The Latest Never Ending Adventures in Corporatism Via the TPP

What a world, what a world, what a world.  Wikileaks has published more secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement documents, revealing more and more how the United States represents large corporations and not the citizens of the nation.  The Huffington Post said it best.  They published a large front page photo of President Obama with the glaring headline, Company Man.  Ain't it the truth generally but this story is on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade treaty.  Seems Obama is hell bent on making sure large multinational pharmaceutical companies maintain a monopoly on prescription drugs and their prices.  Another intent is to override international as well as national law by supplanting current laws and courts via the TPP trade treaty terms.

The Obama administration is insisting on mandating new intellectual property rules in the treaty that would grant pharmaceutical companies long-term monopolies on new medications. As a result, companies can charge high prices without regard to competition from generic providers.

The same article exposes just an astounding development in the TPP, a private international court which would then supersede current international law, all under the guise of trade.

One of the most controversial provisions in the talks includes new corporate empowerment language insisted upon by the U.S. government, which would allow foreign companies to challenge laws or regulations in a privately run international court.

Even within the confines of yet another bad trade deal, the United States stands alone as the bad guy negotiator.  This is quite a feat considering trade agreements are written by and for multinational corporations in the first place.  There is even a chart exposing how the United States stands alone in their demands for what is included in the TPP.

In fact, a leaked chart detailing countries’ positions last month on the most contentious issues shows that the United States stands alone among TPP countries on 1 out of every 4 controversial issues. In each of these contentious areas, all other TPP countries that have taken a position have rejected U.S. demands. If adding issues in which the U.S. position is shared by just one or two of the 11 other negotiating partners, more than 40% of the unresolved issues constitute unpopular demands made by the United States, often at the behest of corporate interests.

The Obama administration hypocrisy cup doth floweth over over on this one.  Just recently the Obama talking points personnel were on cable TV extolling Obamcare and prattling on about income inequality.  Meanwhile, while behind the scenes, the Obama administration is demanding the worst trade deal in history for regular people.

One document describes deep divisions between the United States and other nations, and "great pressure" being exerted by the US negotiators to move other nations to their position. The other document lists, country-by-country, the many areas of disagreement remaining. It covers intellectual property and thirteen other chapters of the draft agreement. This suggests that the TPP negotiations can only be concluded if the Asia-Pacific countries back down on key national interest issues, otherwise the treaty will fail altogether.

Firedoglake describes some of the more outrageous agenda against generic drugs.  America even wants to have jail time for minor copyright infringements.

The US has been and remains the only country to support its own proposal to establish criminal offenses for “unintentional infringements of copyright, related rights and trademarks.” All countries, after Salt Lake City, oppose the United States’ current proposals or positions on pharmaceuticals.
When it comes to “term of protection” for copyright and “parallel importation,” only the US accepts the proposals that are being considered. An example of “parallel importation,” as described by the World Health Organization, is as follows:

"…in Mozambique 100 units of Bayer’s ciprofloxacin (500mg) costs US$740, but in India Bayer sells the same drug for US$15 (owing to local generic competition). Mozambique can import the product from India without Bayer’s consent…"

Giant US pharmaceutical companies probably do not approve of impoverished Mozambicans being able to get the drugs at a cheaper price so they naturally have advised the US government to press for new regulations that would increase profits (regardless of whether more Mozambicans die infections).Only the US supports the “whole chapter” of the agreement on “dispute settlement.” There is also a “US proposal for entry into force,” whatever that might mean—and the US is the only country that supports it.

The TPP also seeks to override financial regulation, no surprise and yes a global financial economic Armageddon does not give these people pause to think.

The U.S. is also facing major resistance on bank regulation standards. The Obama administration is seeking to curtail the use of "capital controls" by foreign governments. These can include an extremely broad variety of financial tools, from restricting lending in overheated markets to denying mass international outflows of currency during a financial panic. The loss of these tools would dramatically limit the ability of governments to prevent and stem banking crises.

"The positions are still paralyzed," the December memo reads, referring to the Financial Services Chapter. "The United States shows zero flexibility."

This trade agreement also brings back SOPA again after it was killed in Congress by public outcry.  The Guardian listed even more problems and they include a secret chapter on labor rights.

Earlier Democrats raised Cain about trade promotion authority, a sham way to ramrod trade treaties through Congress that the Obama administration is pushing hard for.  Yet in spite of the Democratic brouhaha, Bloomberg is reporting Congress has caved and will approve fast track.  In other words, if a trade deal is reached in TPP, Congress will rubber stamp pass it, no questions asked.

House and Senate lawmakers are close to agreeing on a bill that would give President Barack Obama authority to negotiate trade agreements free of congressional amendments, according to two people familiar with the talks. Congressional negotiators, who have worked for months on legislation to renew what’s known as fast-track authority for the president, may introduce a bill within days, the people said. It almost certainly wouldn’t come up for a vote before year’s end, given the time left on the calendar, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private talks. The Obama administration is pressing for fast-track authority -- formally known as trade-promotion authority -- as it attempts to hammer out a Pacific-region trade agreement with 11 other nations in the coming days. Trade ministers from nations drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership will meet in Singapore from Dec. 7-9 to try to put the finishing touches on the pact before the end of the year.

This situation is so odious, even the Pope is speaking out.  Multinational corporations are out to circumvent even international law through trade agreements so the message is clear, humanity be damned.  Despite the large public outcry little looks to stop TPP unless the other 11 nations simply refuse to the terms.  The treaty is huge, includes Australia, New Zealand, the US, Peru, Chile, Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan and will cover 40% of global GDP.  The only hope is the other nations simply say not so fast and stop the agreement.  There is a glimmer considering how the United States is the only country insisting on some of these outrageous agendas.  For example on just intellectual property rights there are 119 outstanding issues being negotiated.  That said, when multinational corporations want something no nation on Earth dares stand in their way these days.  Odds are, once again, citizens of the globe and all of humanity will probably lose and this deal is passed.

What the above also goes to show, not matter how bad something is for the nation and America people, the Obama administration will stop at nothing to kowtow to the demands of multinational corporations.  As the Huffington Post said, Obama is purely a Company Man and the people clearly are perceived as simply a public relations problem.  In other words, the people of the nation are simply something to spin, not actually represent.




so Krugman finally chimed up with a piece about TPP basically saying "nothing to see here move along"

I cannot fathom that this champion of US leftist economics does not understand the damage free trade has done to working class americans ,,,?

somebody please explain! for all i can tell he doesn't descend from his ivory tower to see what free trade has really delivered ...

thank you

well, Krugman is wrong

He has a tendency to deny the damage done by trade, in part because his dissertation was on some of this theory and he won the Nobel Prize for trade pattern theory. Uh, unfortunately this has a tendency to dismiss the "localized pockets of disruption", which well, are nation-states, not just local industries, firms and towns. It does that as things "adjust", certain "local economies" will be "negatively impacted" and certain "sectors", but oh, those will enable creation of "new industries" which are "more competitive".

For those interested, the Krugman post is here, but he dismisses the corporate monopoly on IP and especially drug patents.

He is trying to compare this to the China PNTR or NAFTA but ignores the massive increase in the trade deficit, especially from the China PNTR. He's just looking at tariffs, seems he just blew off the sweetheart corporate deals in any of these agreements.

So, he is saying this is small potatoes due to those large bad trade deals but that is wrong in that TPP protests are really about ALL of these trade deals.

He's also missing the point in that large multinational corporations are writing and circumventing national policy again through trade.

Dean Baker Answers Paul Krugman on TPP

Speak of the devil, Economist Dean Baker points out almost exactly my previous comment, how corporations are trying to wipe out generic drugs which will kill millions and hold the globe hostage on prescription drug prices. He also mentions more attempts to circumvent environmental law through TPP.

Generally speaking Baker is worth reading, he nails issues over and over, quick study.

krugman replies...


thank you

yes i saw his reply today... the whole matter is to me, Krugman as a self-proclaimed progressive, he hasn't, or at least i have not seen it, acknowledged the damage to the middle class that is so obvious to us here on the ground delivered by "free trade"... at lease my ground anyway

perhaps the good professor should descend from his ivory tower and take a walk about Detroit, Camden New Jersey, Bridgeport CT to name a very few (Gary Indiana??)

here we have perhaps the loudest voice in progressive economics who staked his claim on free trade for his nobel prize and for all the evidence, it looks to be a massive failure ... now i'm not proclaiming to understand if his theory lines up with US policy, but he certainly was FOR free trade.

As the good professor himself has claimed in his own posts, economist's should acknowledge when their models do not accurately predict outcomes and change them accordingly ... perhaps Mr. Krugman should reevaluate his models and suck it up nobel prize be damned

subscription, login

We need to stop linking to the New York Times, they are requiring logins and other to read even the most basic thing, irritating.

not my experience

sorry, i didn't know there was any trouble...i can read any NYT article that someone else links to without login or interference...however, since i dont subscribe, i cant go directly to their site and read articles of my own choosing


Astonishing omission on TPP

Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel, who was responsible for negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), stated simply that "we have no position" on democracy.

Is Robert Reich a Fraud?

You’ve likely run across the media blitz on Robert Reich’s documentary "Inequality for All".

Naked Capitalism: "He didn’t just support NAFTA in 1993. He specifically claimed it would produce more jobs." Robert Reich also pushes for new immigration in an over-saturated job market, where H-1B visa are being used to displace American workers.

One wouldn't get that from his movie, but you

sure get it from his writing and interviews.

Typical Corporate Liberal Politics

This is so common as a technique among so called liberals. They take an important issue, such as income inequality and then promote policies claiming to improve the situation when in fact they caused it or will make it much, much worse. Not to be left out, that's an upside down technique of conservatives too. (They will help people by cutting social security and food stamps).

That's a scathing call out on Reich by NC, but I read it and I'm pretty certain the facts are accurate.