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Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:14 AM

 

If you are against the TPP as it currently is, what specific changes to what areas within it,

could make you into a supporter?

Link to full text:

https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership/tpp-full-text

Links to sites opposing and supporting it:

Pro:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/economy/trade

https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/TPP-Detailed-Summary-of-US-Objectives.pdf

https://www.uschamber.com/international/international-policy/support-the-trans-pacific-partnership

http://www.tppcoalition.org/about/

Anti- TPP:

http://www.citizen.org/TPP

http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Free-Trade-Agreement-TPP

http://www.sierraclub.org/trade/trans-pacific-partnership

http://infojustice.org/archives/category/trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership

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Reply If you are against the TPP as it currently is, what specific changes to what areas within it, (Original post)
cali Aug 2016 OP
enough Aug 2016 #1
cali Aug 2016 #2
Egnever Aug 2016 #8
cali Aug 2016 #10
riderinthestorm Aug 2016 #11
cali Aug 2016 #12
Egnever Aug 2016 #14
cali Aug 2016 #17
Egnever Aug 2016 #19
True Dough Aug 2016 #3
think Aug 2016 #4
cali Aug 2016 #5
cali Aug 2016 #6
Egnever Aug 2016 #7
strategery blunder Aug 2016 #15
Egnever Aug 2016 #16
strategery blunder Aug 2016 #18
Egnever Aug 2016 #9
uponit7771 Aug 2016 #13

Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:16 AM

1. Great post, cali. (nt)

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Response to enough (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:19 AM

2. thank you. I know what I'd need and which chapters I think are particularly pernicious

 

I'd like to know what bothers or boosters confidence for others.

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Response to cali (Reply #2)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 01:06 PM

8. Please expand on the chapters you find pernicious

 

That is what I would truly like to hear.


Vague disagreements are difficult to contend with.

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Response to Egnever (Reply #8)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 03:36 PM

10. The I/P chapter, particularly when it comes to evergreening.

 

The Investment chapter and the adherence to the ISDS process in which lawyers go from advocating for corporation(s) to adjudicating cases. I'm not against the ISDA process in theory, but it needs changes. The significant rise in the number of corporations with access to the ISDS process.

The environmental chapter: There is not one environmental organization that I'm aware of that is supporting it. 1,500, led by the Sierra Club, oppose it.

The lack of protection for LGBT persons- including countries in the deal who persecute LGBT persons- like Malaysia.

Anemic enforcement for labor provisions- see Vietnam

Anemic enforcement of Environmental provisions.

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Response to cali (Reply #10)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 03:53 PM

11. None of those are minor tweaks.

 

TPP will accelerate climate change imo.

K&R. Expecially for those complaining there's too much Trump talk here and not enough policy discussions.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #11)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 04:03 PM

12. Imo, it needs such a major overhaul, it's essentially

 

Unsalvageable.

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Response to cali (Reply #10)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:55 PM

14. Not sure how the ISDS could be any fairer

 

Each party has their own rep on the panel and one agreed to by both parties. Your characterization of it is a little hyperbolic IMHO.

The environmental groups complaint seems to be that it does not go far enough. That is much different than it being disastrous. I don't think there is an argument that it improves on what currently exists even as it doesn't go far enough. However the door is left wide open for countries to strengthen their environmental laws without fear of it affecting the agreement.


LGBT legislation would be a sure loser for the over all agreement. Unless you are purposely trying to blow it up. Clearly there are countries that need to work on all sorts of bigotry including our own. Putting something in you know will be objected to would not be any way to come to an agreement. I am not saying that makes it right but like I said we have a long way to go on this subject ourselves with the likes of Kim Davis and her crowd.

I wouldn't characterize Labor provision enforcement in Vietnam Anemic considering they have to reach a certain level of compliance before the agreement takes effect for them. Beyond that here is an article that I found interesting on it.

http://thediplomat.com/2016/04/the-tpp-a-win-for-vietnams-workers/

The TPP: A Win for Vietnam's Workers

In the last decade, free trade agreements (FTAs) have expanded to cover more than traditional commercial matters like tariff reductions. Recent FTAs have increasingly included labor requirements to protect workers, especially in countries where companies pursue low-cost production through depressed wages, poor working conditions, and other subpar labor standards. This has dramatic effects on countries like Vietnam, where I have practiced law for 20 years. But even though FTAs regulating labor matters have increased dramatically in recent years, from four agreements in 1995 to 72 by 2015, Vietnam has refused to commit to labor requirements in FTAs — until now.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the first trade agreement to subject Vietnam to enforceable labor commitments like freedom of association, collective bargaining, and minimum work conditions. Additionally, Vietnam signed a labor implementation plan with the United States that identifies specific actions needed to comply with TPP and which are subject to an additional layer of enforcement. It is clear TPP lives up to its name as a “21st century agreement,” enacting the strongest labor provisions of any trade deal, giving the opportunity to improve living standards and the quality of work for Vietnam’s people. These advances range across a number of different areas:


On the IP portion I would agree that I don't much like it. Having said that I am not a huge fan of IP protection in general. I think it does more harm than good as it is currently implemented. The TPP actually shortens current IP lengths in most cases as it compares to current US law though so it is an improvement in my opinion. It likely makes them longer in some participatory countries or even put them in place where they weren't before so on the one hand an improvement and on the other not so much. That said a lot of what america produces these days is IP material it accounts for a large portion of our jobs according to the patents and trade office

On April 11, 2012, the U.S. Commerce Department released a comprehensive report, entitled "Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus," which found that intellectual property (IP)-intensive industries support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to, or 34.8 percent of, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP).


That is a huge portion of our economy and that is an old number. There is in my opinion good reason to protect IPs I still feel the terms are too long but I do recognize the need for some sort of protection period. That said the effect this might have on developing countries that are signing on may end up creating a lack of access to ip protected material.

The Ip portion is tricky and I am not really sure how I feel about it and it's myriad impacts. I am not by any means convinced it is something that should be painted as a construct of the evil empire either.


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Response to Egnever (Reply #14)

Tue Aug 16, 2016, 02:56 AM

17. Here:

 

<snip>

Some years ago, The New York Times notoriously described investment arbitration proceedings under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the following terms:
Their meetings are secret. Their members are generally unknown. The decisions they reach need not be fully disclosed. Yet the way a small number of international tribunals handles disputes between investors and foreign governments has led to national laws being revoked, justice systems questioned and environmental regulations challenged.6


Many scholars raise issues of impartiality of arbitrators, suggesting that arbitral decision-making is biased, apparently favouring investors and multinationals against states and weaker parties such as consumers and employees.7 Some countries have cited apparent bias of international arbitration as a reason to withdraw from the 1965 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.8

More recently, the 2013 UNCTAD Report on Recent Developments in Investor-State Dispute Settlement stated ‘the continuing trend of investors challenging generally applicable public policies, contradictory decisions issued by tribunals, an increasing number of dissenting opinions, concerns about arbitrators’ potential conflicts of interest all illustrate the problems inherent in the system [of international arbitration]’.9


<snip>

http://jids.oxfordjournals.org/content/4/3/553.full

<snip>

Comprised of three private attorneys, the extrajudicial tribunals are authorized to order unlimited sums of taxpayer compensation for health, environmental, financial and other public interest policies seen as frustrating the corporations' expectations. The amount is based on the "expected future profits" the tribunal surmises that the corporation would have earned in the absence of the public policy it is attacking. There is no outside appeal. Many of these attorneys rotate between acting as tribunal "judges" and as the lawyers launching cases against the government on behalf of the corporations. Under this system, foreign corporations are provided greater rights than domestic firms.

This extreme "investor-state" system already has been included in a series of U.S. "trade" deals, forcing taxpayers to hand more than $440 million to corporations for toxics bans, land-use rules, regulatory permits, water and timber policies and more. Under a similar pact, a tribunal recently ordered payment of more than $2 billion to a multinational oil firm. Just under U.S. deals, more than $34 billion remains pending in corporate claims against medicine patent policies, pollution cleanup requirements, climate and energy laws, and other public interest policies. Continue reading...

http://www.citizen.org/investorcases

As for Vietnam, the labor enforcement provisions supposedly in place to allow for labor representation and the formation of unions, is a joke:

<snip>

Human Rights Watch and others have expressed concerns that the agreement’s labor chapter and associated bilateral agreements will not adequately safeguard labor rights in TPP countries with poor labor rights records, notably Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. Although the Consistency Plan agreements are important to motivate much-needed reform, the extent to which they will be implemented or enforced is unclear, particularly given poor enforcement of labor rights provisions in other trade agreements and under each country’s domestic laws.

<snip>

The labor chapter requires all TPP members to meet core international standards on labor rights as set out in International Labour Organization (ILO) regulations. Additionally, as mentioned previously, the US has negotiated separate Consistency Plans with Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei.

A major concern about the TPP’s labor chapter is that it can only be enforced by governments. The TPP empowers member countries to bring legal disputes against other member countries for violating the labor chapter’s terms. But while unions, labor advocacy groups, and trade federations could lobby or petition the US or other governments to take formal action to enforce the TPP’s provisions, they will not be able to file a complaint under the agreement. This contrasts sharply with investors and corporations, who can bring dispute settlement proceedings against member countries under the agreement’s provisions on Investor-State Dispute Resolution (ISDR) mechanisms.

<snip>
https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/01/12/qa-trans-pacific-partnership

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Response to cali (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 17, 2016, 03:22 AM

19. Interesting links thanks

 

I think fair points as well.


Some thoughts

The first link is in reference to NAFTA not TPP though it does concern the arbitration proceedings TPP changes them to be more transparent.

The Rules of Procedure, established under this Agreement in accordance with
Article 27.2.1(f) (Functions of the Commission), shall ensure that:
(a) disputing Parties have the right to at least one hearing before the
panel at which each may present views orally;
(b) subject to subparagraph (f), any hearing before the panel shall be
open to the public, unless the disputing Parties agree otherwise
;
(c) each disputing Party has an opportunity to provide an initial and a
rebuttal written submission;
(d) subject to subparagraph (f), each disputing Party shall:
(i) make its best efforts to release to the public its written
submissions, written version of an oral statement and
written response to a request or question from the panel, if
any, as soon as possible after those documents are filed;
and
(ii) if not already released, release all these documents by the
time the final report of the panel is issued
;
(e) the panel shall consider requests from non-governmental entities
located in the territory of a disputing Party to provide written views
28-13
regarding the dispute that may assist the panel in evaluating the
submissions and arguments of the disputing Parties;
(f) confidential information is protected;
(g) written submissions and oral arguments shall be made in English,
unless the disputing Parties agree otherwise; and
(h) unless the disputing Parties agree otherwise, hearings shall be held
in the capital of the responding Party.

Considering the complaints of the first article this should be a welcome change.


The second link excerpt you posted states

the extrajudicial tribunals are authorized to order unlimited sums of taxpayer compensation for health, environmental, financial and other public interest policies seen as frustrating the corporations


The TPP specifically recognizes the right of nations to improve health and environmental laws

RECOGNISE their inherent right to regulate and resolve to preserve the
flexibility of the Parties to set legislative and regulatory priorities,
safeguard public welfare, and protect legitimate public welfare objectives,
such as public health, safety, the environment, the conservation of living
or non-living exhaustible natural resources, the integrity and stability of
the financial system and public morals;
RECOGNISE further their inherent right to adopt, maintain or modify
health care systems;


On the third one while I think it is correct that labor can not bring a suit directly I am not sure how a suit from a corporation would be brought against labor. Unless you think they would be complaining the labor standards were too high?

I think it would make much more sense that competitors would complain that the countries are not enforcing labor standards and therefore are essentially subsidizing their competitor.

It does provide for reviews of labor standards and sets up councils for those reviews that are accessible to the public. It also provides a mechanism for the public or interest groups to file concerns that are public and must be considered.

I don't think it is perfect by any means but I do think it improves in a lot of areas over existing treaties and takes many steps in the right direction. Yes I agree parts could be stronger but in many areas it improves on what is currently in place.

Thanks again for the links they were interesting reading

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:19 AM

3. I need to learn more about the TPP

Bookmarking this thread for later. Thanks!

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:24 AM

4. Progressive Caucus Releases Trade Principles that Put Workers First in Trade Agreements

 

Progressive Caucus Releases Trade Principles that Put Workers First in Trade Agreements

3/4/15
WASHINGTON –The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released broad principles today to establish standards for U.S. trade policy that put workers first, balance trade deficits, and improve labor and environmental protections around the world. The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes it is possible to negotiate a trade agreement that doesn’t replicate the mistakes of the past, and instead creates a new model for trade, promoting balanced growth for the global economy.

The text of the executive summary is below and the full version can be viewed here.

Principles for Trade: A Model for Global Progress

America’s current trade policy fails working families while increasing profits for the world’s largest corporations. Trade agreements should create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world. The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes the following principles can ensure fairer trade agreements by prioritizing middle class families and removing special protections and privileges for corporations:

Protect Congress’ Authority to Set Trade Policy

Restore Balanced trade

Put Workers First

Stop Currency Manipulation

Expand Buy America Procurement Practices

Protect the Environment for Future Generations

Prioritize Consumers above Profits

Protect Nationhood Rights

Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services

Respect Human Rights

Provide a Safety Net for Vulnerable Workers


Since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, the United States has lost millions of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, wages have stagnated, and the standard of living for working families has dropped.

Outside of the United States, misguided trade policies are devastating both rural and urban communities in emerging nations, from the displacement of millions of small farmers in Mexico to low wages and terrible conditions for garment factory workers in Honduras. Trade agreements that destroy local livelihoods and provide workers with little economic opportunity create strong incentives for immigration to the United States. U.S. trade policy must focus on creating economic opportunity for working people in the United States and abroad, not only on maximizing short-term profits for large corporations.

The United States negotiates some of the world’s largest trade agreements. These deals must put working families and our environment first. The United States must stop using trade agreements as investment deals for the world’s wealthiest corporations and instead prioritize higher wages, safer work and environmental standards, and a healthier world economy.

Source:
https://cpc-grijalva.house.gov/hot-topics/progressive-caucus-releases-trade-principles-that-put-workers-first-in-trade-agreements1/

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Response to think (Reply #4)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 11:39 AM

5. Thanks. Fantastic link

 

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 12:26 PM

6. kick for E

 

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 12:59 PM

7. Thanks for the post

 

Now having said that the first anti is nonsense. No evidence of any of their claims other than "it's worse than we thought!" When you do go to the links it does have it gets worse.

Here is just one example...

The TPP would make it easier for corporations to offshore American jobs. The TPP includes
investor protections that reduce the risks and costs of relocating production to low wage countries.
The pro-free-trade Cato Institute considers these terms a subsidy on offshoring, noting that they lower
the risk premium of relocating to venues that American firms might otherwise consider


I guess if you consider protections from trade agreement changes that were agreed to when the deal was put into place you could frame it the way this article tries to. That is clearly ridiculous as what it is really attempting to do is assure that trade is not subject to government interference through preferential treatment for state owned companies or by creating barriers that favor one company over another through separate legislation put in place after the investment is made. I supoose you could call that a subsidy on offshoring if you stretch the truth to near breaking levels but it is far from honest. Without the TPP are we suddenly going to stop buying crap from China? Of course not, manufacturing loses to other countries is unavoidable. TPP or no TPP we like cheap crap no matter how loud we want to scream about loss of manufacturing jobs try raising the price on the cheap crap and watch the howling begin.

Yup the TPP ensures companies don't invest millions into a country only to see their investment destroyed by legislation after the fact. I suppose you can call that a corporate subsidy but you would be stretching the truth.


Second anti article was written before the text was even released so that one should be discounted immediately. Third is the same. And the fourth is just a blurb on New Zealand seeking clarification woith no substance at all. The fact that you are having trouble finding anti articles from after the text was released should tell you something.

Having said that I am open to see some valid criticism with more than just it's bad maybe some actual breakdown of the sections that are so troubling would be helpful.

On the pro side notice both the white house link and the ustr.gov link both break down the actual agreement. Something completely lacking in the Anti sites. The third pro link from the chamber is useless. Just like the anti it is rah rah with no substance, as is the final pro link.

I hope that is not an example of what formed your opinion. With exception of the two government pro links you posted the rest are substance free rah rah from one side or the other.



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Response to Egnever (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 16, 2016, 01:06 AM

15. TPP addresses a problem here, but goes so far that it creates another.

I understand why it is necessary to dissuade countries from expropriating FDI that is already in progress, whether that be through overt nationalization or simply changing the rules arbitrarily after the fact to make such FDI not feasible.

I do agree that a corporation in such a situation should be able to recover what it has invested from the offending nation. ISDS is perhaps an appropriate venue for that. However, the appropriate remedy would be for the corporation to recover what it has lost and be made whole for its suddenly non-performing investment, NOT for such corporation to extrapolate years and years of profits it expected to make in the future and demand the host country cough up several years of "expected profits" that were never actually booked.

Would we as Americans be thrilled if Keystone XL came suing us through a NAFTA tribunal for 99 years' worth of "expected profits" from running oil through the Keystone XL pipeline that the Obama administration declined to approve? I would suspect the American taxpayers would be none too happy with that, and what with the recovery of "expected profits" and all, who knows what paper "losses" ambitious and greedy corporations would dream up?

I don't have a problem with playing by a fair set of rules, but lets keep the ISDS lawsuits to that which is provable and quantifiable, please.

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Response to strategery blunder (Reply #15)

Tue Aug 16, 2016, 02:40 AM

16. Interesting

 

I was not aware that the TPP allowed for lost earnings going forward. I agree with you that companies should be made whole not compensated.

Is that not what the panel is there to decide in the dispute?

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Response to Egnever (Reply #16)

Tue Aug 16, 2016, 09:31 AM

18. One of the major objections to TPP is allowing corporations to sue for expected profits,

not just being made whole after some action from a participant country inflicts a loss.

If Corporation X makes some investment that is severely damaged by some rules change from Country Y, I have no objection to Corporation X suing Country Y to recover the loss.

I do have a problem with Corporation X suing Country Y to recover the loss PLUS some arbitrary amount of future "expected profits" that cannot be proven because the profits have not yet been realized. That would especially be the case when such investment is very late in the development phase, i.e. much capital has been expended upon it, but has not yet generated revenue. The corporation should be able to recover what it expended on the project (including the cost of repaying any loans it took out to make the investment) plus legal costs, but NOT the revenue or profits that it had been expecting from it as the latter is impossible to prove. The latter is what TPP permits; it removes nearly all risk from foreign investment, and is one of the major objections to it (along with IP sticking points, expressly permitting"evergreening" patents to keep medicines expensive for longer, and so on).

Even worse is what happens when Corporation X makes an investment in Country Y and it just flops? Like say, Target in Canada to use an actual example? (That only lasted a couple years before Target withdrew because of low sales in Canada.) Would TPP then invite Corporation X's lawyers to troll for some minor legislative change that they could sue and try to pin their entire loss on, when the loss was really due to market forces and Country Y was not at fault? Patent trolling is already a thing in the US, and I could see similar "investment trolling" occurring under TPP's overly permissive rules towards protecting investments.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 01:48 PM

9. Just because this is sinking like a rock..

 

Here is one thing I like about the TPP. As it stands now we compete largely with China a country that has government subsidies for a large portion of the businesses we compete with. TPP looks to end that by shifting as much trade as possible to countries that under the agreement can not have that same advantage.

I also like the environmental agreements and while I think they could be stronger it is a good first step and far better than nothing at all. It leaves a lot of room to strengthen environmental protections as well carving out environmental legislation that is stronger than what the TPP calls for to be immune from the arbitration that other legislation would be subject to. So while the floor is not as high as i would like it the ceiling is non existent.

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Response to cali (Original post)

Mon Aug 15, 2016, 04:14 PM

13. Strengthen the displacement laws, if they weren't so weak then outsourcing jobs would be harder

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