What New-Style Trade Agreements Are Really About (Hint: It's Not Trade)
from the not-in-Kansas-anymore dept
Given the massive impact that new-style trade agreements like TPP and TAFTA/TTIP are likely to have on the lives of hundreds of millions of people, it’s surprising how few members of the public know about what’s being negotiated in their name. Fortunately, publications are starting to run more articles on the subject, like this great piece by David Brodwin in US News.
It offers a good discussion of the key problems with TPP — things like the lack of transparency, the absence of meaningful public participation, and the deepening loss of national sovereignty — before concluding with this excellent analysis of what’s really going on with TPP, which also applies to TAFTA/TTIP:
In a global economy, trade policy has sweeping ramifications for every sector of the economy. Decisions on trade policy are really decisions on the relative power of corporations and governments. Trade policy affects employment rates, wage levels, the availability of capital, environmental conditions, public health, and much more. We cannot allow negotiations over these vital things to be conducted by secret bodies, without public oversight, comment, and ultimately the right of the public to affirm or reject these agreements.
The nature of trade pacts has changed significantly. Once upon a time, trade negotiations were largely about countries seeking advantage over other countries, or seeking to dismantle tariffs that prevented fair and open competition. Now the negotiations are about dominant industries seeking to prevent competition rather than encourage it. The negotiations are about dominant global-scale industries seeking to undercut government efforts to regulate them in the public interest. There is no such thing as a simple “trade pact” anymore.