Is anyone actually surprised by this?
No... ? No... ? Didn't think so.
Japan's chief negotiator in the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has been accused of taking bribes worth $100,000 from a construction company. Economy minister Akira Amari and his staff accepted 12 million yen ($101,000) in payments from an unnamed company from the Chiba province just outside Tokyo, …
Kieren, I *really* hope you're getting paid by someone other than the register for the spin you're putting on TPP. And a HELL of a lot.
Corporations will be able to sue *foreign* governments if laws they enact challenge the corporations profitability. This benefit alone makes my stomach churn, my blood boil, and my eyes roll back in my head - I've seen what the oil industry is trying to get away with here in Canada, and what the chinese will be willing to do with our water.
Me? I get ZERO benefit from the TPP. Large corporate entities? They get *plenty* of benefit, to reduce costs, reduce salaries, reduce tax payments and increase profits. Those are the benefits.
I'll throw one of mine into the mix.
In the fine old USofA our non-independent Supreme Court has held forth that Corporations are People. Now this pronouncement has taken on some interesting directions, but it does tend to blur the line between corps (really CEOs and the bigwigs) and the minions (taxpayers and consumers.) In the end it all leads to how can we best increase the corps/bigwigs bank accounts.
Let's not confuse the people with the government. Canadians, for the most part, want responsible decisions made regarding the environment. Many of these issues go back to Industry pushing for deregulation and now citizens don't trust corps to build and maintain pipelines properly.
TTP will doubtless crush most environmental concerns.
How about the Canadians suing over the US actually daring to say no to the keystone pipeline?
You can see all of that in Yukos vs Russian government, presently in the courts.
Russian government (if memory serves me right under Eltsin who probably he was off his tits as usual) signed up to a similar scheme. This has been tried by the way to encourage "foreign investment" in the Eastern block, just most countries withdrew from it. The short period while it was ratified in Russia covers the time of the Yukos affair.
Now, who was right, who was wrong in that affair is a different question which I will not go into. It is not the interesting part.
The interesting part is the damage as a result of Russia signing to a scheme which withdraws state sovereign rights and entitles a company to sue a state. It is a nice and rounded number. 64 Billion.
So let's look at the following hypothetical scenario:
The Eu equivalent of TTP is active
The Eu whacks let's say [ Apple | Starbucks |Amazon ] with a fully backdated tax bill for 30-40Bn.
Let's suppose for a minute that company X refuses to pay and Eu impounds its estate and auctions in lew of unpaid taxes.
Under current law Eu (or any other country for that matter) is fully within its rights here. Under these "partnerships" the foreign company is _ENTITLED_ to refuse to pay and once its assets are impounded sue the hell out of the government which impounded them.
"Corporations will be able to sue *foreign* governments if laws they enact challenge the corporations profitability."
This aspect of the TPP alone is exactly why I hold that any politician signing it, is signing away his/her country's sovereignty to foreign powers, and is therefore legally guilty of high treason.
And they shoot traitors, don't they?
This is the agreement that lets a few companies dig themselves in, at the cost of 771,000 jobs ? (No special magic, they just took the TPP model, plugged in the UN model numbers to get something more realistic and discovered it would kill a load of jobs for a negligable increase of GDP).
Look, if you let companies lock themselves in like that, it means they shut out competitors, and so instead of 20 companies competing for the pie, you have 1, and 19 companies aren't employing anyone.
It's like letting Apple lock down the Smartphone market, and so you have 1 phone and 1 maps, and 1 email program and 1 music platform, and 1 and 1 and 1 and 1.,...
Sure Apple would love that, they'd ramp up the prices, maybe employ a few more seat fillers to justify it, but overall it would be death to the phone market.
This treaty has been hijacked by special interests, and really needs to be spiked before it does serious harm. If it wasn't for the leaks, we would never have seen the model they were using to claim 'benefits' let alone been able to analyze it, or realize how skewed it was to mislead negotiators.
Corporate sovereignty is incompatible with democracy. You didn't invest political leaders with the ability to make THEMSELVES supreme leader for life, so how can they invest an un-elected pseudo court to be the same? They can't hand power they don't hold. The negotiators over reached their rights.
So just like the negotiators for the tax payers who give away hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize billionaires to build sport stadiums then. The only thing missing in this case is the cush private sector job waiting for the negotiator as a reward for his selfless public service.
When the US signs a free trade agreement it means they will benefit over other parties.
Take NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Agreement - signed by Canada, Mexico and the USA.
Canada is big in trees, it's trees are better as they are reared in bloody cold areas and this makes lumber (Pine trees to you) better, as well as Shingles (wooden roof tiles to you).
Then the woodcutters in the US complain and the USA sticks an import duty on Lumber and Shingles from Canada. The dispute goes to arbitration. Canada WINS!
So the USA, always devious, thinks of other schemes to stop Canadian imports - again they stick duties on Canadian wood, forcing the US price higher. (The US government keeps the duties, natch).
Back to arbitration, Canada wins again and again. The USA ignores the rulings again and again. And it keeps the illegal duties, naturally. Finally, to stop this stupidity they sign the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).
One thing excluded from NAFTA is water! And Canada is BIG in water - Ontario alone has 250,000 fresh water lakes. And the USA is a touch short of water.
Payback time, jerks.
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