TPP: Urgent need for full, independent assessment

Hearings into the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership kicked off in Vancouver with a stark warning from the Trade Justice Network about the deal’s many negative consequences, and an urgent call for a comprehensive, public and independent assessment of the pact.

TJN co-chair Blair Redlin told members of the House of Commons Committee on International Trade there is no rush to ratify the TPP, and every reason for a proper economic, social and environmental evaluation of the deal.

Outside the hearings, demonstrators rallied against Canada ratifying the deal, and advocacy group OpenMedia organized a giant TV screen displaying protest messages from across the country.

Redlin told the committee the TPP is not about trade, as 97 per cent of Canada’s exports to TPP countries are already duty-free. Instead the deal aims to secure and expand corporate rights and protections.

The TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system will let foreign corporations sue governments if a law or regulation interferes with their investments – and profits. Under these NAFTA-style rules, Canada is already the most-sued developed country. Expanding access to this one-sided process could mean a spike in new cases.

The TPP’s controversial ISDS rules will limit government powers to regulate in the public interest, including by supporting industries that create good local jobs, and protecting the environment. A government investing in transit or wind turbines could face challenges for favouring local procurement.

Ratifying the TPP comes at a high price, said Redlin. Independent analysis of the deal has found it will:

  • cost Canada 58,000 jobs;
  • increase income inequality;
  • limit access to generic drugs, which in turn will drive up health care costs;
  • let corporations move to countries with cheaper labour and weaker labour laws;
  • hurt Canada’s agricultural, manufacturing and technology sectors; and
  • threaten internet freedom.

Redlin highlighted the outcomes of a recent TJN-sponsored forum, where Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz described the TPP as “the worst trade deal ever.”

The TPP was finalized by the former Harper government during last year’s federal election, and then signed by the new Liberal government. Consultations on the deal have been limited, poorly publicized, and have appeared to favour the voices of corporations – not citizens.

Blair Redlin’s presentation notes

Federal leaders’ debate: Canada’s trade deals need independent analysis, not corporate cheerleading, says Trade Justice Network

Ottawa — On the cusp of Thursday’s federal election debate on the economy, the Trade Justice Network, (www.tradejustice.ca), a coalition of Canadian unions, environmental groups and citizens’ groups, is calling on federal leaders to mandate the Parliamentary Budget Officer to do real fact-based analysis before they sign “free trade” deals that are destructive to Canadian jobs. In the case of CETA, the Canada-European Union trade agreement that has already been signed by the Harper government, this analysis should happen immediately.

In particular, the Trade Justice Network would like trade deals to be analyzed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer as part of a process of full accountability to Parliament, a recommendation made earlier today by Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette. Payette has asked if the PBO could do an independent analysis of CETA, the Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement between Canada and the EU.

“Most Canadians wouldn’t buy a new car without researching the warranty coverage, the mileage, reviews of the vehicle and so on.  Yet our government would have us agree to sweeping economic agreements like CETA and the TPP without providing us any facts at all, just empty slogans about how wonderful things will be after we sign on,” says Larry Brown, national secretary-treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees and co-chair of the Trade Justice Network.

Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, echoed this concern. “With CETA, Harper has been promoting dubious job figures that many economists have challenged. These deals often have nothing to do with real economic trade and with jobs but are corporate rights treaties that benefit only the few.  When we are making decision of that great importance, they cannot be negotiated in secret with no accountability to citizens and with no any real independent analysis.”

In Australia, the Productivity Commission, an independent government advisory body, analyzes trade deals before they are signed and has recently expressed concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership currently under negotiation.

“We completely support the Senator’s request to the PBO for some research into the real impacts of CETA or the TPP, and we wouldn’t want this research to wait until we’ve already signed on to the deals, we should be given the facts about the TPP long before our Government commits us to the deal, and certainly deserve the facts about CETA before it is ratified,” concluded Brown.

The Trade Justice Network is comprised of environmental, civil society, student, Indigenous, cultural, farming, labour and social justice organizations that have come together to challenge the scope and secret negotiating process of most free trade agreements. It emphasizes the need for a more sustainable, equitable and socially just international trade regime.

-30-

Contact: Sujata Dey, (613) 796-7724

 

 

TPP: 3 things to know about the Trans-Pacific Partnership | CTV

The public isn’t allowed to know what is specified in the full text of the TPP, which means that public knowledge of the agreement is limited – and according to one poll, most Canadians aren’t even aware the agreement exists, despite the fact that one of the many rounds of negotiations was held in Canada during an unpublicized Ottawa meeting from July 3 to 12, 2014.

Read the whole article here.

 

TPP 300 billion

 

 

Categories TPP

75% of Canadians have never heard of major “TPP” trade deal being negotiated in secret

OTTAWA (June 17, 2015) – Three out of four Canadians have no idea that the federal government is negotiating a huge international trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that could have serious repercussions for the country, a new poll suggests.

The poll, conducted by Environics Research Group for Trade Justice Network, found that 75 per cent of respondents had not heard of the TPP, which is being negotiated with 11 other Pacific Rim countries and would cover more than a third of the world’s trade.

The survey also found:

  • Seventy-five per cent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned that the deal is being negotiated in secret with no input from MPs, labour leaders, environmentalists or other experts.
  • Eighty-three per cent of respondents were very or somewhat concerned that the deal could include a provision allowing multinational corporations to sue Canadian governments under trade tribunals – rather than though the courts – if they feel our labour, environmental, health or other standards contravene the TPP and would lead to a loss of profits.
  • Forty-seven per cent of respondents said Canada is more likely to lose jobs under the TPP as Canadian companies move manufacturing and other jobs to low-wage countries, such as Vietnam where the average wage is 65 cents an hour. Only five per cent said Canada is more likely to gain jobs. Forty-six per cent said they didn’t know enough to say.

The survey of 1,002 Canadians was commissioned by Trade Justice Network (TJN), a coalition of social, labour, environmental, student and other groups concerned about the secrecy and anti-democratic provisions of international trade negotiations.

TJN spokesman Martin O’Hanlon said the whole process surrounding the TPP negotiation is “deeply disturbing.”

“Most Canadians have no idea that this deal is being negotiated in secret under the guidance of multinational corporations with no input from labour leaders, environmental experts or even MPs,” O’Hanlon said. “It’s frightening that this can happen in a democracy.”

One of the most troubling things about the TPP is the fact that multinational corporations would have the power to override Canadian sovereignty and sue our governments under secretive trade tribunals, O’Hanlon said.

Who else has the power to avoid the courts?” he asked. “This process effectively puts corporations above the law.”

O’Hanlon also stressed that the deal will result in the loss of thousands of Canadian jobs as manufacturers and others move work to low-wage Vietnam.

“The issue here isn’t free trade,” he said. “We support free trade. But it must be a level playing field. How can you have a fair trade deal with countries like Vietnam that pay workers 65 cents an hour and have no real health, safety, labour or environmental regulations?”

The poll, which was conducted by telephone June 3-12, is considered accurate to within 3.2 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

You can find the Trade Justice Network on Twitter (@TradeJusticeNet) and on Facebook.

For more information contact:

Martin O’Hanlon

Trade Justice Network

(613) 867-5090

Bill Gillespie

Trade Justice Network

(647) 786-4332

Categories TPP

The TPP and Canada | Fact Sheet by CCPA on the Trans Pacific Partnership

This 4-page fact sheet provides readers with background on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-country trade and investment treaty negotiation that began in 2008. The fact sheet outlines some of the issues and consequences of Canada’s involvement in the TPP, as well the kind of restrictions the TTP puts on government policy and regulation.

Download the factsheet from here.

Categories TPP

Stuart Trew unpacks the Trans-Pacific Partnership on The Agenda | CCPA

Proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal have called it an historic opportunity for Canada. But critics consider it secretive, dangerous, and even potentially undemocratic. CCPA’s Stuart Trew appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to help unpack the massive trade deal and discuss its implications and consequences for the Canadian economy.

See more here.

Categories TPP

Trading Away Health: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) | Doctors Without Boarders

Unless damaging provisions are removed before negotiations are finalized, the TPP agreement is on track to become the most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines in developing countries.

The TPP trade deal is currently being negotiated between the U.S. and ten other Pacific Rim nations. The negotiations are being conducted in secret, but leaked drafts of the agreement include aggressive intellectual property (IP) rules that would restrict access to affordable, lifesaving medicines for millions of people.

Read the whole article here.

Categories TPP

Why Canadians Have Good Reason to Be Wary of the TPP | Michael Geist

Categories TPP