington State Members of Congress, urging them to reject the TPP.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Partnership#Criticism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investment_Partnership

 

he European Commission says that the TTIP would boost the EU’s economy by €120 billion, the US economy by €90 billion and the rest of the world by €100 billion.[9] According to Foreign Affairs, TTIP aims to “liberalise one-third of global trade” that, they argue, would create millions of new paid jobs.[10] However, a Guardian article by Dean Baker of the US thinktank Center for Economic and Policy Research[11][12][13] argued that the economic benefits per household would be relatively small,[14] and according to a European Parliament report, impacts on labour conditions range from job gains to job losses, depending on economic model and assumptions used for predictions.[15]

The controversial[16][17] agreement has been criticized and opposed by unions, charities, NGOs andenvironmentalists, particularly in Europe.[18][19] The Independent describes the range of negative impacts as “reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations”,[20] or more critically as an “assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations”;[20] andThe Guardian noted the criticism of TTIP’s “undemocratic nature of the closed-door talks”, “influence of powerful lobbyists”, and TTIP’s potential ability to “undermine the democratic authority of local government”.[17] An EU direct democracy mechanism, the European Citizens’ Initiative, which enables EU citizens to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act,[21] acquired over 3.2 million signatures against TTIP and CETA within a year.[22][23]

 

Criticism and opposition[edit]

Secrecy of content and negotiations[edit]

The content of the drafts of agreement, as well as the reports on negotiation rounds, are classifiedfrom the public, an arrangement that The Independent criticised as “secretive and undemocratic”.[20]As noted above, elected representatives may only view the texts in a secure “reading room” in Brussels, to avoid any further leaks of information about TTIP negotiations into the public domain.

To answer the criticism, the European Commission has made negotiation documents public, including all EU proposals in the regulatory and rules components of the agreement.[62][70][71] The Trade Commissioner has described the negotiations as “the most transparent trade talks ever conducted by the EU”.[72]

Possible negative impacts[edit]

“Stop TTIP” protests in Barcelona, Spain, 18 April 2015

Politics and economy[edit]

TTIP negotiations are criticized and opposed by unions,charities, NGOs and environmentalists, particularly in Europe.[18][19] The Independent summarizes the negative impact of TTIP as “reducing the regulatory barriers to trade for big business, things like food safety law, environmental legislation, banking regulations and the sovereign powers of individual nations”,[20] or more critically as an “assault on European and US societies by transnational corporations”.[20] German economist Max Otte stated that the proposed (ISDS) court of arbitration and protection of foreign investment would mean a “complete dis-empowerment of politics”[73] and that, regarding labour economics, free trade agreements typically enforce lower standards and that TTIP would put European workers into direct competition with Americans (and in effect because of the North American Free Trade Agreementwith Mexicans), which would impact European social models.[73]

An October 2014 study by Jeronim Capaldo of the Global Development and Environment Institute atTufts University indicates that there will be losses in terms of net exports, net losses in terms of GDP, loss of labour income, job losses, reduction of the labour share, loss of government revenue and higher financial instability among European countries.[74]

Labour standards, workers’ rights and job security[edit]

The Guardian reports that according to the critics, TTIP would undermine job security as well as current minimum labour standards agreed in the EU.[75] British Labour Party politician John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has described TTIP as resulting in a huge transfer of powers to Brussels and corporate interests that will bring about a form of “modern-dayserfdom“.[75] According to a European Parliament report, impacts on labour conditions range from job gains to job losses, depending on economic model and assumptions used for predictions.[15]

In spite of a study by the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research (on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics) claiming that up to 400,000 jobs could be created in the EU by TTIP,[76] Stefan Körzell, national board member of the Confederation of German Trade Unions(DGB) has said “Whether TTIP can create jobs, and ‘how many’ and ‘where’ is unclear. Previous studies, ranging from those conducted by the European Commission across to the expertise of the Ifo Institute, fluctuate between optimism and very low expectations… Consideration of the negative consequences trade agreements can have, if environmental or labour standards are ignored, is often omitted. As of August 2015, the US had ratified two (prohibitions of child labour and slavery) of the eight ILO core labour standards.”[77]

Democracy and national sovereignty, foreign investor protection[edit]

If you wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do: give foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever a government passes a law to, say, discourage smoking, protect the environment or prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Yet that is precisely what thousands of trade and investment treaties over the past half century have done, through a process known as ‘investor-state dispute settlement’, or ISDS.[78]

The Economist, October 2014

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is an instrument that allows an investor to bring a case directly against the country hosting its investment, without the intervention of the government of the investor’s country of origin.[79] From the late 1980s, certain trade treaties have included provisions for ISDS that allow foreign investors who claim to have been disadvantaged by actions of a signatory state, to sue that state for damages in a tribunal of arbitration. More recently such claims have increased in number and value,[80] and some states have become increasingly resistant to such clauses.[81]

Critics of TTIP say that “ISDS provisions undermine the power of national governments to act in the interests of their citizens”,[18] that “TTIP could even undermine the democratic authority of local government”,[17] and that it threatens democracy.[82] France and Germany have said that they want access to investor-state dispute settlement removed from the TTIP treaty.[16] In December 2013, a coalition of over 200 environmentalists, labor unions and consumer advocacy organizations on both sides of the Atlantic sent a letter to the USTR and European Commission demanding the investor-state dispute settlement be dropped from the trade talks, claiming that ISDS was “a one-way street by which corporations can challenge government policies, but neither governments nor individuals are granted any comparable rights to hold corporations accountable”.[83][84] Some point out the “potential for abuse” that may be inherent in the trade agreement due to its clauses relating to investor protection.[85][86]

In December 2013, Martti Koskenniemi, Professor of International Law at the University of Helsinki, warned that the planned foreign investor protection scheme within the treaty, similar to World Bank Group‘s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), would endanger the sovereignty of the signatory states by allowing for a small circle of legal experts sitting in a foreign court of arbitration an unprecedented power to interpret and void the signatory states’ legislation.[87]

Faced with such broad and vociferous criticism, ISDS was abandoned in September 2015; in its place, the European Commission proposed an Investment Court System (ICS).[88][89] Not long afterwards, ICS was declared illegal by the German Association of Magistrates,[90] though the commission dismissed the magistrates’ judgement as based on a misunderstanding.[91] For its part, the United States wants ISDS reinstated.[91]

In February 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that human rights should be part of TTIP, describing TTIP as a threat to national sovereignty, workers, consumers, health and the environment.[92]

Public health and environment[edit]

According to a The Guardian report, TTIP draft leaked in 2016 shows “irreconcilable” differences between EU and the US in some areas, with the US demanding that EU compromise its “environmental, consumer protection and public health standards”.[93]

Health care[edit]

British unions such as Unite and the TUC have opposed TTIP on the grounds that it would undermine the National Health Service and allows for the further privatisation of public services. A Unite spokesperson described TTIP as “about deregulation and a race to the bottom on standards. Unison has fought and won on bringing services back into the public sector. … We cannot allow TTIP to threaten those successes.”[94]

Former Foreign Secretary David Owen said that TTIP would have a significant negative impact on the UK’s National Health Service because the Service would be subject to increased competition under the TTIP regime.[95]

UK prime minister David Cameron said that critics of free-trade should not use the National Health Service (NHS) to take people’s attention away, and honestly speak about trade deals. UK’sDepartment of Business, Innovation and Skills said that TTIP provided adequate protection for UK’s NHS.[96]

Assistant General Secretary of Unite Gail Cartmail said that TTIP was a real and serious threat to the NHS, adding that the threat would not be neutralised unless David Cameron gave a cast-iron guarantee that he would exclude the NHS from TTIP.[96]

Consumer protection and food safety[edit]

Trash bin in Berlin displaying “give me TTIP” in protest

Documents released in May 2015 showed that US negotiators had pressured the EU over proposed pesticide criteria. A number of pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals were forbidden in draft EU criteria. On the 2nd May 2013, US negotiators insisted the EU drop the criteria. They stated that a risk-based approach should be taken on regulation. Later the same day Catherine Day(Secretary-General of the European Commission) wrote to Karl Falkenberg (Director General for the Environment) asking for these criteria to be removed.[97]As of 2015, 82 pesticides used in the US were banned in Europe and US animal welfare standards are generally lower than those in Europe.[98]

A columnist in The Guardian stated that food safety in the EU might be compromised because of low or different standards in US food regulations,[18] if currently EU-banned food were allowed to be imported.[75] In June 2015, the BBC reported that food safety had become ‘a stumbling block’ because of differing US and EU attitudes to genetically modified crops, pesticides (endocrine disrupting chemicals), growth promoting hormones in beef and pathogen reduction treatments ofchicken, that cause public health concerns for consumers and put European farmers at a cost disadvantage.[98] Ban on animal testing in the EU has been described by The Guardian as “irreconcilable” with the US approach.[93]

Environment protection and climate change[edit]

A draft of the sustainable development section of TTIP was leaked to The Guardian in October 2015. Asked to comment on the document, a French environmental attorney described the proposed environmental safeguards as “virtually non-existent” by comparison with the protection granted to investors, and that environmental cases accounted for 60% of the 127 ISDS cases already brought against EU countries under bilateral trade agreements in the last two decades, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.[99] According to Joseph E. Stiglitz, TTIP could have a “chilling” effect on regulation and thus “undercut urgently needed action on climate that the Paris agreement requires”. He says that industries that do not pay for the “social costs” of pollution in effect receive hidden subsidies, and that TTIP would give companies many more opportunities to sue governments over environmental protection mechanisms.[100]

Banking regulation[edit]

According to critics, TTIP could weaken the stricter bank regulations that are governing banks in the United States as part of the financial reforms that followed the financial crisis of 2007–08.[20][101]

Privacy[edit]

Critics of TTIP argue that its proposals on intellectual property could have a similar effect as the EU-rejected Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).[101] The Electronic Frontier Foundation and its German counterpart, FFII, in particular, compared TTIP to the ACTA.[102]

Activism against TTIP[edit]

“Stop TTIP” campaigners hand 3,284,289 signatures to Martin Schulz,President of the European Parliament, November 2015.

Anti-TTIP graffiti in Malmö, Sweden, depicting Trojan Horse as a metaphorfor TTIP

In March 2013, a coalition of digital rights organisations and other groups issued a declaration[103] in which they called on the negotiating partners to have TTIP “debated in the US Congress, the European Parliament, national parliaments, and other transparent forums” instead of conducting “closed negotiations that give privileged access to corporate insiders”, and to leave intellectual property out of the agreement.

In 2014, an online consultation conducted by the European Commission[104] received 150,000 responses. According to the commission, 97% of the responses were pre-defined, negative answers provided by activists.[105][106] Additionally, hundreds of demonstrations and protests have taken place in an organised “day of action” on October 11, 2014,[107][108][109] and again on April 18, 2015.[110][111][112] In February 2016, Greenpeace activists blocked secret talks on the Investment Court System.[113]

A self-organised European Citizens’ Initiative against TTIP and CETA has also been established, acquiring over 3.2 million signatures within a year.[22][23]

In April 2016, Barack Obama visited UK, and more than 130,000 people signed a petition organised by political activism group 38 Degrees, urging Obama to stop negotiating TTIP.[114] The group planned to send an open letter to Obama to urge Obama to oppose the pact, saying that TTIP would be a threat toNHS, food standards, animal welfare and democracy because it ‘gives corporations more power than people’.[114]

TTIP Leaks[edit]

In 2016, Greenpeace published 248 pages of classified documents from the TTIP trade negotiations.[115] Greenpeace Netherlands claims to have released the documents “to provide much needed transparency and trigger an informed debate on the treaty“.[116]

National objections[edit]

From both the European and American sides of the agreement, there are issues which are seen as essential if an accord is to be reached. According to Leif Johan Eliasson of Saarland University, “For the EU these include greater access to the American public procurement market, retained bans on imports of genetically modified organisms (GMO) crops and hormone treated beef, and recognition of geographic trademarks on food products. For the United States they include greater access for American dairy and other agricultural products (including scientific studies as the only accepted criteria for SPS policies).” He observes that measures like the EU ban on hormone treated beef (based as they are on the precautionary principle) are not considered by the WTO to be based on scientific studies.

Eliasson further states that US objectives in a deal include “tariff-free motor vehicle exports,” and retained bans on foreign contractors in several areas,” including domestic shipping (see Merchant Marine Act of 1920).[117] Already, some American producers are concerned by EU proposals to restrict use of “particular designations” (also known as PDO or GI/geographical indications) that the EU considers location-specific, such as Feta and Parmesan cheeses and possibly Budweiserbeer.[118][119] This has provoked debate between European politicians such as Renate Künast andChristian Schmidt over the value of the designations.[120]

At French insistence, trade in audio-visual services was excluded from the EU negotiating mandate.[121] The European side has been pressing for the agreement to include a chapter on the regulation of financial services; but this is being resisted by the American side, which has recently passed the Dodd–Frank Act in this field.[122] US Ambassador to the European Union Anthony L. Gardner has denied any linkage between the two issues.[123]

European negotiators are also pressing the United States to loosen its restrictions on the export of crude oil and natural gas, to help the EU reduce its dependence on energy from Russia.[124]

Response to criticism[edit]

Karel De Gucht responded to criticism in a Guardian article in December 2013,[125] saying “The commission has regularly consulted a broad range of civil society organisations in writing and in person, and our most recent meeting had 350 participants from trade unions, NGOs and business” and that “no agreement will become law before it is thoroughly examined and signed off by the European parliament and 29 democratically elected national governments – the US government and 28 in the EU’s council”[126] However, the Corporate Europe Observatory (cited in the originalGuardian article) had pointed out, based on a Freedom of Information request, that “more than 93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the negotiations were with big business”. They characterized the industry meetings as “about the EU’s preparations of the trade talks”, and the civil society consultation as “an information session after the talks were launched”.[127]

Effect on third-party countries[edit]

A possible future Transatlantic Free Trade Area:
the United States and European Union in dark blue and the other possible members in light blue (NAFTA andEFTA)

Looking beyond TTIP, a wider ‘transatlantic free trade area’ has been postulated.[by whom?][citation needed] This might include, on the American side, the other members of North American Free Trade Area (Canada and Mexico); and on the European side, the members of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). Mexico already has a free trade agreement with EFTA and the EU while Canada has one with EFTA and has negotiated one with the EU. These agreements may need to be harmonized with the EU-US agreement and could potentially form a wider free trade area.

In early 2013, Canadian media observers had speculated that the launch of TTIP talks put pressure on Canada to secure ratification of its own three-year-long FTA negotiations with the EU by the close of 2013.[128] Countries with customs agreements with the EU, like Turkey’s, could face the prospect of opening their markets to American goods, without access for their own goods without a separate agreement with the United States.[129]

Reports[edit]

Various groups have produced reports about the proposed agreement, including:

  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Ambitious but Achievable – A Stakeholder Survey and Three Scenarios (April 2013) ISBN 978-1-61977-032-4[130]
  • TTIP and the Fifty States: Jobs and Growth from Coast to Coast (September 2013) ISBN 978-1-61977-038-6[131]
  • The Transatlantic Colossus: Global Contributions to Broaden the Debate on the EU-US Free Trade Agreement (December 2013) ISBN 978-3-00-044648-1[132]
  • The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: A Charter for Deregulation, An Attack on Jobs, An End to Democracy (February 2014)[133]

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_in_Services_Agreement#Controversy

Controversy[edit]

The agreement has been criticized for the secrecy around the negotiation. The cover page of the negotiating document leaked by Wikileaks says: “Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, five years from the close of the negotiations.”[2] Because of this practice it is not possible to be informed about the liberalizing rules that the participating countries propose for the future agreement. Only Switzerland has a practice of making public on the Internet all the proposals it submitted to the other parties since June 2012.[4]European Union published its “offer” for TISA only in July 2014,[12] after the Wikileaks disclosure.

Digital rights advocates have also brought attention to the fact that the agreement has provisions which would significantly weaken existing data protection provisions in signatory countries. In particular, the agreement would strip existing protections which aim to keep confidential or personally identifiable data within country borders or which prohibit its movement to other countries which do not have similar data protection laws in place.[13]

Ban on government mandates to access software source code[edit]

The agreement bans government mandates for requiring access to software source code, stating “No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory.”[14] This may change preferences for open source software such as the word processing applicationLibreOffice which has been deployed by many local governments throughout the EU.[15][16][17][18]

Criticism[edit]

A preliminary analysis of the Financial Services Annex by prominent free trade critic Professor Jane Kelsey, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, New Zealand was published with the WikiLeaks release.[19]

The Public Services International (PSI) organization described TISA as:

a treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services. The “disciplines,” or treaty rules, would provide all foreign providers access to domestic markets at “no less favorable” conditions as domestic suppliers and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate, purchase and provide services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.[20]

One concern is the provisions regarding retention of business records. David Cay Johnston said, “It is … hard to make the case that the cost of keeping a duplicate record at the home office in a different country is a burden.” He noted that business records requirements are sufficiently important that they were codified in law even before the Code of Hammurabi.[21]

Impacts of the law may include “whether people can get loans or buy insurance and at what prices as well as what jobs may be available.”[21]

Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney, said:

“Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services … They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”[22]

Regarding the secrecy of the draft, Professor Kelsey commented: “The secrecy of negotiating documents exceeds even the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and runs counter to moves in the WTO towards greater openness.”[19] Johnston adds, “It is impossible to obey a law or know how it affects you when the law is secret.”[21]

 

 

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