US Trade Rep can't figure out if Trans-Pacific Partnership will protect the environment


Protect the environment? It will protect the environment like every “free trade” agreement back to NAFTA which is to say not at all. The whole point of these agreements - and the reason they are done in secret by business interests and government types who directly serve business interests - is to make it impossible to protect the environment or workers’ interests.

Oh, they’ll say “Once the important parts are taken care of we will get right on those environmental protections and do something for labor.” That day has never, ever come. It’s on to the next one. What they do very effectively is make it illegal via treaty obligation for any of the participating countries to pass laws which would protect the environment. We’ve seen this many times already.


Wether or not those tough environmental provisions will ultimately be in there is besides the point. The point is that international corporations may appeal to international courts to overthrow legislation written by democratically elected governments. I can’t think of anything less democratic. Oh, and those congress-critters should be weary of this new system for less exalted reasons than protecting democracy: these international courts will directly compete with the services congressmen and Senators can provide for their backers. I mean, when you can appeal to a court to acquire the desired legislative change, funding campaigns becomes far less urgent.


So here in the TPP we have an example of the pathological attitude that’s been around for centuries that making money is more important than anything or anyone else – no matter the damage, hardship, illness or death it causes – and that governments and their leaders are ok with that. This affects every one of us, our children and future generations. The fact that this isn’t front page news is a further example of the power and control that these immoral and unethical elites have.


It’s worse than that. It enshrines moving private costs onto the public


This line in the article got me.

The deal would, however, allow corporations to bypass domestic judicial systems and turn to international courts to challenge government regulations that they believe violate the deal.

One of the things that people don’t always get is that some other countries have TOUGHER environmental regulations than the US.

Let’s say Japan demands food grown in safe environmental conditions, and those are higher than the food grown in the US. If they agree to the TPP it will lower the conditions for everyone. Japan will have to say our frozen potatoes are safe, and they can’t discriminate against our potatoes or we can sue them.

The US standards aren’t always as great as they want people to believe. In some cases our levels of allowable chemicals (pesticides/antibiotics) are higher than other countries. We also don’t have the precautionary principle as the base for our chemicals like in Europe.

We don’t know what is going on in the food safety area of the TPP since nothing has leaked from there yet.
Would the big corporations want to buy the cheapest food possible from places that don’t have pesky regulations? You bet. How do they get around it? Well they say, “Country A’s food safety standards are the” equivalent" to the USs and we can’t demand they be inspected by the USDA or FDA"
That allows other countries to sell tainted food to us and the US to sell, for example, pesticide loaded potatoes or older beef to Japan. The idea is to get food safety standards “harmonized” to a level that is lower than the highest country.


They haven’t been asked this question enough to have worked out the lie(s) yet. Keep asking the question and they’ll have an adequate lie polished up in no time.


Headline: Will Trans-Pacific Partnership Protect the Environment?


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Is this paragraph accurate?

The US Trade Representative and the Obama administration have asked Congress to “fast track” the treaty, passing it without any debate or revisions. Naturally, Congress wants to know what the treaty is likely to say before they agree to this.

The “fast track” authority means Congress agrees to pass or fail the treaty, after receiving and reading the proposed treaty, with plenty of debate (but no revisions).

All trade agreements require each side to give up something of value and get something of value. Clearly, if Congress reserved to itself the authority to revise the treaty line by line, Congress would retain all the provisions where other countries give up something and cut all the provisions where the United States gives up something.

It is fine to oppose this treaty. Quite possibly, it underemphasizes development oriented gains for poor countries and overemphasizes intellectual property rights (a critical issue about which I have learned a ton from boingboing over the years). But, let’s be fair and accurate about the role of trade promotion authority.

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That is EXACTLY how trade deals were done right up until spit NAFTA.
Saying “Oh, you just can’t do that. Treaties wouldn’t happen. And we can’t have the little people seeing what will happen to them” is, to put it bluntly, a self-serving, autocratic lie with its tongue a foot and a half up the Chamber of Commerce’s cloaca.


Yeah, I can’t stand anti-democratic types who think “we can’t have the little people seeing what will happen to them.” The TPP negotiations should be more transparent. I still think both those points would have gone through just fine even with a more accurate statement of what trade promotion authority is.

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