All go for 2015
Kia ora koutou! Hopefully everyone is rested after a sunny start to 2015 because the next few months are full on for the campaign to stop the TPPA.
PUT THESE IN YOUR DIARY:
Next planned national day of action – 7 March 2015 – (to be confirmed)
This is a heads-up, with dates and details on whether it is a mobilisation or some other action to be confirmed shortly. Consultations with the regions and likely sponsors are underway.
Why 7 March? The final round of technical talks is scheduled for New York from 26 January. Ministers are scheduled to meet in the 2nd or 3rd week of March to do the deal. That still depends on the US and Japan. But Obama has to get a deal by May if he is to claim credit for it during his presidency, so they are pulling out all the stops to make that happen.
We need to send Key & Groser another clear message – TPPA – No Way!!
Campaign against foreign investors’ right to sue starts early February
Despite the unmistakable message from tens of thousands of kiwis the government is clearly planning to give foreign investors the right to sue in the TPPA. Just before Xmas they signed a free trade deal with South Korea that has the same powers. This gives us a prime chance to tell the government we totally reject investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in every deal, and increase the heat over the TPPA
The NZ Korea FTA will go through the façade of a select committee process (that can’t change anything) from around mid-February. We will make a summary of main points so you can write your own submission, or send a standard form, and ask to be heard.
We want thousands of submissions opposing ISDS
EU releases text in US negotiations – NZ must do the same
Tim Groser’s lie that governments can’t release texts of agreements under negotiation has been proved wrong yet again – on 7 January the EU released a raft of documents it has tabled in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US. NZ can and must do the same. The EU also promised to release the text before it is signed. If that can happen with TTIP, it can also happen with the TPPA! Plans are underway for another assault on the secrecy of the TPPA. A memo on this will be on the website later next week, along with ideas for action.
Secret TPPA – it’s not democracy and its not right!
TPPA & TISA anti-privacy & pro-spying
Just before Xmas the US proposals for another of the mega-deals – the Trade in Services Agreement – was leaked. The US TPPA negotiator said they wanted the same for TPPA. The text aims to stop governments imposing tighter protections for privacy of data, eg by requiring it is stored in NZ or limiting its transfer offshore. That’s a bonanza for the US with minimal privacy protections and maximum spy laws. See Jane Kelsey’s analysis of the leaked text, and security issues.
If you have campaign ideas on this, let us know!
WHAT’S HAPPENING OFFSHORE
Australian Senate inquiry into treaty-making process
The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee of the Australian Senate has launched an inquiry into the treaty making process. That’s possible because the Liberals have lost control of the Senate. The terms of reference include the role of Parliament its committees to review the proposed text, scope for independent assessment, greater openness and transparency.
Sadly the government control’s NZ’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and Labour’s members (at least on the website) have been pro-TPPA. A petition signed by 16 major NZ organisations in 2010 is still waiting to be heard at the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. NZCTU President Helen Kelly has yet another tentative date to speak to the petition, on 12 February, but 3 previous dates have been cancelled!
US Congress Dogfight Brewing on TPPA
There are new moves to get the ‘fast track’ law passed by US Congress in the next few months. The Chamber of Commerce has made ‘fast track’ authority to get the TPPA through Congress a top priority for 2015. But the Republican tea party call Obama an ‘imperial president’ and refuse to give him more powers.
US politics is now caught up in the Nov 2016 presidential election. Two progressive Democrats have staked out strongly critical positions on TPPA, pushing Obama with specific demands:
- Sen Elizabeth Warren is strong on financial reforms. On 17 Dec she demanded all US proposals and current negotiating texts on a series of chapters that affect financial regulation by 6 January 2015.
- Sen Bernard Sanders has demanded full access by members of Congress and their staff to analyse the draft text by 16 January 2015. If not he threatened to table a Bill requiring the full text to be made public if any member of Congress demanded it.
Watch this space …
EU Ombudsman challenges secrecy of TTIP
The EU’s release of documents was thanks to the EU ombudsman, who conducted two inquiries in 2014. Her final report was released on 6 January 2015.
EU ducks for cover on ISDS in TTIP
The EU held a consultation over the right of foreign investors to sue in the deal with the US, because of the massive backlash against ISDS throughout Europe. Around 97% of people who sent submissions, and many organisations, opposed ISDS. The EU opted to pay more attention to the less than 3% who suggested reforms to make it better. The EU says it won’t make a final decision on ISDS until the end of the negotiations. So the battle will continue.
Robert Reich, ‘Why the Trans-Pacific partnership agreement is pending disaster’, Christian Science Monitor, 6 January 2015
PSA Journal: Protests at secret agreement, December 2014
Regan Shoultz, Opinion: Concern over cost of ‘free trade’ deal’, Wanganui Chronicle, 9 January 2015
Julie Hirschfeld, ‘Democrats Step up Efforts to Bloc Obama’s Trade Agenda’, New York Times, 8 January 2015
George Monbiot, ‘Trade Secrets: Why will no one in answer the obvious, massive question about TTIP?’
Video on TTIP by War on Want