from the national-sovereignty,-who-needs-it? dept
One of the myths perpetuated by governments taking part in major international treaty negotiations like ACTA, TPP and TAFTA/TTIP is that somehow no national sovereignty is given up during the process, and that therefore the public shouldn't worry about what goes on in those secret meetings. That's clearly absurd, because negotiations involve concessions, usually by the weaker parties, which often touch on national competences.
The reality -- that smaller countries lose some of their autonomy -- is illustrated starkly by what has just happened in New Zealand, as reported by The National Business Review:
New Zealand's copyright laws were meant to be reviewed this year, five years after the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act in 2008. The government, has decided not to stick to this timetable, waiting instead to know what terms it may have to agree to under the TPP.
That is, instead of consulting with the New Zealand public and other stakeholders about what form copyright fit for the digital age might take, the government there has cancelled all discussions, and is waiting meekly to be instructed by the TPP negotiators -- the US, in other words -- what changes they will be required to make to their legislation in order to comply with the treaty.
To add insult to injury, it seems that the New Zealand government won't even explain why exactly its electorate is being deprived of any say in the laws that will govern it:
Papers released under the Official Information Act last week reveal that the government will delay the 2013 copyright law review until "TPP negotiations have concluded". The reasons given for the delay have been removed from the public version of the document.
That really sums up the TPP negotiations: conducted in secret, coming to decisions that are then imposed on the public for reasons they are not allowed to know, regardless of previous plans and promises made by their governments. No wonder more and more people view trade agreements as lacking in any kind of legitimacy. Expect the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations to be exactly the same -- and for the same fatuous claims to be made by those taking part that national sovereignty is not being surrendered.