现代贸易协定旨在规避麻烦的劳工,环境和健康法

现代贸易协定旨在规避麻烦的劳工,环境和健康法(被驴Hotey下Creative Commons许可)

如果一个贸易协定​​,旨在保护和培育劳动力而不是资本?

五月8th耐克的总部,美国总统奥巴马 谴责 竞争激烈的跨太平洋伙伴关系作为对手不了解情况。 “(C)ritics警告说,这种交易的部分会削弱美国的监管...... .They're使这个东西了。 这仅仅是不正确的。 没有贸易协定是要迫使我们改变我们的法律。“

五月18th世界贸易组织(WTO)发布了有利于加拿大和墨西哥的最终裁决涉及要求对牛肉,猪肉,鸡肉和其他肉类的套餐国家的原产地标签的美国法律的情况。 该三名法官组成的WTO专家组超过3十亿$估计的经济损失。 这些由加拿大和墨西哥入狱作为一个潜在的各种各样美国产业对征收报复性关税,从“加州葡萄酒明尼苏达床垫,”作为丽思格里,农业部加拿大总理 预测.

“为美,以避免数十亿美元的直接报复的唯一途径是废除COOL,”丽兹 公布.

国会赶紧遵守。 当天世贸组织公布了裁决众议员迈克尔·康威(R-TX)提出立法推翻COOL法律。 六月10th众议院压倒性 通过 该法案,300-131。

凉爽的决定及其几乎是立竿见影的立法影响,实时展示了美国总统奥巴马的言论不准确。 围绕12环太平洋国家与世界经济的百分之40的跨太平洋伙伴关系将是贸易协定以来最大世贸组织在1995形成。 但把它称为一个贸易协定​​是既准确和误导它让人想起了在很大程度上针对关税协议的图像。 这已不再是这种情况。 TPP的29章草稿, 5交易与传统的贸易问题。

Modern trade agreements have less to do with trade than with national sovereignty. The primary focus of modern trade agreements is the elimination of existing laws that govern commerce.

The decision about whether a country can force the livestock industry to reveal where their animals were reared and slaughtered is behind us. Currently under consideration by the WTO is whether a country can force businesses that sell a lethal product to make the packaging of that product unattractive.

The product is tobacco. Before the 1990s the US government actively assisted American tobacco companies in opening up markets in Asia by threatening trade fights with countries like Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea that refused to overturn domestic laws impeding companies from using sophisticated marketing techniques.

In the 1970s and 1980s, as evidence of the malignant effects of tobacco accumulated states and cities began to enact anti-smoking initiatives. In the 1990’s lawsuits by states resulted in a $200 billion settlement with tobacco companies based on concrete evidence that they had willfully kept from the American public the evidence that smoking can and in many cases does cripple or kill.

The increasingly schizophrenic nature of US tobacco policies led Congresses’ General Accounting Office (GAO) to issue a 报告 aptly titled: Dichotomy Between U.S. Tobacco Export Policy and Antismoking Initiatives. The GAO asked lawmakers to clarify which values would guide their decision-making. “If the Congress believes that trade concerns should predominate, then it should do nothing to alter the current trade policy process. The U.S. government can simultaneously continue to actively help U.S. cigarette exporters overcome foreign trade barriers and promote awareness of the dangers of smoking and further restrict the circumstances in which smoking may take place,” it advised. “If Congress believes that health considerations should have primacy, the Congress could grant the Department of Health and Human Services the responsibility to decide whether to pursue trade initiatives involving products with substantial adverse health consequences.”

At the end of his term President Bill Clinton issued an executive order forbidding the US government to advocate on tobacco’s behalf.

But by that time we had helped launch a new planetary organization, the WTO and new trade rules that for the first time allowed corporations to sue countries directly for damages caused by regulations. Adding insult to injury their suit would be heard in a new extra territorial judicial system comprised largely of judges who has been trade lawyers often representing corporations similar to those who would come before them.

(In this new judicial system, largely designed by corporations, there is no conflict of interest. Indeed, the head of the three-judge WTO panel that decided the COOL case had 服务 as Mexico’s deputy General Counsel for Trade Negotiations for a decade and had acted as Mexico’s lead counsel in several WTO disputes.)

As countries began to follow the lead of the United States and enact significant restrictions on tobacco products the tobacco companies repeatedly sued under this new judicial system, claiming economic damages for the violation of their copyrights, the diminishing value of their brand name and the expropriation of their intellectual property.

Sometimes tobacco companies sue countries directly, as in the case of Uruguay and Australia. Sometimes they do so indirectly by paying some or all of the legal costs of suits brought by countries like Honduras, Indonesia, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

In May 2014 the WTO appointed a panel to review the many tobacco product-related lawsuits. It expects to issue a final ruling during the second half of 2016.

Given the sordid history of tobacco companies abusing their newly gained ability to sue governments directly President Obama initially was not going to allow that ability to be expanded to 12 additional countries through the TPP. In September 2013 the “华盛顿邮报” editorialized, “Initially the Obama administration favored a TPP provision exempting individual nations’ tobacco regulations…from legal attack as ‘non-tariff barriers’ to the free flow of goods. The idea was that, when it comes to controlling a uniquely dangerous product, there’s no such thing as ‘protectionism’.”

But Obama later backtracked and the TPP will simply require governments to consult before challenging each other’s tobacco rules and still allows tobacco companies to mount legal challenges.

So far the tobacco lawsuits have not targeted the United State, but that could change. Thomas Bollyky, a former US trade negotiator, 观察, “U.S. federal, state, and local laws include many of the same regulations that the tobacco industry has challenged in Uruguay, Norway, and elsewhere,”

One of the most pernicious effects of the new trade rules is that they allow giant corporations to cow countries with a limited capacity to defend themselves. As John Oliver 运筹学 us, in 2014 Philip Morris International sent a letter to Togo threatening that tiny country with “an incalculable amount of international trade litigation” if it implemented a tobacco product packaging law. Togo abandoned the initiative. Uruguay has been able to defend itself for the last 5 years in part because of financial assistance from the World Health Organization and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Would a US city or small state be financially able to defend itself if a global corporation were to sue to overturn laws that require government contracts to favor local businesses and local workers?

The contents of new trade agreements like the TPP largely comprise a laundry list of corporate aspirations.

To understand its bias we might engage in a thought exercise. What if a trade agreement were designed to protect and nurture labor rather than capital? Several U.S. trade agreements have included “side agreements” on labor but these lack the enforcement mechanisms accorded to capital. There is no extraterritorial judicial system to hear suits by workers or unions. Instead these agreements establish a multi-national forum where nations can be held responsible for not enforcing labor laws they have on the books. As the Heritage Foundation 总结, “they are largely meaningless.”

At present the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) 186 member nations have signed a Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work that, 根据 to the ILO “commits Member States to respect and promote principles and rights in four categories, whether or not they have ratified the relevant Conventions. These categories are: freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of forced or compulsory labour, the abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.”

But the ILO’s Declaration, like the labor side agreements of US trade agreements lack an enforcement mechanism. Member nations can refuse to ratify any individual standard. Of the eight core conventions, the U.S. for example has 批准 only two. It should go without saying that neither workers nor unions have the right to sue for economic damages in a world court comprised of judges who had formerly served as labor lawyers.

If the TPP’s enforcement mechanisms were as toothless as those of labor side agreements or the ILO Declaration there would be no need for fast track, (in which Congress can only vote yes or no on a trade deal with no power to make modifications). If the labor side agreements or the ILO Declaration had enforcement mechanisms as vigorous as those of the TPP, I daresay the vote on fast track would be lopsidedly against.

The clear and present evidence of the far-reaching negative impact of the TPP is compelling. Rather than being forced to have an up or down vote on a bill consisting of thousands of pages of fine print after only a very limited debate and with no amendments, we should engage in a spirited national conversation about the values that should guide international trade agreements and what type of enforcement mechanisms would best serve the public interest.


关于作者

戴维·莫里斯

大卫·莫里斯是共同创始人和Minneapolis-的副总裁和基于DC-研究所的地方自力更生,并指导其公益倡议。 他的著作包括

“新的城邦”和“我们必须抓紧时间缓缓道:革命在智利的过程”。

本文最初出现在 在下议院