Docs reveal trade deal negotiations have gone ‘very far from legitimate trade concerns into the territory of a sweeping deregulatory political agenda’
When the [TPP] negotiations began in 2010 the U.S. made it clear that it required a chapter on SOEs. The goal was always to create precedent-setting rules that could target China, although the U.S. also had other countries’ SOEs in its sights—the state-managed Vietnamese economy, various countries’ sovereign wealth funds, and once Japan joined, Japan Post’s banking, insurance and delivery services. All the other countries were reluctant to concede the need for such a chapter and the talks went around in circles for several years. Eventually the U.S. had its way.
The leaked documents also showed new, multinational-friendly updates to sections of the deal titled “Domestic Regulation,” “Transparency,” and “New Provisions.” The latest versions, argues WikiLeaks,
have further advanced towards the ‘deregulation’ objectives of big corporations entering overseas markets. Local regulations like store size restrictions or hours of operations are considered an obstacle to achieve ‘operating efficiencies’ of large-scale retailing, disregarding their public benefit that foster livable neighbors and reasonable hours of work for employees.
Consumer protection advocates are outraged that such radically pro-corporate deals are being hidden and negotiated away from public view.
“Consumer organizations shouldn’t have to rely on leaks to find out about negotiations that will have a major impact on consumers’ lives,” said Amanda Long, general director of the UK-based Consumers International, on Wednesday. “Without greater transparency, the negotiations can’t be exposed to the scrutiny needed to design a good agreement and build public trust, this must be a priority.”
The impact of such an agreement will indeed be major: “The TISA provisions in their current form will establish a wide range of new grounds for domestic regulations to be challenged by corporations—even those without a local presence in that country,” WikiLeaks concluded.
Kelsey observed, “As President Obama said of the [TPP] in October 2015, these agreements are about the U.S. making the rules for the global economy in the 21st century[…] in ways that ‘reflect America’s values.'”
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