A Trade Rule that Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Newest Leak Shows TPP Would Do That And More.
Here Are The Cliffs Notes In Simple English.
Presumably, he will urge the deal’s passage with the same unsubstantiated and misleading claims his administration has offered all along: that the TPP will support Made-in-America exports, enforce fundamental labor rights, promote strong environmental protection, and help small business.
But a newly leaked document belies those claims. The Trans-Pacific Partnership’s text consists of a number of chapters, among the most important of which is the one on investments. On March 25, WikiLeaks released a confidential draft of that chapter dated January 20. The draft contains instructions indicating that it will be declassified only “Four years from entry into force … or, if no agreement enters into force, four years from the close of the negotiations.”
A quick reading of the leaked chapter makes it clear why TPP sponsors have gone to great lengths to keep their negotiations secret. The document substantiates claims by opponents that the TPP is a corporate-rights agreement designed to facilitate the export of U.S. jobs, allow corporations to sue governments for enacting labor and environmental protections, make it illegal for governments to favor local businesses, and advance the colonization of national economies by global corporations and financiers.
As problematic as this chapter is, we can be thankful that it is out in the open. Now the need is to understand what all the legalese means.
The leaked document includes many technical details decipherable only by trade lawyers. Here are the Cliffs Notes in simple English.
1. Favoring local ownership is prohibited
Let’s start with the Investment Chapter’s section on how the TPP’s member countries should treat foreign investors:
Each Party [country] shall accord to investors of another Party treatment no less favorable than that it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments in its territory.
Put in plain English, the above paragraph means that signatory countries renounce their right to favor the domestic ownership and control of the lands, waters, and other productive assets and services essential to the lives and well-being of their people.
The 12 countries further renounce their right to favor locally owned businesses, corporations, cooperatives, or public enterprises devoted to serving their people with good local jobs, products, and services. They must instead give equal or better treatment to global corporations that come only to extract profits.
2. Corporations must be paid to stop polluting
任何一方可征收或直接或间接地国有化一个涵盖投资通过相当于征收或国有化（“征收”）的措施，除非：（一）为公共目的; （b）以非歧视的方式; （C） 付款的及时，充分，有效的赔偿 [加着重] ...; （四）依照法律的正当程序。
类似的规定已经在北美自由贸易协定（NAFTA）的书籍。 根据 公共公民的贸易观察,
外国公司已在北美自由贸易协定带来的投资状态的情况下迄今赢得了超过360亿纳税人的钱$。 在11索赔当前未决的北美自由贸易协定，要求一共有超过十亿12.4 $，所有涉及到环境，能源，土地利用，金融，公共卫生和交通政策，而不是传统的贸易问题。
The arbitrators are private lawyers who are not accountable to any electorate. They are empowered by the TPP to order unlimited public compensation to aggrieved investors. The proceedings and the identities of the tribunal members are secret, and the resulting decisions are not subject to review by any national judicial system.
根据 “纽约时报” NAFTA tribunals, on which the ones in the TPP are modeled, even have the power to overturn judgments of national courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court. John D. Echeverria, a law professor at Georgetown University, has called this method of dispute settlement “the biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand.”
4. Speculative money must remain free
Yet another provision prohibits restrictions on movement of money from one country to another:
Each Party shall permit all transfers relating to a covered investment to be made freely and without delay into and out of its territory. …
Forms an investment may take include: (a) an enterprise; (b) shares, stock, and other forms of equity participation in an enterprise; (c) bonds, debentures, other debt instruments, and loans; (d) futures, options, and other derivatives.
Thus, the TPP guarantees the right of speculators to destabilize national economies through the manipulation of exchange rates and financial markets, without interference from national governments.
In so doing, the TPP strips national governments of the right to limit speculation in favor of investment in strong, stable, and productive national economies.
5. Corporate interests come before national ones
Another passage assures that corporations need bear no obligation to serve the interest of the people who live in the countries where they do business:
No Party may ... impose or enforce any requirement or enforce any commitment or undertaking: (a) to export a given level or percentage of goods or services; (b) to achieve a given level or percentage of domestic content; (c) to purchase, use or accord a preference to goods produced in its territory, or to purchase goods from persons in its territory.
The article continues on with six additional provisions, which together prohibit governments from requiring that a foreign investor be under any obligation to serve the host country’s people or national interest.
The 12 countries would renounce their right to favor locally owned businesses
Obama administration officials say these provisions are needed to level the playing field for American companies doing business abroad. This raises an important question: What is an American company?
The Institute for Policy Studies 报道说， U.S. corporations and their subsidiaries currently hold $2.1 trillion in profits offshore to avoid paying taxes to the government of the United States. These include highly profitable companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, General Electric, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron. One wonders on what basis we should consider these globe-spanning, tax-dodging, job-exporting corporations to be American.
Approval of the TPP means sacrificing our democracy and our right to manage our markets and resources for the public good. And for what gain? To secure rights for corporations—which claim an American identity only when convenient—to exploit the peoples and resources of other countries that have signed the same nefarious agreement.
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David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES!Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group总统， Living Economies Forum, an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and a member of the Club of Rome. His books include the international best-seller 当企业统治世界, which will be released in an updated 20th anniversary edition in June 2015.