02 April 2016

Why are we still discussing the TPP?

Has anybody actually read the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement? I presume the negotiators have. And no doubt a host of corporate lawyers. But have any of our politicians read it? Has International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland? All 6,000 densely-packed pages?

I remember John Crosbie, when he was Minister of International Trade in the Mulroney government, being asked that question about NAFTA in the House of Commons. Mr. Crosbie, a man who tended to speak frankly, honestly admitted he hadn't. I suspect Ms. Freeland has the same answer for the TPP.

I will give economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz the benefit of the doubt and assume he has. Mr. Stiglitz is an economist worth listening to. Among many other accomplishments, he has won the Nobel Prize in Economics, is a former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, and is a former chairman of the U.S. president's Council of Economic Advisers. And what he has to say about the TPP ain't good.

Speaking recently at the University of Ottawa about the deal, he stated it may well be the worst trade agreement ever negotiated and offered a long list of reasons, including the following:
• It was negotiated in secret with corporate interests at the table.
• Investment-protection provisions could interfere with the ability of governments to regulate business.
• Governments could be sued for regulations designed to reduce pollution or global warming.
• It contains provisions that could prevent raising the minimum wage.
• The rules of origin provisions could hurt North American employment because they allow "very clever ways" to hide where products are actually made.
• It will have little effect on trade volumes, yet will change the basic legal framework that governs society, shifting power to corporations.
The list goes on, and on. All the American presidential candidates have got the message and are speaking out against the agreement. Which raises the question, why is our government even considering the thing?


  1. Trudeau is waiting on the US presidential election. If Clinton wins, the TPP goes forward and Canada signs on. It's a simple as that.

    Here's what Freeland said earlier:

    "Throughout this process, our government’s guiding principle is that strengthening Canada’s trade performance is one of the ways we will work to strengthen our middle class and support high-wage jobs. Canada is a trading nation. As our government has made clear, we want to expand economic opportunities for all Canadians, and trade with our Asia-Pacific partners is key to making that happen."

    Here Thomas Walkom barfs up the typical 'centrist' henpecking argument:

    "In effect, the TPP presents Ottawa with a Hobson’s choice. If Canada wants to remain in the world of trade and investment deals, it will find it near impossible to stay out of whatever new pact comes along — even if the terms of that pact are demonstrably worse than the status quo."

    Yes we must export more jobs, wealth, rights and sovereignty because not doing so would be missing out on exporting more jobs, wealth, rights and sovereignty.

    These days it's a radical act to believe 2 + 2 = 4.

  2. Let's go back 240-years to Adam Smith's cautionary words in "The Wealth of Nations":

    “The interest of [businessmen] is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public ... The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ... ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined ... with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men ... who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public”

  3. I think whoever becomes President will proceed with the TPP and that includes Sandor. The US more than any other country has the most to gain from this deal. As with all important financial deals and legislation it is the Global Neoliberal elite that decides what stays and what goes not the President. The TPP is the most powerful deal giving the powerful 1% final access to the worlds wealth. It is the final nail in the Neoliberal coffin, the final phase of corporate rule ending the independence of Nation States.Why it is being discussed, maybe for the benefit of the gullible public. What completely mystifies me is that any government of a sovereign state, including Canada would sell out it own people and their countries sovereignty to be a part of this dictatorial document.There is no way that Freeland does not know what this deal is really about.

  4. Bernie Sanders will not proceed with the TPP and will do what he can to get the USA out of all Trade deals they have entered that are unfair to the USA.

    I have listened to Bernie for 10 plus years on his weekly radio spot plus have followed his career for as long and there is no way he will sign it.


    That aside I read another great article today from an American perspective on Free Trade talk in 1876