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ThunderIdeal

secret negotiation of three free trade deals + border control

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this video begins with an essentially bleeding heart take on the immigration issue as you'd expect from rap news but it's really interesting how they juxtapose illegal immigration with secretly negotiated 'corporate treaties' as a border protection issue of far greater threat

quite accurately i think, they've pointed out that all of our attention is directed towards the boogeyman boat people but how many of us are informed about these free trade agreements?

yes they're being negotiated secretly but apparently there has been leaks.

i'm only aware of them in terms of some... rumblings... i don't know a damn thing about them. would anybody care to share some information or links please???

Edited by ThunderIdeal
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wikileaks have released a few draft chapters, there's been some analysis on namely through the guardian, or the intercept or the independant

perhaps the biggest thing right now is the isds provisions, where a company can sue a government for instating policies which husrt profits. you may have heard of the US gas company sued the canadian government because they put a moratorium of fracking, but also philip morris is suing australia for plain packaging laws through isds and there's a case in uraguay apparently too. it's pretty shit but it looks like it's going ahead because democracy really is a farce

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/big-tobacco-puts-countries-on-trial-as-concerns-over-ttip-deals-mount-9807478.html

Canada is the most-sued country under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a majority of the disputes involve investors challenging the country’s environmental laws, according to a new study.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/01/14/canada-sued-investor-state-dispute-ccpa_n_6471460.html

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The short of it: Do you trust multinational corporations, CEOs, politicians, and heads of state to act in the best interests of workers and average people by pushing various forms of deregulation, or do you think that the wealthy and powerful act in their own interests and the interests of other elites?

Historical example:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a (so-called) free trade agreement which can be readily compared to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which was implemented as a priority of the United States' government in 1994. Like the TPP, NAFTA was marketed by the U.S. as a way of increasing trade revenue and generating wealth in the North American bloc (Canada, U.S.A., Mexico). As well as being promoted as a way of increasing trade revenue for all the signatories, the U.S.'s public was assured that jobs would be created and environmentalist measures would be put in place. NAFTA ended up creating many jobs, most of which were in Mexican maquiladoras (poorly regulated exploitative factories comparable to sweat-shops). In the U.S., which stood to gain the most from the deal, 25,000 jobs were lost because of NAFTA-enabled outsourcing to Mexico. Luckily for proponents of the Agreement, though unrelated to its effects, at the same time jobs were lost the U.S. Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan lowered interests rates which offset the job losses (and actually created mor jobs than were lost, no thanks to NAFTA). Meanwhile, the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) (supposedly a measure to protect against environmental damages due to the Agreement) was both dubbed responsible for damages to Mexican economics while failing to achieve the environmental protections it was designed to accomplish. Basically, an Agreement based on similar principles to the TPP failed to improve economic conditions for the average jane/joe in the U.S., worsened conditions for the Mexican working class, and was responsible for an increase in environmental hazards south of the U.S. border. Do you want Australia to become a new Mexico to the U.S.?

Possible effects on day-to-day:

Tighter copyright laws
Under the TPP, Australia and other countries may impose criminal penalties for those found guilty of copyright infringement.
Mr Levey said the deal would likely see the criminalisation of copyright provisions that up until now have been civil penalties.
"So it might be taking a selfie inside a movie theatre and having some of the film visible in the background," he said.
"You're talking about taking that into an offence which wouldn't previously existed. Once you bring in a harsher copyright regime, it's very hard to reform."
Mr Levey said there was a possibility the TPP could also harm Australian innovation in a digital world.
"Our big concern is that by signing up to the provisions in the TPP, we're potentially going to lock Australia into the last century, when we actually need a copyright system that's reformed for the future."
Supporters argue that copyright protections in the TPP promote the creation of new works.
"Companies won't do this work unless the original is protected by copyright," Annissa Brennan, from the the Motion Picture Association of America, was quoted as saying by news service Intellectual Property Watch.
Food safety and labelling
The TPP would not require countries to provide information on where a food product comes from, which means it may restrict the ability of governments to identify how food was produced or whether it was genetically modified.
"There is a real risk that the TPP will make it even harder for us to get the simple, meaningful food labelling that Australian shoppers want in the supermarket," Mr Levey said.
The Australian government is not intending to sign up to international agreements that would restrict Australia's capacity to govern in our own interest.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb

"It might be that an Australian government comes along and says, 'OK, we want to make it much clearer when you're in a supermarket whether that product contains palm oil'. We could end up with restrictions under the TPP that would make that practice seem discriminatory."
However, the Government said there was nothing in the TPP negotiations that would weaken Australia's policies or regulations on food labelling.
"All parties negotiating the TPP will retain their current rights under the World Trade Organisation to make policy related to human health and safety," a spokesman for Trade Minister Andrew Robb told the Guardian.
"The Australian Government is not intending to sign up to international agreements that would restrict Australia's capacity to govern in our own interest."

Cost of medicines
Mr Levey said Choice was "deeply concerned" about the potential impacts from the TPP on the price of medicines.
According to a leaked chapter, several TPP member nations are pushing to make pharmaceutical patents last longer.
"The TPP is very complex when it comes to medicines, and one of our particular concerns is it might delay the period until cheaper generic drugs can come onto the market," Mr Levey said.
"At the moment it's generic drugs that are often affordable for Australians, it's what our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme uses to subsidise medicine and ensure we are actually giving Australians access to medicines they need.
"Academics have ... estimated that actually keeping those generic drugs off the market for longer is ... going to increase the price of medicines for Australians."
Earlier this year, Medicines Australia wrote an open letter to Parliament urging policymakers to ignore the "alarmist and misguided" claims contained in media reports relating to the TPP.
"Nearly 10 years ago, when Australia and the United States signed a free trade agreement, critics similarly predicted the demise of the PBS," it said.
"They argued that prices for medicines in Australia would skyrocket and that Australian patients would be denied access to new and essential medicines. They were wrong."

Corporate tribunals
Within the TPP is a clause on investor state dispute settlement (ISDS), which allows foreign companies to sue the signatory governments for loss of future profits.
Tobacco company Philip Morris is currently suing Australia under an ISDS provision in a Hong Kong-Australia investment agreement.
Mr Levey believes having an ISDS clause in the TPP is unnecessary and "dangerous".
"We're particularly concerned when the Productivity Commission — and they're not known for being anti-trade — comes out and says ISDS is a risk too far, that the benefits don't outweigh the costs," he said.
"That's a big warning sign that this is not a necessary thing to have in the agreement, we can actually use the established legal system."
However, Mr Robb has said a lot of the statements about ISDS "amounts to deliberate scare-mongering".
He went onto say that Australia had "progressively engaged with now 28 countries with investment agreements which include an ISDS ... and the sun is still coming up every morning".

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-23/talkaboutit-five-ways-the-tpp-could-affect-you/6642230

Economics:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a report that assesses how much economic growth each TPP country would see if the TPP were to slash all tariffs (taxes on imports) to zero and remove all other import restrictions. The report acknowledges that this is the most favourable assumption, and not likely to be achieved.

The report found that, under this unlikely best case scenario, while there would be increases in agricultural trade between some TPP countries, the overall effect on economic growth would be zero for a number of countries, including Australia.

http://aftinet.org.au/cms/US%20TPP%20report%20shows%20zero%20Australian%20growth

The problem is free trade agreements. In most cases, they have very little to do with trade at all, and in almost all cases, nothing at all to do with free trade.

For the most part, they are political documents. They offer politicians a stage, a platform upon which to demonstrate that they are "getting on with the job"; they keep bureaucrats busy; and they offer everyone involved the opportunity to speak in acronyms.

When it comes to economic benefits, however, they can be downright harmful.

And just like the Australia US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA to the cognoscenti) signed a little over a decade ago, the Trans Pacific Partnership has the potential to seriously compromise Australian sovereignty while delivering almost nothing in economic terms.

[...]

Back in 2004, then health minister Tony Abbott made a similar promise as Australian trade negotiators were on the cusp of signing that historic free trade deal with America.

It was a trade deal that fundamentally altered Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, limited the Commonwealth's power to price medicines cheaply, and contributed to the soaring costs of our health system...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/verrender-dont-expect-ftas-to-live-up-to-their-name/6579408

Intellectual property:

What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement. The main problems are two-fold:

(1) Intellectual Property Chapter: Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples' abilities to innovate.

(2) Lack of Transparency: The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.

The twelve nations currently negotiating the TPP are the US, Japan, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, and Brunei Darussalam. The TPP contains a chapter on intellectual property covering copyright, trademarks, and patents. Since the draft text of the agreement has never been officially released to the public, we know from leaked documents, such as the May 2014 draft of the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter [PDF], that US negotiators are pushing for the adoption of copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties, including the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)...

Read the rundown and get further resources here: https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp

Leaked IP chapter: https://www.wikileaks.org/tpp/

Clicktivism: https://openmedia.org/censorship

What does Australia stand to conceivably gain from the TPP? Increased trade revenue.

*Note that I've edited the above articles into snippits I found interesting. Read the whole articles by clicking the links.

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Unfortunately the only way i can see us getting out of this particular shit hole is if the government is dissolved along with all of their laws, treaties & agreements & form something new.

Otherwise we will all have to suffer the consequences of this bullshit for as long as the gods of profit dictate that we must.

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"the government" is just a not so friendly face to the state. changing governments only changes the colour of the tie it wears, underneath it's still the same machine

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I did not mean just change the front men but rather the entire structure, everything. From the ground up.

Not that any of is is actually legal or legitimate to begin with.

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Personally, I don't think Australia's refugee policies can be criticised enough.

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