Proposed international trade rules would give corporations the power to overrule governments

Posted on June 18, 2012

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(NaturalNews) As long and as hard as some nations (especially the United States) have fought through the years to achieve and maintain independence, it’s mind-boggling to think they would ever voluntarily surrender that sovereignty. And yet, many seem willing to do just that, according to newly exposed international trade rules that would give transnational corporations the kind of rights once reserved only for governments.

According to a report from the Citizens Trade Campaign (CTC), a “national coalition of environmental, labor, consumer, family farm, religious, and other civil society groups founded in 1992 to improve the North American Free Trade Agreement,” transnational corporations would be given unprecedented authority to resolve trade disputes.

Under the rules, which were drafted by a collective of nine nations working to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which – according to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Web site is “an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values” – international corporations would have “special authority to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions in international tribunals that circumvent domestic judicial systems,” the CTC said.

Another NAFTA for another time

In November 2009, President Obama announced the United States’ intention to participate in the TPP with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam, ostensibly to “enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs,” the USTR said.

There have been 12 rounds of negotiations since then; the next scheduled round will be held in San Diego July 2-10, according to the USTR Web site.

But while the premise of the TPP may sound admirable – boosting U.S. exports to Asia while creating American jobs – the devil, as usual, is in the details, CTC points out.

“Americans deserve the right to know what U.S. negotiators are proposing in our names,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of CTC. “In the absence of transparency on the part of our government, we have a responsibility to share what information we receive about the TPP with the public.”

Stamoulis certainly has a point about transparency. Have youheard of the TPP? Few Americans have.

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