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TPP – Transpacific Partnership | Transition Ottawa
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TPP

TransPacific Partnership

A dirty, secret trade deal that benefits the wealthy few

This page offers information about the TPP trade deal which is being quietly ratified without public knowledge. The deal is yet another transfer of power to large corporations, increasing their profit by removing tariffs (which are national tax revenue), increasing ability to outsource, off-shore their profits to avoid paying tax, bring in immigrant workers, and sue governments for standing in their way. All in all, a massive transfer of public revenue to already wealthy international corporations.

Sad News

March 3, 2018, Canada and 10 TPP countries (not including USA) signed the agreement, which had been released for public viewing February 21st, giving the public a grand total of 10 days to respond. Since 99% of public response was troubled by the agreement and this was made clear to our government, it is now clear who is running the show. Watch the rich get richer through lower taxes and off-shore loop holes, watch ISDS lawsuits undermine environmental protection, and watch Vietnam become the new China.

This site will remain useful for the public to understand what has been signed to, and to see local issues (such as corporate suing of local government protecting land or labour) as the global trade agreement issue it actually is.

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A Canadian resource site for understanding the TransPacific Partnership

The official government of Canada website nicely depicts the corporate benefits of the TPP. This website summarizes information showing the public cost of TPP, and the loss of sovereignty and social equality that will affect Canadians if TPP is ratified.

Its increasingly apparent that TPP is not so much about reducing tariffs, but reducing non-tariff regulation like environmental, food and safety standards that they feel stand in the way of their profit. NAFTA proves how environments can be trashed when all life is made subservient to profit.

The Canadian government is currently asking what we think about TPP. Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2016. Send your thoughts here.

Latest news:

November 10, 2017 Trudeau says the deal isn’t good for Canadians, didn’t sign, and despite chagrin of corporations in some other nations, says more time is needed negotiating. Thank you Justin Trudeau. Amidst blatant secrecy, this wasn’t reported by major news outlets, but reported here and in the Epoch Times.

October 30, 2017 Federal Trade Minister François-Phillipe Champagne is flying out to Tokyo today for secret talks about the deal with the remaining 11 TPP countries. Negotiations are underway and participating countries plan to finalize a deal by the end of the year. Worse still, the Trudeau government is aggressively pursuing every trade deal it can, free from any public scrutiny.

99% of letters to Global Affairs Canada reject the TPP

The government says it wants to hear from the public about the TPP deal and is asking you to submit your comments. As the Council of Canadians’ found out through an access to information request, 99 per cent of those who have already written to Global Affairs Canada, including thousands of Council of Canadians supporters like you, told the government that they don’t want the TPP. Link

Stay informed! Support the Council of Canadians – Canada’s watchdogs. Sign up for their newsletter here

What is the TransPacific Partnership? (TPP)

Ralph Nader told Chris Hedges that TPP “…is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history. It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.”

Few have waded through the 5,544-page page document. It has been written by businessmen representing 12 countries in the Pacific Rim. The countries are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam. Together they account for about 40% of current global economic output and a third of world trade.

However, Canada already has trade agreements with most of these countries, our biggest trade being with USA (NAFTA), the remaining countries making up only 3% of Canadian exports – or $5-8 billion. Simply put, Canada stands to gain little and lose much. Ref.  Read on Wiki Ref  Read the TPP text here.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of International Trade, have asked that Canadians review this document and state their opinions. To make this easier, this website draws together information from sources here and abroad, and states aims & concerns on some key issues. If you don’t choose TPP for your future, please respond right away by writing your MP sign petitions listed on the action pages, and spread the word.

Under TPP, our environment, our democracy and our future are at stake.

Please watch the videos, read the pages, follow the links, make your decision, write to Your PM and relevant MPs, and to
TPP-PTP.consultations@international.gc.ca

What might be wrong with this picture?

We’ve all seen the job-loss, wage stagnation and outsourcing other trade agreements have created, and seen our markets swamped with cheap foreign goods. There is no sense that TPP will be any different for the layperson. Canada will be forced to import more foreign dairy, some of which could contain bovine growth hormone and heavy metals. The cars we manufacture will be forced to contain more foreign parts. Canadian workers will be competing with Vietnamese 65 cents/hr wages; there’ll be more job outsourcing. Other issues are addressed in this site.

Why am I only hearing about TPP now?

Although negotiations have taken place for 8 years, the content of the TPP has been carefully kept from the public. The few readers allowed to read it were allowed no recording devises and were banned from speaking about. For years, all the public knew was from Wikileaks. Final disclosure last November proved wiki’s leaks correct. Mr. Harper signed on behalf of Canada, on October 5th 2015, yet contents of the agreement were withheld from the public until November 7, 2015 – after the election. Ref  Now signed, the agreement cannot be changed. It is a yes or no vote. Please read this information carefully. If ratified, the loss of democracy and resulting financial situation could be permanent.

The TPP should be either scrapped, or entirely re-written in a way that is agreeable to all humanity. Corporate lobbyists and MPs who try to undemocratically ram this agreement through using stealth, lies, and spin should be aware of future criminal charges for treason.

For the corporations to get their tariff reductions, the 12 TPP countries must adopt a 5,544 page agreement that, if ratified, will have far reaching implications such as internet control here and longer pharmaceutical patents that will increase health care costs. Inter-state dispute lawsuits, already a burden under NAFTA, could rapidly increase. More hereCorporations gain; governments (public) pay.

Global Concerns

Naomi Klein: TPP would make it significantly harder to prevent catastrophic climate change

Existing trade deals and World Trade Organization rules are already being used to block subsidies for renewable energy and other supports for the clean energy sector. And the expansion of such agreements has gone hand in hand with the accelerating rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

In short, this corporate free trade model that the TPP represents isn’t only destabilizing our economies—it’s also a key reason why our governments have failed to come to grips with the climate crisis.

Read the rest of Naomi’s lucid article here 

The TPP advertises to be “a high-standard, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced agreement that will promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness; raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries; and promote transparency, good governance, and enhanced labor and environmental protections.REF Is it really? Previous trade agreements have been FAR from what they promised. How do their claims measure up?

Stated goal: To promote economic growth; support the creation and retention of jobs; enhance innovation, productivity and competitiveness;

Concerns: Previous trade agreements have resulted in higher unemployment due to job outsourcing and lower standards of living.

 

 

TPP revealed: Winners and losers in the largest free trade deal. The already wealthy win … and …

Stated goal: Reduces tariffs

Concerns: Canada saves on certain export tariffs, but loses the funding import tariffs generate, meaning there is little net gain in each country. However, governments lose tariff revenue, and corporations gain by not paying it. (a net transfer from governments to corporations).

 

Stated goal: to raise living standards; reduce poverty in our countries;

Concerns: TPP protects the interests of the most profitable multi-national corporations –Wall Street, Media, and Pharmaceuticals – at the expense of workers, consumers, and the environment.

Stated goal: to promote transparency,

Concerns: Until November 2015, TPP was so secret that the few allowed readers were denied all digital and recording instruments when they entered the high security room to read it. Why the secrecy?

 

Stated goal: Increasing foreign trade

Concern: Canada already has free trade agreements with Peru, Chile, U.S. and Mexico, Aside from Japan, the other countries offer low tariffs and only make up 3% of exports, 5% of imports, for an annual trade deficit of 5-8 billion. One study estimated the TPP would add a mere 0.1% of GDP by 2035 to Canada’s economy. REF 

Stated goal: to promote good governance

Concerns: TPP rules have been made in the absence of public oversight, in the absence of democratic process, by unelected corporate leaders who’s only interest is their own profit.

Stated goal: increased trading between these 12 countries. Canada is excited to be shipping more beef to Japan.

Concerns: To meet new environmental standards, we must reduce shipping, (uses dirty bunker fuel), air freight and trucking (air pollution, road wear and tear). How many countries Home grown food is fresher, our food safety standards may be are higher, and we are relatively free from pollution like Fukushima fall-out and heavy metal contamination from industry.

In the news:

“Much of the business case focuses on concerns that failing to join the TPP will leave Canada out of a major trading block. Yet the reality is that Canada already has free trade agreements with nearly half of the TPP countries, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Peru, and South Korea. Moreover, Canada has engaged in free trade agreement negotiations with Japan and Singapore.

Free trade agreements with the likes of Brunei and Malaysia might provide some modest benefits to Canadian businesses, but Canadian trade interests are already well-covered within the much of the TPP community. Indeed, the costs of the TPP are a steep price to pay given the incremental gains that come from free trade access to a handful of additional countries.

 

Hillary Clinton just crapped all over the Stephen Harper TPP Trade Scheme, which Justin Trudeau also supported. Trudeau has been added to the mantra ‘Stop Harper’, “Stop Harper Trudeau and the Banks”, vote NDP.

The political fallout of Hillary Clinton dumping on the TPP will surely derail the scheme. Details of Clintons remarks will cause disaster for Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau. Here comes the Crush, just watch. Ref

 

The TPP cheerleading from business groups is somewhat puzzling given that the full text of the deal remains shrouded in secrecy. In other words, business groups are advocating for a deal they haven’t actually read or seen. Ref

Grave Concerns

Stated goal: enhanced environmental protections. REF

Very grave concerns:

  • investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) allow corporations to sue any level of government that interferes with their perceived profit, such as protecting water which they want to bottle, phasing out fossil fuels to meet climate targets, regulating products that are harmful to health or the environment. This would happen even if the Supreme Court of Canad rules against them. For example, Ontario MicroFIT was sued by Japan for requiring some domestic content. A current lawsuit 700 million oil tycoon for Ontario favouring windmill energy power.
  • Innovation towards sustainability from the Paris talks can all be thwarted by ISDS, helping spiral our global ecosphere into increasing pollution, deforestation, ocean dead zones, overfishing and climate change. Under TPP governments will be sued if every time they try to protect environments when corporate profit will be lessened.
  • “The agreement is the product of six years of work by global capitalists from banks, insurance companies, Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and other corporations. “It was written by them, it is for them and it will serve them,” Zeese said of the TPP.”
  • REF Chris Hedges

Full Text of TPP Trade Deal Revealed — and Critics Say It’s Even Worse Than They Thought.

Your worst fears about the TPP are true

  1. Unlike NAFTA which has a 6 month notice get out clause, there is no end date, giving the impression that once signed, TPP is forever
  2. We are handing swaths of governmental oversight to un-elected corporations with a bad track record for care
  3. Katz, an associate law professor, warned that TPP locks Canada into a deal that cannot be modified even if issues surface with time.
  4. Fast-tracking a far-reaching international agreement like this is unethical, and could cost our very existence on this planet.
  5. Once a service is privatized (e.g. healthcare) no future government can undo this.
  6. Government funds cannot be used to increase local economic growth or safeguard investment in Canadian economies.
  7. The agreement, in essence, becomes global law. Any agreements over carbon emissions by countries made through the United Nations are effectively rendered null and void by the TPP. Chris Hedges
  1. It would be great to re-negotiate, to give powers to over-ride interstor-state dispute settlements for environmental and health reasons, but it appears that because Harper signed the TPP agreement, and that’s it – negotiations are over, before we even knew about them.

According to opponents of the TPP, Harper kept it quiet because he feared it would be controversial among Canadians since everything from the rules surrounding Internet downloads, to how our groceries are produced, to when we can copy textbooks legally, will be affected. Trade Minister Ed Fast kept secret the results of a public consultation on the TPP, saying only that the talks had “broad support.” but tech law expert Michael Geist said documents he obtained under the Access to Information Act showed “the government was overwhelmed with negative comments urging officials to resist entry into the TPP” particularly with respect to copyright law. REF

TPP leaks show Canada Post and CBC up for trade

State-owned enterprises in the TPP could be severely restricted and subject to rules that force them to give up their public service mandates in order to become purely profit-driven organizations. They would also be prohibited from buying services exclusively from local or national sources. More here

ISDS challenge all levels of government, picking up millions of dollars in payouts using taxpayer money, settled not in Canadian courts but in an international panel of arbitrators using lawyers representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next (i.e. wolf guarding the chicken coop). The process cannot be challenged by Canada.

The U.S. is seeking a tough, far-reaching agreement favouring U.S. commercial interests that China, Japan and other trading rivals will have little choice but to join. China, however, appears to view the TPP as little more than an American plot.

Canada already has free trade deals with four of the current TPP members (the U.S., Chile, Peru and Mexico). As economist Jim Stanford has noted, the other six (Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Vietnam) combined account for less than one per cent of Canada’s exports. The United Steelworkers points out that, “any conceivable increase in exports to these markets would be almost insignificant in terms of total Canadian output and employment.”

While claiming that it made no substantive concessions to get in, the Harper government almost certainly signalled its flexibility on key stumbling blocks such as agricultural supply management and intellectual property rights protection.  Ref

Sight unseen, the government of Canada has agreed to accept any negotiating text on which the nine current members have already reached consensus. According to the USTR, this includes all agreed (“unbracketed”) text within chapters that are still open, not just completed chapters. To date, only one chapter has been completed.

It is almost unbelievable that Canada accepted this condition. The 12 rounds of TPP negotiations have been wrapped in unusually tight secrecy, though draft versions of two chapters (investment and intellectual property) have been leaked.

Free hand for lobbyists

What’s more, the Canadian government apparently accepted a further condition that it will not reopen any text that is agreed upon during the period before it gains full negotiating status. Canada and Mexico will not be able to formally join the negotiations until after other TPP countries complete their domestic consultations on the new partners’ entry. The USTR will soon notify the U.S. Congress of Canada’s impending entry, which will trigger a 90-day consultation process. Ref

Trans-Pacific Partnership: Written by and for the rich to further enrich themselves at our expense,  Feb 11, 2016 Link

Canada bullied into complying with U.S. demands in TPP -Feb 2, 2016  Link

TPP is “the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries Link

Mass mobilization to stop the TPP announced as text is released – Link

Canadians Need to Know the Truth About the TPP Link

TPP is about many things, but free trade? Not so much” Globe and Mail, Nov 9 Link

The Council of Canadians opposes this deal because it includes an investor-state dispute settlement provision that allows transnational corporations to sue governments over legislation or policies made in the public interest Link 

The Star, January 11, 2016, writes: “Don’t let the TPP trade deal hamper climate progress”  Ref  There’s a costly contradiction between Canada’s climate change agenda and our continued acceptance of free-trade provisions that make us vulnerable to lawsuits from foreign fossil fuel companies

Canadians Need to Know the Truth About the TPP Link

TPP is about many things, but free trade? Not so much. -Globe and Mail, Nov 9 Link

Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz heaps scorn on TPP and TTIP. “TTIP and TPP are about increasing the power of US corporations by stripping away member nations’ regulations and privatizing their judicial systems.” Link

From Truthdig: The Trans-Pacific Trade Scam:  Obama denies that the TPP would undermine America’s very sovereignty. Perhaps he was misinformed. Perhaps he hasn’t actually read the deal he’s pushing. Or — dare we say it? — perhaps he’s lying. Link

Secrecy

The TPP was so secret that the few allowed to access to the document had to first give over all recording devices before reading it, and were not allowed to divulge its contents afterwards.

 

From the Globe and Mail:

Canadians are ill-prepared to weigh the merits of the TPP because the Conservative government has done a poor job of explaining the stakes. Instead, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Trade Minister Ed Fast have served up mainly empty rhetoric and bland verbal porridge on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“Mr. Fast has talked a lot about the deal, but has revealed almost nothing about what’s really on the table. He has repeatedly insisted his lack of openness is a tactical move to enhance Canada’s negotiating power.

“It isn’t only the public that’s been kept in the dark. The opposition NDP and Liberal parties insist they were not briefed, even in confidence, during the negotiations.” Ref

Leader Thomas Mulcair now says that if elected, an NDP government would not be bound by whatever trade pact Mr. Harper agrees to.

Contrast the Canadian position to that of the United States, where the TPP has been widely discussed and debated in committees and on the floor of Congress.

Contrast the Canadian position to that of the United States, where the TPP has been widely discussed and debated in committees and on the floor of Congress. Ref

TPP Will Cost Canada 58,000 Jobs, Won’t Grow Economy

if the economic argument for the deal was weak before, a new study from researchers at the UN and Tufts University may have finally laid the case to rest. Their analysis shows that Canada can expect a mere 0.28% increase to GDP growth—effectively zero change—over the next ten years if the TPP is implemented. Ref

Canada’s leading TPP watchdog demands “full public consultation” Link

‘Worse Than We Thought’: TPP A Total Corporate Power Grab Nightmare

Obama views Canada’s support for TPP as a done deal Link

Bernie Sanders: Stop another trade disaster – Link

Flush the TPP – TPP will entrench corporate power in every area of our lives –  Link

Stop TPP’s copyright trap – Link

“The Harper government has signed a deal that will lay off thousands of auto workers and put thousands of dairy farmers in jeopardy while giving even more foreign corporations the right to dictate Canadian policy. Stephen Harper has no right and no mandate to sign a deal that we are just learning about during a federal election. Link

How to create TPP-free zones – many have been set up in the US. Link “Organizing a TPP/TTIP-Free Zone is a great way to raise awareness of the ways that these secret rigged corporate deals will directly impact our communities.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership is a wonderful idea – for China.Worryingly to those of us who believe that entrepreneurship is crucial for economic growth, the TPP is failing on its declared goals.  Link

Countries Sign The TPP… Whatever Happened To The ‘Debate’ We Were Promised Before Signing? Link

The Tyee:  Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians Ref

Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz heaps scorn on TPP and TTIP. “TTIP and TPP are about increasing the power of US corporations by stripping away member nations’ regulations and privatizing their judicial systems.” Link

Other sites exposing and attempting to prevent TTP ratification:

USA: 350.org,   stoptpp.org,  Expose the TPP,   OpenMedia,  Stop the Trap,    stopthetpp.org

From Truthdig: The Trans-Pacific Trade Scam:  Obama denies that the TPP would undermine America’s very sovereignty. Perhaps he was misinformed. Perhaps he hasn’t actually read the deal he’s pushing. Or — dare we say it? — perhaps he’s lying. Link

The Tyee:  Seven Ways TPP Favours Mega-rich Foreign Investors, Not Canadians Ref

New Zealand’s response: We are waking up. The fog is lifting. We are sweeping away the lies and secrecy. Link

USA response: Expose the TPP Link

How to stop TPP Link

Now we realize what these trade agreements cost us, we should not sign any more, (such as CETA and TiSA) and we should revoke those that we can get out of (such as NAFTA – out in 6 months.)

USA – Stop the fast track – Link

Stop the TPP If the TPP goes into effect:
• More U.S. Jobs will be sent offshore
• Foreign Corporations get veto power over U.S. laws
• Buy American laws would be illegal- Link

Other sites exposing and attempting to prevent TTP ratification: 350.org,   stoptpp.org,  Expose the TPP,   OpenMedia,  Stop the Trap,    stopthetpp.org

Who’s for the TPP?

Obama, USA Republicans, Corporations, Harper, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives describes itself as a 150 member companies employing 1.4 million workers, accounting for more than half the value of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and is “responsible for most of Canada’s exports.”

On October 21st The Canadian Council of Chief Executives wrote to Justin Trudeau congratulating him on his win, saying “the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement holds tremendous potential for Canada’s trade in the Asia Pacific region. It is unclear at this point whether the TPP will win approval from the U.S. Congress, but if the agreement is implemented Canada cannot afford to be left out.”

Who’s against the TPP?

Politicians: Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Elizabeth Warren, Ralph Nader, Elizabeth May, Tom Mulcair,

Thinkers and writers: Maude Barlow, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein

Organizations: 350.org, Council of Canadians, sumofus.org, Doctors without borders

Canadian citizens: environmentalists, unions, dairy farmers, many Canadian auto factory workers, consumers, Internet users especially kids who download,  and patients who will have to pay more for pharmaceuticals.

Who’s Affected? Do the math!

Canadian dairy farmers

Canadian dairy farmers are some of the most impacted Canadian workers. Canada has been forced to open up 3.25% of it’s dairy market and 2% of the egg and poultry market. The Harper government offered 4.3 billion to compensate – admitting the extent of losses Canadians will be facing.This is a loss to consumers since TPP would allow milk with bovine growth hormone into Canada – US milk may be mixed with Canadian milk. Further, this is 4.3 billion of tax payers money that isn’t going into health, education or public transport but going to prop up an agricultural economy that was working perfectly well before. The newly elected Liberal government is not bound to follow through with the 4.3 billion the Harper government promised.

Rather unfairly, the trade deal would not offer Canadian dairy products any new international markets. So, more imports would mean a smaller Canadian industry. This does not dismantle the supply management system, but shrinks it.

American negotiators favour a “tonne for tonne” approach: each tonne given up to new imports would require a tonne of exports to somewhere else; in this case, Canada. Since U.S. industry is about 10 times the size of Canada’s, a tonne there is less significant to the overall U.S. picture than a tonne in Canada. “To me, that’s not a level playing field,” Leduc says. Ref

Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, writes: “Only time will tell if the TPP benefits outweigh the losses. Free-trade deals are excessively praised and criticized. Their virtues are never quite as great as advocates insist; their liabilities are never as evident as detractors claim. So it will be with the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On balance, the TPP will benefit the 12 countries signing on, including Canada, because the economics of free trade are such that over time aggregate benefits outweigh losses. Over time, however, can mean decades.” Ref

Summary: it make take years to know if Canada benefit financially by the TPP. However, we are sure about our losses in dispute settlements, because they are already rolling out under NAFTA and can only increase with Canada’s doors open to more countries that can sue. We are also sure of the costs of having to revamp our internet rules, the loss to Canada’s citizens of Internet freedom, and pharmaceutical cost increases due to the extended patent rules.

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Reported in the CBC: “Jacques Daoust is among those eastern-province ministers in Atlanta pushing against any relaxation of dairy protections. “I don’t know too many jurisdictions in the world that don’t assist their agriculture sector — because the first responsibility of a government is to feed its population,” Daoust said in an interview. “To say, ‘No, we’re feeding our people from another jurisdiction’ — that would be a little surprising.” Ref

Trans-Pacific Partnership hides significant health costs, according to two new studies

February 2, 2016 – ordinal article here

OTTAWA – As Canada signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in New Zealand this week, two new studies from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) reveal significant risks and high public costs to the Canadian health care system within the text of the agreement.

The TPP would require Canada to extend patent terms to compensate brand-name pharmaceutical firms for regulatory delays in approving drugs. This policy change could add $636 million annually to the cost of drugs in Canada, according to Joel Lexchin in his study, Involuntary Medication: The Possible Effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the Cost and Regulation of Medicine in Canada.

“Higher drug costs would make pharmacare more costly, and lawsuits from adversely affected drug companies are more likely under TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism,” says Lexchin, a professor in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University.

The second study, Major Complications: The TPP and Canadian Health Care, by CCPA trade expert Scott Sinclair, finds that the TPP investor protections would make it more difficult and costly for Canadian governments to establish new public health programs, including pharmacare, which is on the agenda of ongoing federal-provincial health talks.

Key findings from both studies include:

  • The TPP includes many new rights for U.S. and Japanese drug companies to comment on, review and appeal Canadian regulatory decisions, which could adversely affect drug approvals and safety.
  • Faster regulatory approvals of medicines, which might result from the TPP, have been shown to lead to a higher incidence of safety problems, including warnings and withdrawals.
  • The TPP’s carve-out for tobacco control measures will not provide meaningful protection for future Canadian plain-packaging rules, since U.S.-based tobacco companies will continue to have access to NAFTA’s investor-state protections.
  • Other forms of public health regulation, from controls on trans-fats to regulating legalized marijuana, are fully exposed to lawsuits from disgruntled foreign investors. The TPP expands these rights to cover investors from Japan, Malaysia, Australia and other countries.
  • The TPP financial services chapter actually makes it easier for foreign insurers to challenge the expansion of public health insurance into new areas by allowing investor-state disputes involving a much-abused “minimum standards of treatment” rule.

“While a strong and balanced international trade regime is critical to Canada’s economic success it should not, and need not, come at the expense of our public health system,” says Sinclair.

These two reports are the first in a series of detailed analyses of various aspects of the TPP to be released by CCPA in the coming months as the debate over whether Canada should ratify the deal continues.

Involuntary Medication: The Possible Effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the Cost and Regulation of Medicine in Canada and Major Complications: The TPP and Canadian Health Care are available on the CCPA website: http://policyalternatives.ca

 

Temporary Foreign Workers

Canada will be forced to grant work permits to an unlimited number of temporary foreign workers (TFW) who are nationals of the other member countries under the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to the final text of the deal released today.

The Canadian government will also not be able to impose any tests or certification as conditions of granting entry to Canada to work for the temporary foreign workers.

Section 12-A. Canada Temporary Entry for Business Persons states:

Canada shall grant temporary entry and provide a work permit or work authorization to Professionals and Technicians and will not:
(a) require labour certification tests or other procedures of similar intent as a condition for temporary entry; or
(b) impose or maintain any numerical restriction relating to temporary entry.

The math

Temporary foreign workers provide corporations with cheaper, more disposable labour, increasing their profits.

TFWs can be beneficial for Canada when there are a surplus of jobs that need filling. When there is already unemployment and TFWs mean Canadians are left unemployed, there is an extra financial burden on Canada’s governments to provide funding to cover EI and social assistance for the unemployed Canadians.

If corporations are not made responsible for housing and social integration, this burden will also fall on the government.

The government will also be forced to issue work permits to spouses of the TFWs coming under the TPP.

Canada shall grant temporary entry and provide a work permit or work authorization to spouses of Professionals and Technicians of another Party where that Party has also made a commitment in its schedule for spouses of Professionals and Technicians, and will not:
(a) require labour certification tests or other procedures of similar intent as a condition for temporary entry; or
(b) impose or maintain any numerical restriction relating to temporary entry.

Ref

Outsourcing

Critics of the deal say the inclusion of countries such as Peru and Vietnam will see well-paying jobs exported to low-wage economies where workers have less protection from exploitation. Canadian officials countered that the deal includes strong and enforceable rules banning child labour and entrenching the rights of workers in member countries to unionize. Ref

The auto sector

The auto sector is expected to be one of the hardest hit by the TPP. Current NAFTA rules require that 62.5 per cent of auto parts come from North America. Under the TPP, autos manufactured in Canada must meet a new standard that 45% of the cost be based on parts made within the TPP. Canada called this a victory that would allow for more exports, but Unifor, the union representing Canada’s auto workers, condemned the deal as “outrageous” and warned that it will kill jobs.

It is expected that over time Canadian consumers will see lower prices for vehicles since if Japan ratifies, the current 6.1-per-cent tariff on Japanese passenger vehicles will be phased out over five years. While threatening Canadian jobs, the new lower content threshold for auto parts is expected to lower consumer costs. The elimination of a wide range of tariffs should lead to more choice and lower prices for consumer goods – if Canadians can sufficiently keep jobs at home to have disposable income to buy these goods.

Canada’s government and business elite are livid over a US-Japanese deal that would undermine Canada’s privileged access to the US market under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The dispute could have major implications for the fate of the TPP. Over the past two decades Mexico has emerged as a major producer for the North American auto market—it is now the world’s seventh largest car maker—and is determined to increase its share of the US auto market. Canada, meanwhile, fears the further erosion of its largest manufacturing industry.” … “The Canadian ruling elite has been rattled by the US’s indifference to its interests. ”  Ref

Having low income countries in trade agreements means inevitable outsourcing. Why pay Canadian wages when Vietnamese can be hired for 65 cents/hour?

The big problem with ISDS (Inter State Dispute Settlement) lawsuits is they effectively put corporate profit above national laws.

If corporate profit is affected by an environmental regulation, food standard or raise in minimum wage, they can sue – for hundreds of millions of dollars, or even billions of dollars. These court cases are held in special courts outside national law. There is no appeal. Canada has accrued 6 billion in lawsuits under NAFTA; TPP will open the door further. This is a direct transfer of public tax money to corporations. There is nothing in place to prevent corporations bankrupting a government. See the documentary below.

Stop Press: Germany has just ruled that ISDS lawsuits are illegal!

German TV documentary “Konzerne klagen – wir zahlen”

Published on 26 Nov 2015

German TV documentary on investor rights in trade agreements (investor-state dispute settlement, ISDS) – and what they mean for taxpayers, our democracy and the rule of law. With EN and ES subtitles.

 

Replies to letters from concerned citizens from the Canadian TPP government consultancy write, “TPP will not impair the ability of Canada or its partners to regulate and legislate in areas such as the environment, culture, safety, health and conservation. Our experience under the NAFTA demonstrates that neither our investment protection rules nor the ISDS mechanism constrain any level of government from regulating in the public interest.”  Are they that uninformed, or are they deliberately disingenuous?

The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism contained in NAFTA’s chapter 11 grants investors the right to sue foreign governments without first pursuing legal action in the country’s court systems, in order to protect foreign investors from discrimination. Drafters of the 1994 treaty included the provision to protect U.S. and Canadian investors against corruption in Mexican courts. Ref Under investor-state, if a regulation gets in the way of a foreign investor’s ability to profit from its investment, the investor can sue a country for monetary damages based on both alleged lost profits and “expected future profits.” There are no monetary limits to the potential award. Ref

SDS lawsuits would mean that when, for example, a bottled water company drains a lake dry, an attempt to protect the lake can result in multi-million dollar lawsuits for perceived loss of the bottling company’s profit. An increase in minimum wage can elicit a similar loss of profit lawsuit. TPP places a layer of government above national governments. It puts profit above human and environmental health.

By January of this year, Canada has lost or settled six claims paying a total of $170 million in damages, while Mexico has lost five cases and paid out $204 million. The U.S., meanwhile, has won 11 cases and has never lost a NAFTA investor-state case.

Pending lawsuits include:

3.5 billion sued by the private owner of the Detroit-windsor bridge, suing for not being treated equal to Canadian companies.

$ 700 million Oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens against Ontario for favouring windmills

$250 million NAFTA lawsuit by oil and gas company Lone Pine Resources against Canada over Quebec’s temporary ban on fracking  for oil and gas underneath the St. Lawrence River while researching impacts to people and water in the St. Lawrence region. Ref

$130 million awarded to Abitibi-Bowater for Newfoundland’s expropriation of land and water rights from a pulp mill that the company closed in 2008 Ref

a decision by a Canadian federal court to invalidate a pharmaceutical patent on the basis that it was not sufficiently innovative or useful; provisions to promote the rapid adoption of renewable energies;  the decision to block a controversial mega-quarry in Nova Scotia, an out-of-court settlement with Ethyl Corp. over a Canadian ban on import and sale of MMT, a chemical additive in gasoline; and a suit by Dow regarding Quebec government claims regarding the safety of the pesticide 2,4-D. Ref

 

Non-monetary effect of ISDS

In addition to the claims themselves, Canada has so far incurred $54 million dollars in legal costs defending against investor claims.

Naturally, the use of ISDS has chilled government policy-making. Governments are now even more reluctant to take any measures opposed by business. These can include raising the minimum wage and supporting more local trade as well as health and environmental supervision. Governments are forced to abandon common sense, health and safety to cow to corporation’s demands for increasing profit.

In addition to wealthy multi-national corporations saving paying tariffs, finding ways to avoid taxes through off-shore schemes, government funds pour into their pockets through these settlements. What can be expected when corporations secretly write the rules without government or public oversight?

Billions of Canadian public money, that could have been supporting health care, education and environmental repair, is being paid out in secret, without public oversight, in courts that by-pass national judicial law, courts comprised of three private-sector attorneys who take turns being judge and/or corporate advocate. Ref The wolf is guarding the chickens in these kangaroo courts.

Stuart Trew writes: “In total, Canada faces more than $5-billion worth of investor lawsuits under NAFTA. The FIPA with China, and a NAFTA-like investment chapter with Europe in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, will only balloon the number of cases we see against government policies, including environmental and public health measures.” Ref

Canada’s Options

  1. Thoroughly read the document, address the extensive concerns, here and abroad. Delay for a while.
    .
  2. Canada becomes a true world leader by drawing up a an alternative trade agreement that puts people and the environment front and center, rather than profit. How good do we want it? Some possible shifts in conceptual basis could include:
  • Economy is about providing for people needs (rather than profit and money)
  • People’s needs are sourced with the least labour, resources and energy, reducing human impact on increasingly fragile ecology.
  • Work hours needed to sustain a comfortable living standard for all are roughly divided by the number of working people. The more efficiently needs are provided, the more spare time people have.
  • Success is redefined as living gracefully, being able to follow interests and passions. The new focus could be on personal and collective growth (low carbon) rather than economic growth.

This trade agreement could create the foundation for a global shift into a truly sustainable lifestyle and world peace, gently increasing health, social equality and safety standards worldwide.

3. Meet with the TPP-country leaders Canada does not have trade agreements with. Can an agreement be set up bilaterally that would give offer both countries the trade advantages without the medical price hikes, internet control, threat of ISDS lawsuits, and without being locked in forever.

4. Ratify TPP, causing civil unrest at home, disillusionment with the new government that promised change then went with a Harper agenda, and deal with poverty down the line through outsourcing, health care increases, ISDS lawsuits, lower health and environment standards, increased social inequality (coming to be seen as a hall-mark of trade agreements) and see Canada diminish in well-being for the sake of increased profits for the already wealthy few.

The Global Picture

Currently countries are mainly focused on their own gains and losses. What do we see if we step back and look at the global future?

TPP + TTIP + TiSA = 70% of global economy, with the USA at the centre, setting the rules

TPP = US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.
TTIP = US, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and UK
TiSA = US, Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, and Turkey.

A main reason the USA is pushing for these trade agreements is concern about emerging BRICS nations forming a free trade agreement. Obama clearly states, “America should call the shots. Other countries should play by the rules that Americaand our partners set, and not the other way around.”

TPP and TTIP have only progressed through stealth and secrecy, both are already highly unpopular with citizens who know about their contents, felt to be the bold face of the New World Order. Forceful police and internal armies will be needed to prevent protest – expensive, undemocratic, tearing the fabric of all that has been built so far.

A further darkness is apparent too – the dividing of the world into US dominated, and ‘the others.’ Already there is economic cold war through sanctions and trade and currency manipulations. This could easily escalate into a Brave New 1984-esque World ….