back to article The hated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will soon be dead. Yay?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is almost certainly dead. Or at least America's role in it is. The much-maligned trade agreement that took seven years to draw up and simplifies trading rules between nations in the Pacific Rim – Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and a number of others – hit fierce …

  1. eldel


    <quote>Corporations view such systems very differently – as a vital route to bring in the best people</quote>

    Errm - no. Really really no. To bring in cheap indentured labor. That's the vital part of it. Often as a transition to moving the whole thing overseas and thus avoiding all those picky data security regulations that just cut into the bottom line.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pardon?

      There's more than just that in this article that screams detached. I'm extremely certain this entire article was written by an intern at lower wages.There's so much more wrong in this article than just your quote regarding the reality of my country's business model. For instance "...slanted readings of the text.". As if U.S. politicians and businesses can read any other way.

      But, at least the author still appears to have hope for the textbook example of how the world is working. I'm not sure about that reality, but at least there is some hope in it (which sadly I'm all dried up on).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pardon?

      Actually, there are two separate channels.

      One brings in truly very high skilled and smart people who are among the best worldwide, and who are as expensive to hire as their US counterparts. Of course, these are a minority.

      The other channel is the one that brings in (when you can't outsource abroad directly for some reason) barely skilled but far cheaper people to cut expenses in some sectors and to increase executives bonuses/stock options value/whatever. Which for some reason believe underlings must accept lower wages because of the economy, while they are endowed by their creators of higher and higher ones despite of the economy.

      Unluckily, Trump is one of them...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TPP - the last 'T' was for 'Partnership'

      as in, "Partnership" with Partners who are strictly & militarily speaking anyone but not CHINA.

      it was a .mil thing, at its heart, probably - I really do look forward to an open trade deal by partners with partners that does not come with shady trade-wars in the shadows, allegedly. . .

    4. Tom Paine

      Re: Pardon?

      I'm surprised your comment's got so many thumbs up as it's demonstrably untrue: as you can see by sticking your head out of your window, cheap unskilled labour is, well, cheap and available everywhere. It's skilled workers where demand exceeds supply. That's why fields like IT and health have so many non-native born persons working within them.

      Anyway, whether you agree with me or not, as others have pointed out -- we just have to wait and see how it pans out in the UK without freedom of movement from the EU and with lots of measures to discourage workers from beyond the EU, and in the US if Trump abolishes the various schemes for allowing skilled workers in. Time will tell. (And then I'll point out that I told you so ;) )

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pardon?

        As LDS points out above there are two 'streams'. The 'traditional' one which brought in unavailable talent and paid the going rate. I'd hesitate to say the best talent coz they let me in 15+ years ago :-).

        Many of these still come in. I can think of at least 4 that I've worked with in the last 18 months just off the top of my head.

        In that same time span I've also endured 10s of them that are shipped in by (primarily) Indian body shops. Typically they have paper qualifications but effectively zero experience. They get paid like shit and can't swap employers. They most certainly are not paid what the locals are and I know of one case where they were paid in India not the US.

        Some of the most egregious cheating goes on with the L1 visas. They really are indentured labour who are just in place to facilitate transfer.

        In summary the rules don't need changing, they just need enforcing. Of course as soon as they do that then the megacorps will simply offshore everything. They exist to make money, not provide jobs.

        Anon for obvious reasons.

  2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    The TPP is a bullshit trade deal that would fuck Canada and Canadians hard, and I, for one, will cheer its demise.

    The exportation of American law to other countries is cracked, pure and simple. We don't want your insane approach to intellectual property, your lack of environmental protection or any of the other corporatist fuckwittery.

    Death to the TPP and all other attempts to bypass national law. Trade deals are okay, but using trade deals as an end run around parliament to destroy the ability of the people to control their own laws, protect their own environment or strike their own balance on things like copyright is simply not okay. Lock that shit hard.

    1. jamesb2147

      I find the entire idea of exporting IP laws quite fascinating. The US laws aren't actually half bad; do the commonwealth nations have an enshrined "fair use" that's unlikely to ever be legislated away? I don't believe so, though I'd love to be wrong. And, to be clear, this idea originally stemmed from the Berne convention, so you can thank the European mothership for that little idea.

      I am curious, Trevor: How is the TPP so awful for Canadians? I ask honestly, because I feel as though I'm not well informed on the topic.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


        How fortunate that we have entire organizations dedicated to explaining exactly that! Rather than flood with propaganda, I'll leave you with this rather concise summary from one of the world's leading experts in intellectual property:

        There, nop you can probably ignore the rest of this post.

        Really short version: at a minimum, Canadians would end up paying significantly more for medicine, and any laws we put in place to protect our environment, or retain control of our resources would be struck down by corporations.

        Outside of medicine and IP, the big one that does it for me is fresh water. Without fresh water, we're fucked. Any of us. All of us. Everywhere on the planet. Already, too many of Canada's fresh water reserves are polluted beyond the ability to use for human consumption. The toxins spread into those waters bio-accumulate, making the reasonably significant portion of our population that still rely on hunting and fishing unable to maintain their traditional lifestyle. That might not matter to some, but it matters to me.

        Beyond the lovey-dovey feels portion, however, is that fact that even though Canada is one of the most water-rich nations in the world, we suck hard core at managing it. MY home province of Alberta is already seeing subsidence and other nasty effects of our severe drain on underground aquifers.

        Right now, today, that maybe doesn't matter so much; we have spectacular amounts of water coming down out of the mountains, and we can divert rivers and other fun things. The problem is that even 10 years from now, the amount of water coming down off those mountains will be a lot< less. The glaciers are shrinking, most of them are almost gone.

        Canada's potable and accessible freshwater reserves are something that I believe we need to manage. We need to manage it in order to provider for our own people. We need to manage it because of the raw economic reality that it fresh water is the oil of the 21st century.

        In my opinion we simply can't enter into agreements that would treat access to our fresh water as something the government isn't allowed to regulate, tax, or otherwise get a piece of. We can't let a bunch of Americans waltz into our country, pollute and/or export all our fresh water, and stick us with the bill.

        I don't give a rat's ASCII if it means we're left out of some oogly-boogly trade bloc. In 30 years, over half the world is going to be begging for access to our water, and we need to maintain the ability to milk them for every last rotten cent. Saudi Arabia created a financial empire on the back of oil, and we need to retain the ability to do the same on the back of water.

        It's not like we have the manpower or military to otherwise defend ourselves. Controlling access to our resources and what's left of our environment is the only card we have to play.

        And I, for one, am 110% against handing that to the Americans. Not for a trade deal. Not for anything.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >The TPP is a bullshit trade deal that would fuck Canada

      The TPP was a bullshit trade deal designed to fuck China.

      If China has any sense it will adopt TPP and offer the same deal to all the other SE Asian members if they now agree to exclusive treaty with them, cutting out the USA

      >Death to the TPP and all other attempts to bypass national law

      How do you do trade with access to law?

      Are you willing to set up a factory in Africa if they can simply fine you 10x the countries GDP everytime their economy looks bad.

      Are you willing to allow Canadian C series or Blackberries into your country if Canada insists that all it's telcos and airlines are Canadian owned.

      1. dan1980


        "The TPP was a bullshit trade deal designed to fuck China."

        Not quite. the TPP was a bullshit trade deal designed to benefit the US*. I don't think that negatively impacting others is its raison d'etre, but it is not about a fair deal or about everyone winning.

        Trade deals are important but can really only be fair and reasonable to both sides when they are a one-to-one (not many-to-many) affair with relatively narrow scope.

        That one deal contains provisions for weakening emissions regulations in Japan (so the US can sell more cars there) as well as for reducing wage protections for foreign workers in Australia (so Chinese mining companies can operate a staff of fly-in-fly-out workers in their mining operations) is insane.

        It's like some ridiculous uber omnibus bill that bundles in an amended bill weakening privacy with a budget that has taken years to hammer out.

        I actually even understand some of the reasons for secrecy because trade is sensitive. BUT, again, that is far more acceptable in a limited, one-to-one deal than this giant cover-all monster.

        * - By 'the US', I mean 'those in power in the US'. And, by 'those in power in the US', I mean 'corporations'. It's in no way designed to directly benefit (North) American workers - if some few do benefit in some small way then that is just a side-effect.

      2. Aitor 1

        China and TTIP

        Would it had fucked china? YES

        But also, destroyed democracy, as we would have private judges deciding for corporations, and laws imposed withour recourse.. and it would also be a club that if you are not part of it, you are fucked.

        Terrible, horrible.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China and TTIP

          "...and it would also be a club that if you are not part of it"

          So like politicians then? I completely agree with you BTW, 100%. Supposedly the name of the deal will change, not the deal it self, that can still be "massaged". But, would you expect anything less in today's world?

          About Canada: I'm glad Canadians are so caring about Canadians when it comes to global commerce. This leaves the rest of the world to sort out the real issues without having to worry about Canada. Don't worry Canada, we got this (as usual)!

          1. Dave Stevens

            Re: Canada and TTIP

            It was truly a rotten deal for Canada.

            To get Japan in, Canada had to promise to dismantle a third of its car parts plant.

            To get New Zealand int, Canada had to give away something like 10% of its dairies to the US, to make up for the US accepting New Zealand powder milk.

            Nobody was going to make any concessions for Canadian industries, whatever ones are left.

            It's just that Canada was afraid to be left standing on the side so caved in on everything.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China and TTIP

          Those nations that were in favour of the TPP and where El Presidente Donald 'I don't pay Tax' Trump has business interests could easily get back at him by nationalising his holdings there.

          One great way to stop the conflict of interest that he will have as El Presidente of 'that place over the pond'.

          As the President and VP are excempt from the tough conflict laws that the USA has it will be interesting to see what he does with his empire. Just handing control over to his children is not good enough.

          As you might guess, I am not a fan of DT. His Conservative pals in congress and in many states will I feel put the whole civil rights movement back 40+ years.

        3. Tom Paine

          Re: China and TTIP

          And you know this how?

          I'm no neo-liberal, but I'm deeply sceptical of the knee-jerk lefty "oooh, the evil corporations are coming to destroy our democracy" line. It's about as credible as the extraordinarily naive Naomi Klein / Polly Toynbee attitudes.

          Well, anyway, not to worry -- you'll all get to find out how bad free trade is when Trump abolishes it along with NATO and attempts to not destroy civilisation through climate change. Before you down-thumb me, I suggest we all wait and see how things unfold over the next few years -- just like Brexit.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: China and TTIP

          > Would it had fucked china? YES

          > But also, destroyed democracy, as we would have private judges deciding for corporations, and laws imposed withour recourse.. and it would also be a club that if you are not part of it, you are fucked.

          > Terrible, horrible.

          Unsurprisingly, Clinton claimed to have authored it and said it was the gold standard of the best law ever written.

          Opposed by Bernie, Trump and the vast majority of Americans.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Trevor, a lot of Europeans think much the same about the Canada/EU trade agreement except with the roles reversed. Unfortunately the last standouts who had a chance of blocking it were bullied into submission.

      1. FrankeeD

        Doctor Syntax, I'm having a hard time imagining 35 million Canadians forcing through a trade deal that's going to disadvantage a majority of the 500 million residents of the EU. Whereas, in the TPP, the US is the clear economic power, with only Japan being anywhere near the same league.

      2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Doctor Syntax

        You should feel that way about CETA. Canada was trying to fuck you hard, and you should have told us to go the hell home.

        Harper was obeying orders, sneaking in the nasty provisions the US wanted in TTIP into CETA, "because Canadians are nice, and they won't screw the EU, promise". It was a shit deal for you, and a shit deal for Canadians. It was great for American corporations. That's all CETA was ever supposed to be.

        I'm super bummed that our dancing monkey of a Prime Fuckwit actually signed it. That spineless coward hasn't kept a damned one of his promises to actually benefit Canadians in the past year, but he's sure managed to proliferate Harper's vision of a corporatist hellhole that crushes ordinary workers (of all nations) under the heel of the elite.

        That's what Canada gets for electing a human sock puppet. *sigh*

    4. Warm Braw

      lack of environmental protection

      That one thing alone has probably scuppered any future trade deals involving the US (Mrs. May please take note). If the Trumpish US really abolishes its already limited controls on fossil fuels there's simply no way there can be "free" trade with any country signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, because the US would have an undue economic advantage by virtue of externalising its costs through its smokestacks.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TPP's biggest problem was the secrecy under which it was developed

    Maybe this is standard for all such treaties, I don't know, but the way it was kept so secret makes it easy for the average person to wonder what is so terrible that it requires keeping the terms hidden from the public.

    Even if this is common for international treaties, in today's internet world it is expected that something that will have an effect on several billion people should be accessible. And not in a basement with no working lights or stairs in a filing cabinet behind a door marked "beware of leopard".

    1. gerritv

      Re: TPP's biggest problem was the secrecy under which it was developed

      Except that is wasn't secret to the corporate interests in the US and even Canada. Each country had to bend over and take whatever the US wanted to give, as someone earlier indicated it was an export of US laws to rule the world. The complexity of the document and its required massive increase in bureaucracy is not about simplifying anything, it is about ruling the roost. E.gThe US retained the right to determine if country x's implementation was good enough, after the treaty was ratified!!! Talk about over ruling each and every government involved.

      Items such a Notice and Takedown were acknowledge not to be effective and indeed subject to regular abuse. Canada's Notice and Notice system is even lauded by US media corps, but no one else can implement it if part of the TPP signatories. The side letters are amazing to read by themselves.

      Frightening pos that should be binned.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Secrecy / Zero Transparency / Consumer Product Safety:

        Or is that the TTIP only?

        " Food and environmental safety: The same goes for the environment, where the EU’s REACH regulations are far tougher on potentially toxic substances. In Europe a company has to prove a substance is safe before it can be used; in the US the opposite is true: any substance can be used until it is proven unsafe. As an example, the EU currently bans 1,200 substances from use in cosmetics; the US just 12."

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Secrecy / Zero Transparency / Consumer Product Safety:

          That works both ways. Our US office has to inform visitors that it contains hazardous substances, we don't have to in the UK. The fact that the list of substances is so long and includes things like printer toner means the warning is meaningless but it is there.

          Also remember a European car company that was able to self-certify it's own emission tests in Europe but got caught having to cheat to meet tougher US ones

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: TPP's biggest problem was the secrecy under which it was developed

      Yes, trade deals are always negotiated in secret.

      The reason for this is pretty obvious if you look at - well, Donald Trump f'rinstance. Now imagine trying to negotiate a deal with multiple other countries, with the entire brigade of self-interested billionaire publicity hounds tweeting misleading half-baked bullshit about every clause that even gets proposed, long before anything is agreed.

      Wouldn't be possible. Even back in the days of newspapers, pre-Twitter, it was recognised as impossible; now it'd be much, much worse.

      The problem with bilateral deals is that the larger party basically gets to set the terms. You know, like the shrink-wrap EULA you click through when you install software. The publisher can afford to say "take it or leave it", you can't (always) afford to walk away.

      So of course the US is all for bilateral deals with smaller countries. It's we smaller countries who should be wary of that. That was the theory behind multilateral deals such as the TPP, although there's a reasonable case that it didn't work and we were still being shafted.

      The US is about 20% of the world economy. If we all have to do without it for a few years - well, that'll cost obviously, but if the alternative is taking it up the backside from Trump - I for one am willing to take a pay cut to avoid that.

    3. Naselus

      Re: TPP's biggest problem was the secrecy under which it was developed

      No, it's biggest problem was that it was written by big business, purely in the interests of big business. Which is why it was kept secret. The idea of letting companies sue governments for profit lost due to regulation is utterly deranged (like an abattoir demanding the government pay up for refusing to let them coat the meat in lead - those fussy socialist types and their 'health and safety'!).

      Not only that, but it's not like we don't have lots of examples of how trade deals tend to screw the poor and feather the nest of the rich. NAFTA, for example. Kieran commits the usual Western sin here of checking how it effected US Auto workers (badly, but still tolerable) but ignoring the impact it had on Mexico - an impact that the Clinton administration was well aware of in advance.

      NAFTA decimated the Mexican agricultural sector, which a significant proportion of the Mexican population relied on for their barely-above-subsistence living standard, by forcing small-scale farmers to try and compete with heavily subsidized US agribusinesses. As a result it brought about the slow collapse of the whole economy, a massive increase in drug trafficking, and the gradual descent of the whole country into a Columbia-like state of crimelord warfare.

      And this was all largely foreseen by the US government, who went ahead with it for the sake of a few US mega-corps, and pressured their Mexican counterparts to join it too - on the promise of large-scale investment which never really materialized. Instead, moving production to Mexico was widely wielded as a threat to beat the weakened domestic unions in the US ever-further into submission.

      So yeah, I don't really think the secrecy itself is the problem. It's pretty obviously a symptom of the real problem, which is that these deals are heavily tilted in favour of a few select elite groups, and while they're not written specifically to screw everyone else over, they don't exactly mind if that turns out to be a side effect.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder

    If the TPP hadn't been kept secret for those seven years might the outcome have been different? It was way too easy for someone who had seen the secret agreement to say what they wanted about it without an independent challenge from a disinterested party.

    Not to mention the whole "no one gets to see it until the last second when there's no time to debate or modify" has a real stench to it.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      You can't "modify" a treaty unilaterally: every party has to agree to the same text. You can't have one country's lawmakers say "yeah, we'll take all that except for these three clauses" - if you do that, you have to go back and get every other country to sign off on the revised version.

      If there are ten countries signing the deal, that means ten legislatures all proposing their own amendments. Imagine the to-ing and fro-ing to get them all to agree on - well, anything. Remember the final text has to be unanimous.

      I would certainly agree that there should be more time to debate it. No reason why the thing should be rushed - legislators should be allowed to brood on it for years, not months or weeks. But putting the word "modify" in there - implies that you haven't thought things through. In the end, there has to be a straight yes-or-no vote.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        'But putting the word "modify" in there - implies that you haven't thought things through. In the end, there has to be a straight yes-or-no vote.'

        I think the A/C has thought things through.

        If what's presented is unacceptable to those who have to ratify it then they say "no". The whole purpose of negotiation is to avoid that by modifying drafts until they are mutually acceptable and that isn't going to work unless the legislatures have an input, however informally. The legislatures are being presented with a fait accompli. The chances that at least one of them is going to find it unacceptable is pretty high.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          The legislatures do "have an input", informally. Who do you think does the negotiating in the first place?

          But imagine if the treaty were being negotiated directly between the legislatures, which is what A/C is basically proposing. It'd be like:

          - "Senator from Indiana, this proposal would mean more imports of Australian steel. Block this or you're out on your ear!"

          - "Senator from Wisconsin, this proposal would mean New Zealand cheese would get cheaper. Block it if you want to see another term!"

          - "Senator from California, the Australians and Kiwis won't extend their copyright terms unless we agree to take more steel and cheese. Talk those idiots round!"

          Imagine that across hundreds of industries in all 50 states. Now expand it to the power of 11, because that's the number of other countries involved in the TPP. How could it ever work?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: I wonder

            'The legislatures do "have an input", informally.'

            Having an input as in being able to comment on stuff they haven't read because they're not allowed to. Or, in a few cases, allowed to read a copy they're not allowed to take away, copy or even make notes from.

            'Who do you think does the negotiating in the first place?'

            Not the MPs, Congress reps etc. You may be misunderstanding the word but those are the people who comprise the legislature.

      2. gerritv

        Re: I wonder

        In the case of TPP there are side letters for each country that do exactly what you say isn't possible. Pretty much each country carved out a few things that it would not cave on. So Canada got to keep its Notice-Notice system because it was already in place but none of the other signatories could adopt it. Instead they had to adopt the seriously flawed US Notice-Takedown system.

        For those not aware, this means if someone decides they don't like what is on your web site, a letter to your ISP will result in the site being taken offline. You can then try to fight that, which of course takes lawyers and $$$. So in essence it is often a bully tactic. Guilty until proven innocent.

      3. Disk0

        Re: I wonder

        What use is a treaty you don't agree with? You can't just forget about clause 51 that puts your national government in the twilight zone, or article 1080p that makes your nation liable for a decade of the citizen's taxes over the establishment of a fast-food restaurant. Also I don't think the text was a collective production, it was as you say a unilateral proposal, a yay or nay to participants.

  5. AlexS

    Only good thing Trump is doing. I suspect though he will merely rebrand it Trump Pacific Partnership.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only good thing he CLAIMS to be doing. Don't forget....

      "We're gonna build that wall."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It has some good parts...

    It has some good parts... and some bad parts... and it's huge and full of complex legal jargon... kinda like the Affordable Care Act and the PATRIOT Act. We know how those worked out.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When enough US citizens saw the pattern after NAFTA of shutting down US plants to manufacture the same items in Mexico it was only a matter of time before a voter revolt against it and deals like it.

    1. ratfox

      Funny though how the same people consistently bought those items made in Mexico, and declined to buy items made in America, for even the tiniest price differences...

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        consistently bought those items made in Mexico, and declined to buy items made in America

        As far as I can tell there is no choice.

        For example, your Ford Focus is made in Mexico. Period. See "Ford moving all small car production to Mexico" posted 15-SEP-2016:

        Try to buy a cellphone made in America. Can't do that either. A couple years ago, I bought my Moto G made in Fort Worth, Texas, then Motorola shut that plant down.

        And you wonder why Trump waltzes in.

        1. veti Silver badge

          That's what it looks like, when the Free Market gets to vote with its money. You may have bought a US made cellphone, but not enough of your fellow Americans agreed with you.

          If you don't like it, why not petition some patriotic billionaire - like, e.g., Donald Trump for instance - to set up or buy up plants manufacturing the things you want to see manufactured in the US, and run a "Buy American!" advertising campaign to sell them in preference to imports?

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Even better! I elected him for president!

            As it turns out, Trump did bust Ford's chops for moving to Mexico


            1. Someone Else Silver badge
              Thumb Down

              @ Gene Cash

              As it turns out, Trump did bust Ford's chops for moving to Mexico

              Ooooh, scary. Herr Drumpf whining to a Ford Motor executive. I'll bet that sent him shivering in fear so much he spilled some of his Scotch. Or not....

          2. HausWolf

            Except not a one of his products are made in the US, he is no patriot. If he was a patriot he would have made at least part of his "premium " products here.. He is an opportunistic orange buffoon that has clowned a bunch of people into voting for him.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This was nothing more than a secretive corporate stitch up legalising corruption. Call me old fashioned but I prefer my breakfast cereal without roundup in it!

  9. EveryTime

    TPP only exports the corporate-interest part of IP law to the world

    The TPP doesn't export American IP law to the world. It only required the ratification of the most restrictive and consumer-unfriendly parts of the law. Restrictive drug patents... yes. Fair use.. no.

    But it's not all one way. TPP required that the U.S. accept more restrictive, special-interest-driven rules as well.

  10. asdf

    being lied to all around

    Not a big fan of trade agreements written by multinationals who want to make their own law but hard to bring back a job when a robot is doing it steady here in the first world 24/7. But Don will keep the fools tilting at windmills.

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The reality is that trade deals are not about – or should not be about – whose wages go up or not, or whether jobs will increase or decrease – even though that is almost always the lens through which they are imperfectly viewed in domestic political circumstances.

    Trade deals are about clearing away what can be decades of old rules and ad hoc agreements between a multitude of different countries in order to arrive at a much cleaner slate of rules, vastly simplifying commerce for all involved."

    And why should a democratic country wish to simplify commerce? The only sensible reason I can think of is that it should benefit the the wages and job prospects of those who live there. That's why they're almost always viewed through that lens: that is, or should be, their purpose.

    1. Brenda McViking

      That's half the story though, isn't it - jobs and wages. What about those very same hardworking people who also want to utlise their free time and money? Or is the definition of paradise 24/7 employment at 800$/hr for everyone?

      Simplifying commerce allows you to get far more from your hard earned graft, because you can buy whatever service or shiny product pleases you from whomever in the world makes it the cheapest and the best. It's kind of the point of trade - you get stuff that fufils your desires that would otherwise be out of your reach.

      Sent from my Chinese computer, over Taiwanese made fibre optic cable, through Korean made servers using British designed semiconductors, running American software (coded by Bangalore), operated by a German ISP to a UK website, hosted in Ireland.

  12. P. Lee

    >The truth is, of course, that no one knows what impact the (sic?) TPP would have.

    Huh? Yeah, we have a sweeping new trade agreement. What does it do? Who knows!

    Call me cynical, but I don't believe you.

    Trade agreements are always about getting the best deal for your own industries - usually the ones which do or might fund your party.


    >The big topic that does seem to be legitimate is that the TPP will allow corporations to sue governments through so-called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), but that individuals will not be given an equivalent right to sue corporations.

    That first phrase alone should be enough to kill it, even without the second phrase. Its designed to entrench vested interests by hamstringing governments. How nice if your multinationals can pull damages from foreign countries' tax-payers! Yeah, I'll bet that's just overblown, theoretical stuff. I mean, a company like McDonalds would never try to sue an Italian city for money it failed to make because the city refused to let it plonk its ugly self down in the middle of an historic plaza, next to a beautiful piece of architecture built before your country existed, would it?

    Now we have a reputation problem. If part of the treaty is so anti-democratic as to try to over-ride governments, what's the likelihood that I'll trust the rest of it not to be bad in ways I haven't thought of?

    But wait, there's more! Not only do you want to negotiate it behind closed doors (bad enough but possibly legitimate) but you want no-one to know about it until after it is signed into law? Contemptuous of democracy? Sure I trust you! Or maybe I don't. Maybe your own people distrust you and dislike the way you act so much, they would rather vote in an openly obnoxious lunatic just to try to change the way things are done.

    When you effectively stamp on the people to get your own way, they eventually revolt and they start smashing things, both good and bad.

    There are similarities with the Brexit referendum. Why didn't the politicians realise the political situation? I can only believe that they had isolated themselves from the people. They did not want to know what the people thought and the party machine made sure they didn't hear it. Was the media publishing their own thoughts rather than reporting on reality? They too appear to be in their own little bubble of "what should be" or (for the conspiracy theorists) what the media's owners think should be. Both party-political sides appear to be completely dishonest. In both instances the leaders of the party where the upset came from did not want the upset. There are differences too. The electoral college is an anachronism with Trump not actually being the majority choice - there are no such moral legitimacy issues stemming from the voting system with Brexit. The US issues are multiple and hazy, whereas the Brexit issue was a single, clear choice.

    I suspect people asked the question, what do the trade treaties do for us? There was no answer because they weren't designed to benefit the people, they were designed to benefit the corporations. People will accept that for so long, but as the gap between rich and poor widens, the rich begin to believe in their divine right to rule and the poor's patience begins to grow thin.

    What will be interesting now, is to see whether Congress has given so much power to the State bureaucracy that Trump will be able to deliver on things, or whether his own party will shut him down.

    1. ChrisPv

      Never let shambolic panels to replace your judiciary

      After lurking here for so many years I registered as this really boils my blood.

      The sorry story of the Czech Republic, who in the early nineties signed series of agreements containing exactly those clauses, where companies got rights to sue government before "independent arbitration panels" is very useful here.

      In few years taxpayers lost eye-watering amounts of money, comparable to 10% of yearly budget.

      Most of these cases were sham, or very suspicious. Outright crooks found this as great business model, especially if you bribe a little few corrupt government employees.

      The most "clean" case was when investor (Mr. Lauder of the cosmetics fame) build series of shell companies in order to skirt Czech media ownership laws at the time, and when he had falling out with his Czech partner (who was officially licence holder) and his companies suddenly become worthless as their whole business model was to provide "services" to license holder he sued Czech government and won.

      The others were much much worse.

      So, if you are small country:

      1) don't outsource your courts

      2) don't outsource your lender of last resort

      3) don't borrow in the foreign currency (now as EUzone is concerned, this makes anyone except Germany loser)

      1. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: Never let shambolic panels to replace your judiciary

        Welcome ChrisPv, to our little KaffeeKlatsch!

  13. Alistair

    Yeee HAAW.

    @Trevor: Gooooo git im!.

    @ Kieren M - I'm terribly concerned now. You still have not come down to reality here. Tufts may have gone a bit over the top, but dammit, Wall street got Bush to pull out Glass-Stegall. And in less than 10 years what did that wonderful collection of "we create wealth for the people*" crowd do?

    Do you HONESTLY think that the corporate entities involved in the back end creation of this document are doing this to *make your life* better?

    Please please please, stop drinking the koolaide.

    Keep in mind that Canada, despite having 1/10th the population of the US, less than 1/100th the population of China etc.... Has *WAY* more natural resources ... *than both* the US and China combined. Number one on that list is something that the Asian world is in desperate need of, and its rather looking like the US is will be in the same boat as China sometime soon.


    I'd rather the government not get sued into having to rescind legislation designed to keep our country sustainable thank you. (and keep in mind that the *complainant* chooses between fora as to where dispute settlement happens. And if you think GATT resolution is ugly - WTO makes them look like kittens in a basket)

    * (Look that line up. Its in a speech. It *can* be found not easily but it can be)

    1. Aitor 1

      Re: Yeee HAAW.

      I am sorry to inform you that Canada signed TPP minor with the EU, and that the UK, so worried about its indy, had no problem signing the law without any kind of oversight from the MPs.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The TPP can get back on the infested donkey it rode in on and get in the sea!

  15. Brad Ackerman

    The TPP doesn't get rid of the Buy America Act or the Jones Act. It won't remove US tariffs on foreign trucks for 25 years. The TTP doesn't reduce our excessively long copyright terms. Just what the fsck does it do for the US?

    1. gerritv

      Your media companies love the term extension as do the rug companies. Mickey Mouse must be protected at all costs.

  16. 101

    TPP: Corporations write secretive law to exempt themselves from the rule of law

    TPP allows currency manipulation, foreign countries are allowed to bypass sovereign law, allows human rights and labor rights violations, provides for out sourcing government service jobs, gives banks more power, creates new authority for pharmaceuticals to create monopolies and thus set high prices. And more.

    Basically, it's a way for multinational corporations to rule the trade world without meddling my their target market countries.

    In short, it creates a law allowing corporate lawlessness.

  17. L05ER


    "based on a series of theoretical situations and slanted readings of the text."

    until those situations come to pass and it's interpreted that way... just like every other law that has totally never had that happen... no thanks.

  18. raving angry loony

    Was it that bad?

    Abso-fucking-lutely YES it was that bad. Yet another international agreement that allows corporations to override local rules set by democratically elected legislators. There are too many of those already, TPP was one of the worst of them.

    I hope it dies in a fire. Along with every single fucking traitor to their country who pushed for it, regardless of which country they're from. Because that's what they were, traitors, selling out their countries, their communities, their neighbours, all for the illusion of money.

    Don't get me started on what I REALLY think of it and the people who were pushing it.

  19. Christian Berger

    Much cleaner rules?

    I'm sorry, but at least CETA is a huge mess, far larger than what could be understood by a single person. I doubt that TTIP is significantly shorter than CETA.

    The big issue nobody seems to address is that TTIP, like CETA at best tries to freeze a status quo, even though more and more of the population now realize that the neo conservative world model does not work for them. We have changing times, and unless we have the ability to react to them in a normal and sane way (i.e. Sanders) we get the result of people wanting to just smash the system as they cannot do anything else (i.e. Trump). If you don't provide democratic means for this transition, it'll end in chaos.

  20. dave 81

    The problem with the TPP

    Is that it has done in secret, without public oversight. I could not write to my MP, refer to page x of the document and explain why its a good/bad idea. And that is wrong.

  21. tiggity Silver badge


    Massive Secrecy on something affecting the people is massively at odds with the whole concept of representative democracy.

    It's ludicrous when all the public hear are rumours, elected representatives of the people do not even get copies of the text and are not allowed to copy significant *in their view) parts of it.

    So I do not accurately know how good or bad the deals are, but the sheer fact it's all kept hidden away makes me suspicious, given how bad some of the laws are that are openly forced on the people.

    Apols for saying what's already been said but this is a key issue for the modern day, treating people like mushrooms is not acceptable in an era when people want information to be free

  22. J. R. Hartley

    Thank fuck!

    That was an absolute cunt of a thing.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The truth is, of course, that no one knows what impact the TPP would have."

    Someone must, why else have it? Or is just that they aren't letting us plebs know how much it will screw us over?

  24. naive

    Now the corporate puppet was voted away, revise TTIP

    USA and Europe would profit hugely from a fair TTIP. It can be expected that the US government won't be an institution just serving the interests of the worlds billionaires any longer when mr. Trump assumes office.

    In that light, TTIP should be renegotiated, since president elect mr. Trump will reverse outsourcing and corporate greed, enabling US and European citizens to share economic wealth and values in a world where China has more citizens than US and Europe combined.

  25. Tom 7

    With the republicans holding sway everywhere apart from the White House

    TPP will fail?????

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    After Trump's election, the leaders of both Canada and Mexico have offered to renegotiate NAFTA to be more favorable to the US. This is happening before the man is even in office.

    Perhaps it is time for a new negotiating team to revisit TPP also.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A perfect example

    "McDonalds, for example, is currently suing the city of Florence for refusing to allow it to open up a fast food restaurant in the historic town".

    A perfect example of why we don't want those pernicious schemes to hand over governance to multinational corporations. In a TPP/TTIP world, Florence would have no chance at all of maintaining its right to ban McDonalds.

    There are many (far too many) McDonalds, but there is only one Florence. Moreover, the citizens of Florence and their elected government are the ones who have a right to decide what should go where in their city. Although maybe if McDonalds would agree to build a restaurant that is wholly in keeping with the surrounding architecture, and that serves authentic Tuscan cuisine and wines... maybe something could be arranged. Something like this, perhaps:

  28. Mikel

    This is a huge setback

    ... for the copyright maximalists and their war on the Commons. Just the copyright part of this treaty was grand theft of public property on a global scale.

  29. Brent Beach

    Good one - assume Trump will keep his promises!

    The author makes the absurd assumption that just because Trump said he would scrap the TPP he will actually scarp the TPP.

    Not going to happen.

    If anything, it is even more likely to get passed now. With e Republican congress of corporate yes-men, it will be passed on Jan 22, 2017.

  30. Someone Else Silver badge

    No, Kieran...

    Trump also views the movement of people into the US in solely a negative light. He has threatened to undermine the J-1 and H-1B visa system that pulls foreign workers into America, equating it to illegal immigration, which he also equates to potential terrorism. Corporations view such systems very differently – as a vital route to bring in the best people.

    No, Kieran, the J-1 and (especially) the H-1B visa system is a way for Corporatists to bring people no more (and often less) qualified than indigenous folks, and pay them slave wages to depress the job and wage market domestically. (To be fair, that was probably not what it was designed to do, but that's what it has become, and what it has been for over 20 years now.)

  31. Brian Allan

    The Donald has said a lot of things that he has been known to refute, i.e.: simply stating he never said them. The future will be no different!

  32. martinusher Silver badge

    It really wasn't about free trade

    Here in California we have the ability to make laws by popular vote -- its the Proposition process that gave us via Proposition 64 legal weed this week. The process itself is easily abused, though, and its sprouted quite the cottage industry in generating propositions that sound like they mean "peace, freedom and cuddly puppies for all" but actually mean exactly the opposite. Locally, for example, we had dueling propositions, both apparently designed to restrain housing development on farmland but one was an incredibly well written stalking horse that would have opened the door to large scale development.

    TPP, like a lot of similar free trade deals, is written by the same sort of people. We're all for free -- or should I say, fair -- trade so that's how its marketed. But these deals are really about giving primacy to multinational corporations over government, putting societies in situations where they can't enact laws to suit themselves that might interfere with corporate wishes on pain of severe financial penalties. Only an idiot would go for that which is why these deals tend to be negotiated in secret with the intention of rushing ratification through legislatures using enabling legislation (preferably passed either on the eve of a holiday or during a full blown crisis of some sort).

    (...and, of course, TPP also had a Cold War dimension.....)

  33. Huckleberry Muckelroy

    EFF Sez NO!

    When the EFF commented (in The Reg, I think, well over a year ago) on leaked copyright and IP provisions as being immensely more onerous than US laws written by Hollywood corporations, it was evident TPP was COP (crock of poo).

  34. Terry Cloth

    Mr. McCarthy is right: Trade deals should simplify

    Trade deals are about clearing away what can be decades of old rules and ad hoc agreements between a multitude of different countries in order to arrive at a much cleaner slate of rules, vastly simplifying commerce for all involved.
    Too bad the rest of the article flies in the face of that assertion.

    The trouble is that the TPP brings in new rules and ad-hoc agreements between a multitude of different countries.

    There's no justification for a trade deal consisting of an enormous dung ball of intricate mechanisms. If you want to make Imaginary Property rules neater and more uniform, then negotiate the Trans-Pacific IP Agreement---nothing else in it. That would allow normal people (the horror!) to judge whether it's an improvement for their country, or not. Ditto the TPEPA (environmental protection), the TPTA (tariffs), and so forth.

    Unfortunately(?), this approach leaves no scope for raw horse-trading (I'll take a hit on pharma, if you'll take a hit on lumber, and we'll call it a deal). Gee, I guess we'd just have to make that one agreement balance out between parties; but it's how things used to be handled (e.g.: the Berne Convention on copyright), and could be again.

    Suppose we break up the TPP into its component parts, and vote on each. If no go, renegotiate only that part, in secrecy if need be, and present it again, with enough time for interested parties to understand it before making a decision. Maybe we could even predict what the results would be. It would be fascinating to see how much made it through such a process, and in what form.

    Can I haz my Nobel Prize in economics now?

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