CHOICE membership

The Secret Court That Lets Big Companies Bully Poor Countries

@Consumer-Campaigner’s might find this recent Buzzfeed news video expressing concerns with the TPP of interest. You can also read more about the full investigation.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Pity help us if we sign up to the TPP. The cigarette companies will have a field day against our plain packaging laws, just for starters. I’ve heard it claimed, and I tend to agree, that these Trade Deals, which are much touted as opening up markets overseas to our manufacturers, are really more of a glorified import agreement, which then creates more of a problem with our balance of payments.

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The TPP as a whole is designed to allow or rather free up trade between countries… there is one section that deals with laws which is the big sticking point where overseas companies can challenge laws so that they can abuse/rort the system… Australia is already being sued over plain packaging of cigarettes by the Tobacco Companies by virtue of the TPP with Singapore… I just wonder how many of those who actually designed/made the TPP realised what could/has happened because they keep leaving the thing in or is it because when they retire they will be getting a big payout for allowing it to be there.

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The TPP will destroy my small, family-based manufacturing business. I have written to many politicians, including Andrew Robb, who was the Trade Minister negotiating the secret details of the TPP. The generic answer from all of them can be summed up like this: “There are so many opportunities for your business to grow” and “I should move my manufacturing plant to China” and, in answer to our government, environmental protections and laws being sued by multinational corporations: “???” - nothing yet, it seems their heads are firmly entrenched in the sand.

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The TPP is a disaster waiting to happen and we will not benefit from it. Independent and government enquiries have discovered that we do not profit from International Trade Agreements and tend to give away more than we gain. Since most of the TPP is written to protect multinationals from the laws of whichever country in which they want to operate, so that they can disregard consumer laws, environmental laws, health and safety laws, and take the government of a country to their court, a secret tribunal, where the judges are lawyers who act for the multinationals, and from who’s decision there is no avenue of appeal, its rather one sided. Canada has lost 35 cases to this secret tribunal in their agreement with the US. The US, who was on the winning side of those 35 cases, now has one against its own government brought by a Canadian multinational and is squealing like a stuck pig about it, crying about how abominable it could be if, say, a Vietnamese company decided to sue the US government, which is why many in Congress and the Senate now oppose the TPP.
Agreeing to the TPP would see our food labelling laws avoided so we would have no idea if our food contained GM crops, the level of pesticides in the food, and whether the fish fingers we were eating actually came from fish. Chinese honey is understood NOT to contain honey and we have an FTA with that country! If we object to Multinational corporations ignoring our Australian laws, it would be in restraint of trade and the country can be sued. Monsanto would have the power to use bee-killing pesticides on crops and we could not stop the spraying or force them to use another product. Bio companies can force our farmers to only sow GM crops, never mind that South Australian agriculture is GM-free through legislation. Anyone who thinks these multinational food companies are benevolent needs to read up on what Nestle is doing to the State of California while the state is in drought, stealing the little water the population have in their personal and town wells and bores by drilling their own bores and draining the aquifers, then selling it back to Californians in bottles under a permit system that is long expired and should prevent this behaviour.
The killer is the legal provisions that will force us to accept inferior products because to refuse them is restraint of trade when they fail our health and safety laws, the huge increase that big Pharma wants to extort from us to maximise their profits and so they can rid themselves of our PBS and medicinal safety net, the tightening of intellectual property laws so that copyright and patent protection is extended beyond the time now provided under our intellectual property laws. Very few of our politicians have read the agreement, its very long and convoluted and still in the process of being written, which makes having accepted it a not particularly smart thing for Robb to have done, and and an even less smart thing for any politician to say its good for us, which both major parties claim. When you have the top legal experts, internationally renowned economists from around the world and Nobel Prize winners stating publicly that the TPP is not good for us because they have read it and analyzed it, you know that we are on a hiding to nothing if our pollies follow the party lines and vote for it. We have heard nothing about it simply because there is so much world-wide opposition to it, and few independent academics around the world agree with it.The government would rather sneak it through quietly because they will be out of office when the brown stuff hits the fan and we give up national sovereignty to international big business corporations. Oh, did I mention that the US can also pass legislation that would be binding on us to force us to accept what they decide? Would our government and Opposition really allow that provision to remain, if removing it killed the TPP off? They seem happy enough with the agreement as it stands if our pollies are to be believed.

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Just the fact that the TPP is negotiated in secret is the standout factor of it being only in the interest of multi nationals and not the residents and economies of a nation, big or small.

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The TPP wa modelled on the NATA, which America shoved down the throats of its next door neighbours - Canada & Mexico. The NATA was a very cynical and self-centred exercise, and resulted in Mexican corn farmers being virtually bankrupted within 3 years of its introduction, while Canadian businesses were horrified by how far it move the goal posts - against Canada and in favour of America.

Any politician or diplomat in the Pacific Basin (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) who allows their country to be signed up for any such deal is a nutcase and utterly irresponsible and incompetent. Treaties like this simply destroy the nation’s sovereignty and transfer it elsewhere. In this context, to America.

To be honest, I am scandalised by the fact America has been trying to treat its nearest neighbours and its allies & trading partners in this fashion. It is totally self-absorbed, and an international disgrace.

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