Tag Archives: trade agreements

After Years of Backroom Secrecy, Public Will Finally Get to See Full TPP Text

Legislative clock starts ticking as Obama administration prepares to release text of pro-corporate trade deal

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-8-2015

Protesters have long decried the lack of transparency around TPP negotiations. (Photo: SumofUs/flickr/cc)

Protesters have long decried the lack of transparency around TPP negotiations. (Photo: SumofUs/flickr/cc)

After being shrouded in secrecy for years, the full contents of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will soon be brought into the sunlight.

According to Kevin Collier at Daily Dot, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said the text will be made available to the public at large in approximately 30 days—on or around November 7.

“[We] look forward to having it released as soon as possible,” Froman said in a press call Wednesday that was embargoed until Thursday morning. “We’re shooting to do it within the 30 days following the completion of the negotiations.” Continue reading

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Will TTIP Get Terminated? Negotiations Falter as Europe Balks

As EU-US trade talks flounder, France doesn’t rule out ‘an outright termination of negotiations’

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2015.

Almost 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement. (Photo: greensefa/flickr/cc)

Almost 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement. (Photo: greensefa/flickr/cc)

While public opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—the massive proposed “trade” deal between the European Union and the United States—has grown steadily since negotiations started two years ago, new signs suggest that official government backing is also faltering across Europe.

In an interview with French regional newspaper Sud Ouest published Monday, Junior Trade Minister Matthias Fekl said TTIP negotiations were favoring American interests and “either weren’t advancing or were progressing in the wrong direction.”

“If nothing changes, it will show that there isn’t the will to achieve mutually beneficial negotiations,” he said, before adding: “France is considering all options including an outright termination of negotiations.”

Meanwhile, a group of more than 55 UK members of parliament (MPs) has signed onto a motion expressing major concerns about the mammoth trade pact, which civil society groups have dubbed a corporate giveaway. Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, put forward the Commons motion, and it has now been signed by every member of the Scottish National Party group at Westminster, as well as the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Politico‘s Paul Ames wrote of the “cooling ardor on both sides of the Atlantic” earlier this month, saying that since talks began in July 2013, the trade deal “has lost some of its shine.”

Concern over the impact of TTIP has united disparate groups,” he wrote, “from French farmers to German constitutional lawyers and politicians on the left and right.”

Almost 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the Commission to scrap the agreement.

Last week, the Oxford-based group ‘We Own It,’ which deals with national issues surrounding public services, held a demonstration against the proposed TTIP, warning that it could lead to private businesses being too heavily involved in public services.

Cat Hobbs, an organizer with the group, told the Oxford Mail: “The idea is that it would open up new markets to private companies and the reality here is that it’s going to open up public services to private companies. Multi-national corporations’ rights will become more important than ours.”

And a much larger action is being planned for October 10 in Berlin, when over 50,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in front of the city’s central train station to protest both the TTIP and a similar deal between the EU and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). That event is part of the week-long International Days of Action against corporate-friendly trade deals.

Speaking to EurActiv about the planned demonstration, Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel, head of the German progressive church coalition Brot für die Welt, called TTIP an “attempt to force the rules of rich industrialized countries upon global trade.”

Opposition to TTIP is particularly intense in Germany, where only 39 percent of the population backs the trade deal.

All of this backs up a thesis put forth earlier this month by American Prospect co-founder and editor Robert Kuttner, who wrote in an op-ed that both the TTIP and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be “on the verge of collapse from their own contradictory goals and incoherent logic.”

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As ‘Do-Or-Die’ Talks End In Failure, Could TPP Be Derailed for Good?

Global justice campaigners say disintegration of Maui negotiations ‘good news for people and the planet’

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published August 1, 2015

Protesters in Hawaii. Photo by Akaku Maui Community Media

Photo by Akaku Maui Community Media

This week’s closed-door Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in Maui, which President Barack Obama hoped would be the last round, ended Friday in failure to reach a final agreement, thereby pushing a U.S. ratification fight into the tumultuous 2016 presidential election cycle at the earliest—and raising hopes that the corporate-friendly accord could be derailed for good.

Global justice campaigners, who will now have more time to organize against the pact, were buoyed by the development, with Sujata Dey of Council of Canadians declaring on Saturday: “This stall in talks could mean the death of the deal, and a win for the public interest all over the world.” Continue reading

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TISA Exposed: ‘Holy Grail’ of Leaks Reveals Detailed Plot for Corporate Takeover

Fifty-two-nation Trade in Services Agreement uses trade regulations ‘as a smokescreen to limit citizen rights,’ says labor leader

At a protest in Geneva last year. (Photo: Annette Dubois/flickr/cc)

At a protest in Geneva last year. (Photo: Annette Dubois/flickr/cc)

Written by Deidre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-1-15.

Days ahead of another round of secret international negotiations, WikiLeaks on Wednesday released what it described as “a modern journalistic holy grail: the secret Core Text for the largest ‘trade deal’ in history.”

That deal is the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA, currently being negotiated by 52 nations that together account for two-thirds of global GDP. Those nations are the United States, the 28 members of the European Union, and 23 other countries, including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Israel. According to WikiLeaks, TISA “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic neoliberal ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).

“Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries,” declared WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a press statement. What’s more, it adds, “[a]ll three treaties have been subject to stringent criticism for the lack of transparency and public consultation in their negotiation processes.”

The texts published Wednesday cover everything from financial services to telecommunications to migrant labor protections. Continue reading

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UK Doctors Warn TTIP Means Certain Death for Public Healthcare

Physicians say national health service faces lawsuits, bullying, and privatization under contentious trade pact

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published June 23, 2015.

With TTIP negotiations set to continue in July, doctors in the United Kingdom have vowed to fight the deal. (Photo: Alex Proimos/cc/flickr)

With TTIP negotiations set to continue in July, doctors in the United Kingdom have vowed to fight the deal. (Photo: Alex Proimos/cc/flickr)

Doctors in the United Kingdom are warning that passage of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will mean certain death for the country’s public healthcare system, opening the door for privatization and lawsuits from the United States’ for-profit medical industry.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Liverpool on Tuesday, Dr. Henry McKee of Belfast warned members that “if there is anything resembling an [National Health Service] by the time this treaty is in negotiation, it won’t survive this treaty.”

“The correct motion is to kill this treaty dead, not to tolerate it sneaking in and mugging us,” he added. Continue reading

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WikiLeaks Strikes Again: Leaked TISA Docs Expose Corporate Plan For Reshaping Global Economy

Leaked Docs reveal that little-known corporate treaty poised to privatize and deregulate public services across globe

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published June 3, 2015

"It’s a dark day for democracy when we are dependent on leaks like this for the general public to be informed of the radical restructuring of regulatory frameworks that our governments are proposing," said Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. (Image created by Common Dreams)

“It’s a dark day for democracy when we are dependent on leaks like this for the general public to be informed of the radical restructuring of regulatory frameworks that our governments are proposing,” said Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. (Image created by Common Dreams)

An enormous corporate-friendly treaty that many people haven’t heard of was thrust into the public limelight Wednesday when famed publisher of government and corporate secrets, WikiLeaks, released 17 documents from closed-door negotiations between countries that together comprise two-thirds of the word’s economy.

Analysts warn that preliminary review shows that the pact, known as the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), is aimed at further privatizing and deregulating vital services, from transportation to healthcare, with a potentially devastating impact for people of the countries involved in the deal, and the world more broadly. Continue reading

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Is US Trade Rep a Wall Street Crony? Groups Demand Transparency.

Public interest watchdogs say Americans deserve to know what US top trade negotiator Michael Froman ‘has been privately saying to big banks’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published May 28, 2015

US Trade Representative Michael Froman, the groups note, “received a more than $4 million golden parachute from Citigroup upon leaving the large financial institution to join the Obama administration in 2009.” (Photo: US Institute of Peace/flickr/cc)

Noting deep ties between the country’s top trade negotiator and Wall Street banks, ten groups representing millions of Americans are calling on the White House to make public all communications between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the massive financial institutions that stand to benefit from proposed trade deals.

In a letter (pdf) addressed to Froman—lead champion of President Barack Obama’s corporate-friendly trade agenda—groups including National People’s Action, Public Citizen, Friends of the Earth, and CREDO Action request “the prompt, voluntary, and proactive disclosure of all records of communication between yourself and representatives of the ten largest U.S. financial institutions—including lobbyists, employees, and trade associations—during your tenure as U.S. Trade Representative.”

Those financial institutions include JP Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup. Continue reading

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Who Are They Supposed To Represent?

One of the worst kept, and at the same time best kept, secrets in Washington over the last few years has been the negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership, commonly referred to as TPP. If you’ve been following what we discuss, the TPP should be very familiar to you by now; it’s one of our favorite subjects to write about.

Trade Ministers from TPP meeting in Vladivostok. Photo by East Asia and Pacific Media Hub U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Trade Ministers from TPP meeting in Vladivostok. Photo by East Asia and Pacific Media Hub U.S. Department of State [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve discussed ad nauseum the secrecy that the Obama administration has enshrouded the negotiations with. However, on Monday The Huffington Post ran a story that puts all the other attempts at hiding the details of the TPP from the public to shame. It goes like this: Continue reading

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Tough to swallow: TTIP’s threat to our food and farming

For the sake of our food and its impact on our environment, TTIP needs to be stopped.

Written by Magda Stoczkiewicz. Published February 26, 2015 in OpenDemocracy.

TTIP protest in London, July 2014. Photo by World Developement Movment  [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

TTIP protest in London, July 2014. Photo by World Development Movement [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For a decade, dozens of trade deals have been negotiated, signed and implemented without garnering much public attention in Europe. So what is it about the EU-US trade deal, currently being hammered out, that has caused such an outcry?

The opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, has surprised many. 50,000 marched in protest on a cold winter’s morning in Berlin. Municipalities across France have declared themselves “TTIP-free”. The Slovak Food Chamber demanded that food and farming be excluded from any deal. Nearly 1.5 million people have signed a petition to have the negotiations stopped.

Environmental, social and labour groups across Europe – Friends of the Earth Europe included – are outraged and actively campaigning. Continue reading

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To Counter Rise of Oligarchy, Sanders Pitches Progressive Economic Vision

By Jon Queally, Common Dreams Staff Writer

In a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced his vision for a progressive economic agenda that he says could restore shared prosperity, reinvigorate the middle class, and mitigate a host of social crises that stem from the current system that has created great wealth for a select few while systematically eroding the quality of life for the many.

“Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy?” —Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Detailing twelve economic areas that need immediate attention and major overhauls, Sanders indicated his plan is  driven by the need to re-establish the status of the middle class as the key indicator of overall economic health.

Continue reading

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