Some questions about the TPP

Brendon Harre has posted about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asks a number of questions about aspects of it.

Some questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

I have an open mind regarding international trade.

…broadly I am in favour of free trade reforms if the beneficiaries are spread throughout society.

I am not sure if the TPPA fits into the beneficial category for the ordinary person. I am not sure if trade and democracy are working together like they have in the past or against each other. I have some questions -not just for the supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership but also to those that oppose it.

He posts quite a bit of detail so go to his post to see that, but here are his questions.

Trans-Pacific Partnership and Chinese Free Trade Agreement

  • Would someone who is familiar with both the US based Trans-Pacific Partnership and New Zealand’s earlier trade agreement with China explain how they differ and how they fit together?
  • Does the TPPA allow the US to set the global trade rules to benefit its multinational companies?
  • When President Obama says the TPPA will allow the US to set the trade rules for our region is that true?
  • Is the TPPA the best vehicle for New Zealand to avoid being squashed by the fists of China or the United States?
  • Would the World Trade Organisation be a better instrument?
  • Are trade agreements the best tool for achieving non-trade objectives – international peace? In Europe, peace has been the driving force for ever closer unification, but that has led to a governance and economic crisis within the Euro-zone.

Sovereignty

  • Why is that one treaty between the Crown and sovereign peoples -Maori tribes, the adjudicating court is not binding on Parliament, while another treaty -the TPPA the adjudicating court is binding on Parliament?
  • In the future, if New Zealand wants to reassert Parliament’s right to sovereignty over the Investor State Dispute Settlement court -will it be able to -or will New Zealand be like Finland and find it difficult to reclaim lost aspects of sovereignty?

Investor State Dispute Settlement

  • Why do foreign owned companies need to use TPPA-like investor dispute processes against democratic countries which already have the -rule of law?
  • What are these hundreds of cases about?
  • Has the ISDS system gone rogue?
  • If the ISDS system does go rogue what can we do about it? Have an election and throw the buggers out?
  • What safeguards does the TPPA put in place to protect our Parliament and democracy, so it is unimpeded in determining the public interest?
  • Or are we on a slippery slope between democracy and corporate plutocracy?

Some good questions and fuel for discussion on the TPPA.

Details about Brendon’s questions: Some questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Brendon has put his questions to anti-TPPA organiser Barry Coates at The Daily Blog but says he is aiming more at ‘pro-TPP people’:

I wrote an article about the TPP from a centre-left perspective that contained a series of questions. It was directed at both sides. But I mainly want answers from the pro-TPP people because they have done such a poor job answering basic questions.

I think that quite a few anti-TPP people have also done a poor job of answering basic questions too.

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69 Comments

  1. Pantsdownbrown

     /  7th February 2016

    Or you could simplify everything and say if the TPP agreement is a dud, give other countries 6 months notice that we are pulling out as per the agreement, and move on……..no harm done.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  7th February 2016

    wont find many answers to Brendans questions I’m afraid…too hard.Pants attempt ..sign it with our fingers crossed is a typical swerve.

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  7th February 2016

      Just looking from the point of the ‘doom and gloom’ merchants worst possible outcome and the conclusion is there is no downside if you can pull out within 6 months notice. So simple even you might grasp it……..

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th February 2016

        Any law introduced into Parliament can be repealed so by your logic,do not oppose any legislation because it can be undone at a later date.Unbelievable!

        Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  7th February 2016

    Michael Reddell….highlights an undigestable ..’dead rat’

    ‘ISDS provisions mean, that for some matters, a foreign firm owning a company in NZ has access to different remedies against the NZ govt than a NZ firm in NZ owning a company in the same sector has. Same goes in other countries. That is wrong in principle — equal access to justice has been a tenet of our system for a long time.’

    Reply
  4. Why not the WTO? Really? They have achieved virtually nothing for 20 plus years hence the rise of regional and bilateral deals as countries attempt to make progress. NZ has always sought to use the WTO as the vehicle for our trade ambitions but have resorted to bilaterals and the negotiations that ultimately lead to the TPPA out of sheer frustration at WTO rounds not going anywhere

    1840 changed who is sovereign in NZ – it was the British Crown and that has devolved to the democratically elected parliament of NZ as NZ has pulled away from Britain. This is not even a question.

    ISDS has been around for awhile and frankly if a dispute breaks out between say an NZ company trading in Vietnam or Malaysia – where would you prefer the law suit was filed in those countries judicial systems or in an independent body as set out in the ISDS? I know where I would rate my chances of a fair hearing the best.

    How many times has NZ been sued under the ISDS in other FTA type agreements? Answer I believe is zero. And the spectre of big Tabacco has already been addressed in the papers by Finney et al… namely if policy is based on clear evidence and properly taken through a legislative process then a foreign national will struggle big time to make a case for damages

    And anyone who thinks that an economy, i.e. the US, that is what 25% of the world economy AND is the richest market place EVERYONE wants to sell into is not going to cut deals to its advantage, then they have rocks in their heads.

    There is a huge bottom line here – 6 month notice and withdrawal. If the ISDS say, becomes onerous or interference in domestic policy and law making occurs we can always pull out of the deal. Though I noted Mr Little has hedged on that..

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th February 2016

      putting aside this is not a FTA…’How many times has NZ been sued under the ISDS in other FTA type agreements? Answer I believe is zero.’….how many of these other treaties you refer to have the litigeous US A as a signatory?

      Reply
      • Andrew Little clearly seems to think it is a free trade agreement (amongst other things) – see Little: “we won’t pull out” of TPPA

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th February 2016

          ‘Um and a free trade a free trade agreement that has some aspects of free trade but then has other things that have absolutely nothing to do with free trade but cut across New Zealand’s rights, I mean it doesn’t break down that simply.’….doesn’t seem unequivacol re free trade to me.

          Reply
      • I would rather have a litigious US than an appropriating country like China. NZ conducts its affairs around law and policy in an exemplary fashion – the chances of NZ being subject to constant cases under the ISDS provisions is minimal for the reasons in my first comment/post

        And at its core this is a FTA Blazer, it has add ons around trade related issues like IP but so what. Why would a major producer of IP not protect that provision if they can in a Trade agreement….

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th February 2016

          so our trade deal with China is a mistake iyo?

          Reply
          • NO. Just pointing out that we have a big reliance on an unpredictable and capricious partner in China. The current party purges going on there right now highly how quickly things can change in that country.

            In addition I am not invested in anti-US sentiment as many anti TPP deal people are….

            Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th February 2016

          artcroft…’ And who are the corrupt nations? USA has a history of strange legal judgments for starters. Can’t be that hard to bribe a mexican judge or at least twist their arm. ‘…asking for trouble isn’t it?

          Reply
  5. Blazer

     /  7th February 2016

    So can corporations sue governments for giving 6 months notice to withdraw from the agreement?

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  7th February 2016

      No – on what basis? An out clause is just that. Under the agreement the corporations have to bear all the costs of any litigation so why would they waste their money?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th February 2016

        on the basis that it is going to have a detrimental effect on their business and profits and they have made capital expenditure on the basis that the TPPA would be adhered to in good faith.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  7th February 2016

          Not as far as I’m aware. Once out of the TPPA the provisions within it are not relevant or binding anymore so on what grounds could they take us to court? They could if we did something detrimental to them prior to pulling out of the agreement. But any govt wanting to unfairly ‘move the goalposts’ on how business was conducted would surely wait until they were out of the agreement before doing so. The clause is only there to protect someone like Fonterra spending/investing millions $ into a foreign market (at that particular govts encouragement) to suddenly have that same govt then turn around, change all the rules and shaft them. From what I’ve read the process is very much in the favour of the govts, costly for the corporation, and for a corporation to win a case it would have to be a very bad breach of faith by a govt.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  7th February 2016

            ‘ unfairly ‘move the goalposts’ on how business was conducted would surely wait until they were out of the agreement before doing so.’
            If the govt has to give 6 months notice they will have a huge liability .Who will interpret what is fair and unfair?This is tantamount to a loss of sovereignty.Imagine if the govt decided private enterprise could not run business supplying drinking water to the population….a perfectly reasonable proposition.

            Reply
        • Blazer – they are not party to the agreement so would have no grounds to sue if a government decided to withdraw. You trying to spook ghost horses??

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  7th February 2016

            who is not ‘party ‘ to the agreement?

            Reply
            • figure it out Blazer based on the context of your comment I replied to… tedious…

            • Blazer

               /  7th February 2016

              just say if you don’t know.

            • As I said TEDIOUS Blazer…. last time I reply to you as you are just a waste of time and space. Cheers Troll on.

            • Blazer

               /  7th February 2016

              feeble you have now posted tedious again…that took more effort than answering a simple question…oh sorry ..forgot ..you have no ..answer.

    • John Schmidt

       /  7th February 2016

      Only if they can prove an unreasonable loss. It’s a bit like the people in Wellington whose neighbour decided to be an arse and build a huge fence blocking their view. The court ruled that the fence comes down because of the loss that occurred to the people affected by the fence was considered unreasonable.
      The notation that corporates can sue governments willy nilly is just plain wrong. The corporates are free to sue the government without free trade agreements if they have suffered an unreasonable loss by an unexpected change in government policy.
      The key is fair and reasonable and that cuts both ways.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th February 2016

        So you think any changes in govt policy should have to be signalled well in advance otherwise they can be classed as ‘unexpected’ !

        Reply
        • John Schmidt

           /  7th February 2016

          No.
          Unexpected meaning at the time the corporation setup their business it was established upon the policies and law of the day and they had expectations that those policies and law would continue. This would have been established during the feasibility study and due diligence phase before entering the market.
          An example could be a new government is elected and they decide that all vegetables must be sold at vegetable only shops and all meat must be sold at butcher shops and all bakery items can only be sold by bakeries and all alcohol products must be sold via liquor outlets. Obviously the corporates running our supermarkets have been disadvantaged by this policy change and would seek for compensation from the policy makers/government. Does not mean they would be succesful as a court of law determines the outcome. Of course a government who chooses to take this interventionist course of action would protect themselves witg changes to the law so that the supermarkets cannot seek compensation. The supermarkets are then free to decide if they withdraw from the market because of this interference in the market place. Say they choose to withdraw from the market, the govrrnment steps in and takes over owning and running our supermarkets otherwise known as nationalisation. This is an example of socialism in action. The question that arises is this fair and was it the right thing to do. The Soviet experiment in running supermarkets and food supply suggests this is not a great plan.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  7th February 2016

            We have seen Ford ,GM,all the banks,and insurance companies run to govts to be bailed out because their business models aided and abetted by de regulation have been a total failure(although not for the handsomely rewarded architects of this failure).So why keep with the flawed plan of multi national misfeasance…?

            Reply
            • John Schmidt

               /  7th February 2016

              Both Ford and GM have repaid the bailout money.
              All the banks and insurance companies. Thats a lot of all. All don’t recall All needing a bailout a few did and some were left to go down the toilet but most needed nothing.
              I have told you a million times not to exaggerate when making your point.

            • Blazer

               /  7th February 2016

              you haven’t actually but as I have an open mind tell me which Wall St banks did not recieve bailout funds…I’m all ears..p.s re paying it back..so what happened to that cornerstone of capitalism..risk and reward!!

            • John Schmidt

               /  8th February 2016

              Are the sub prime mortgage scandal. I am with you on this one in some respects. What annoyed me most was that laws were openly broken by many and none were called to acount in the aftermath. I expected jails to be filled with the pricks that came up with what was clearly fraud on a massive scale. This is where we will differ. My beef is the lack of will to enforce the existing laws and convict those responsible whereas I suspect you would prefer to place severe restrictions on Wall Street activities limiting what they can or cannot do or destroy Wall Street altogether and have some thing else.
              I agree with you that the sub prime mortgage scandal was not capitalisms finest hour.

            • John Schmidt

               /  8th February 2016

              I originally thought the discussion was about NZ and it’s position on TPPA so I was working in the NZ context. Then you used the term All which I thought meant everything so all applies to banks and insurance companies world wide now I discover when you say all you actually mean those that reside in and around wall street and then I realise that based on your many posts it’s not about TPPA at all. You have an issue with the US being a signatory, Simply put you are anti US and everything it stands for, that is the fundamental basis of every post you make. Your role in this forum now makes sense so good on you to challenge everything that is US. So let’s not kid ourselves by pretending you have a better way or alternative to the way things are today your beef is with the US and you will object to anything they do or are involved in. I suspect the TPPA would not have all the side noise if the US were not a signatory.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  7th February 2016

              Ford did not get a bailout. But don’t let mere facts worry you, Blazer.

            • Blazer

               /  8th February 2016

              ‘Ford requested a $9 billion line-of-credit from the government, and a $5 billion loan from the Energy Department. It pledged to accelerate development of both hybrid and battery-powered vehicles, retool plants to increase production of smaller cars, close dealerships, and sell Volvo. Ford is in better shape than the other two because it had already mortgaged its assets in 2006 to raise $24.5 billion’

              In December 2008, the Big 3 came back requesting $35 billion. Congress first explored whether a planned bankruptcy reorganization without a bailout was the best alternative for the companies, but realized that would take too long to implement. President Bush and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson then agreed to a $23.4 billion bailout using TARP funds.’

              and then there was another govt ‘helping hand’ introducing subsidy incentives for purchasers of new cars to stimulate sales.Then of course in Australia these paragons of capitalism had to turn to the govt(as usual)–

              NAB-LEFT-NEW
              NAB-RIGHT-NEW
              NAB-HEADER-NEW

              Ford closure shows stupidity of subsidies for failing industries
              THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 23, 2013 12:38PM
              Print
              Save for later
              John Durie

              Senior Writer/Columnist
              Melbourne
              https://plus.google.com/103186074318763161422
              FORD Motor Company has pocketed around $2.5 billion in government subsidies over the past decade yet its Australian arm has lost $600 million in the past five years alone, which underlines the utter stupidity at throwing taxpayer funds to prop up a failing enterprise.

              so yes letting the FACTS get in the way of a good story!

  6. artcroft

     /  7th February 2016

    “Why is that one treaty between the Crown and sovereign peoples -Maori tribes, the adjudicating court is not binding on Parliament, while another treaty -the TPPA the adjudicating court is binding on Parliament?”

    A bit of an odd question. It should be “Why has NZ signed many treaties, eg China FTA, which are binding on parliament, while one treaty (ToW) is not binding on parliament?

    Answer: Check the history books but it has nothing to do with TPPA.

    Reply
  7. artcroft

     /  7th February 2016

    “In the future, if New Zealand wants to reassert Parliament’s right to sovereignty over the Investor State Dispute Settlement court -will it be able to -or will New Zealand be like Finland and find it difficult to reclaim lost aspects of sovereignty?”

    Another odd question. Finland joined the EU through the Treaty of Rome. Is is just ever so slightly different to the TPPA. The answer is to read the fine print in the TPPA not ponder completely different treaties designed for different ends.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th February 2016

      Reasonable answer yet the pro TPPA faction endlessly quote other ISDS clauses in other agreements as endorsement of this one.

      Reply
  8. artcroft

     /  7th February 2016

    “Why do foreign owned companies need to use TPPA-like investor dispute processes against democratic countries which already have the -rule of law?”
    ISDP are meant to provide a neutral venue to resolve investment disputes. Not all national courts are considered neutral- some are corrupt so ISDP offer a chance for investors to gain a fair hearing.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th February 2016

      and who decides who is corrupt and what is fair?This implies some of the signatory countries we will do business with are corrupt.

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  7th February 2016

        Reminds me I was listening to the radio the other day and a left-wing academic (can’t remember his name) came out in favour of the TPPA based on what it will do in some of the other countries party to it (e.g. Peru, Mexico) who will have to actually raise their standards of employment conditions etc quite a bit in order to comply with minimum TPPA conditions (which most countries like ours already meet). Interesting slant I’d not previously considered……

        Reply
      • artcroft

         /  7th February 2016

        This implies some of the signatory countries we will do business with are corrupt.”

        Bingo! you’ve stumbled onto the truth. We use these agreements to circumvent corrupt national courts. And who are the corrupt nations? USA has a history of strange legal judgments for starters. Can’t be that hard to bribe a mexican judge or at least twist their arm. Taiwan wants to join the TPPA and just ask any Taiwanese about state corruption, its no secret.

        Reply
  9. Brendon if you Google the question “NZ FTA WITH CHINA COMPARED TO THE TPPA?” you will get a range of opinions and explanations of the risks and benefits from Prof Kelsey, Business NZ, etc ad nauseium. No one can give a definitive answer to the first question because positions are ideologically fixed. However the Google will give you the basic information to form your own views.

    In terms of President Obama’s claims that the TPPA in its present form will allow the US and not China to set the rules for trade in the Asia _Pacific rules, that is a political claim for the consumption of Congress in a situation where he needs support for ratification. Is it true? I think that the 11 other member countries will want to exercise their own decision-making processes and not kowtow to the US – it may be an attempt by the US to exercise its raw power as the only Superpower left. But China has expressed interest in the TPPA also, and it is in NZ’s interest to encourage China to join the TPPA as a balance against the US possible dominence of the US Trade policy in the region. So NO, Obama does not have a monopoly on trade policy-making in the Asia Pacific Trade area. If you read the US Congressional Research Unit’s strategic assessment I listed yesterday, you will see a good comparison of the pro’s and cons from a US perspective.

    I would also note that the TPPA is not a Treaty, but an agreement between the states that ratify it according to their own constitutional processes. I also venture to suggest that it will be a dynamic document and is subject to change through the processes in the agreement, it also notes its relationship to the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

    I think that is enough from me for the time being, other than to say, all of the information is out there and it is a bit overwhelming all 6000 plus pages, so I think I can understand why you raise all of the questions and have to say the answers are as easy as the proverbial how long is a piece of string!!

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th February 2016

      ‘ But China has expressed interest in the TPPA also, and it is in NZ’s interest to encourage China to join the TPPA as a balance ‘

      of course bearing in mind Obamas statements and U.S foreign policy,the U.S.A will be just fine with this! *eyeroll*

      Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  7th February 2016

      Rod Oram is a left-wing stooge – hardly unbiased……..

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th February 2016

        What parts of his article do you find to be misleading or inaccurate….the ball not the man….remember!!

        Reply
      • You consider him ‘left-wing’. You consider him a ‘stooge’. You consider him ‘hardly unbiased’.

        I thought his views were interesting. What considered comments do you have about his views?
        But should I be interested in our comments about his as specific analysis or simply as giving me cause to vacuously claim you’re a right-wing stooge and hardly unbiased? 😊

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  7th February 2016

          I read the article. Heavily slanted Left and full of pompous opinion masquerading as fact. Typical Oram.

          My summary would be: The TPPA is an opportunity on the table. Of course it is not perfect for us or anyone else but it is another step in the right direction. There is no significant reason not to take it and there are major risks in staying out of it.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  7th February 2016

            ‘. Heavily slanted Left and full of pompous opinion masquerading as fact. ‘…like???

            Reply
          • “Full of pompous opinion masquerading as fact”? That comes across as a hackneyed catchphrase.

            Full. Pompous. Opinion masquerading as fact. Mmmmm.

            Reply
          • Rob

             /  7th February 2016

            “…pompous opinion masquerading as fact.” Could be said of bothsides, especially in here.

            Reply
      • Rob

         /  7th February 2016

        “Rod Oram is a left-wing stooge – hardly unbiased……..” Anyone who doesn’t agree with you or your opinion is a left wing stooge. Try reading it, he makes some good points.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  7th February 2016

          He is a left wing stooge – dragged out every year by the Greens, Labour and the like to support whatever they need supporting, and a favourite of ‘The Standard’ no less. What he wrote simply regurgitates other anti-TPPA rhetoric I have seen before. Note: He is another that suggests the USA maybe not signing the TPPA is a reason for us to not sign it?? What does one have to do with the other? Nothing – we can’t second guess what other countries do, we can only sign it from our perspective.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  8th February 2016

            you have avoided the questions put to you to back up your ‘stooge’ assertion.This is a feature of your posts unfortunately…attacking the messenger because you have no substantial critque of the …message.

            Reply
            • Blazer, come on he is doing no different to what you do regularly as you are fond of reminding us all play the ball not the man!

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  8th February 2016

              I even pointed out one of his dodgy claims in my post – I don’t have the time or inclination to go over everything wrong with his article, much I’ve already said on here (i.e. his claim that our GDP will continue to go up at current growth even if we are not part of the TPPA I’ve already debunked as myth). Considering you think ‘fact’ is a stuff article featuring Annette King making something up (currently being laughed at on the other thread), all of which we disproved with a quick search of the true facts makes your opinion somewhat hypocritical…..

  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th February 2016

    Why is that one treaty between the Crown and sovereign peoples -Maori tribes, the adjudicating court is not binding on Parliament, while another treaty -the TPPA the adjudicating court is binding on Parliament?

    The TPPA and its adjudication isn’t binding on Parliament. Parliament is sovereign and can repudiate it at any time should it choose. Then it would be over to the other TPPA members to decide what if anything they wanted to do about it.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th February 2016

      like invade or instigate militant opposition in a recalcitrant nation and install a compliant regime you mean.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th February 2016

        Exactly. Incredibly likely, isn’t it? Just as NZ did when France reneged on its Rainbow Warriors deal?

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th February 2016

          former Aussie P.M installed to intents and purposes by the C.I.A said he regretted Australia did’t take a more independent stance in foreign affairs instead of becoming a U.S satellite…nothings changed.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  7th February 2016

            Who was that, Hawke or Keating?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  7th February 2016

              Fraser.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  7th February 2016

              He was elected by a big majority after Whitlam was dismissed. Hard to say that was created by the CIA. I think Whitlam shot himself in the foot though Kerr pushed him over.

            • Blazer

               /  8th February 2016

              so he did..but -‘claimed that the CIA wanted Whitlam removed from office because he threatened to close US military bases in Australia, including Pine Gap. Boyce said that Kerr was described by the CIA as “our man Kerr”.[102] According to Jonathan Kwitny of the Wall Street Journal, the CIA “paid for Kerr’s travel, built his prestige . . . Kerr continued to go to the CIA for money”. …looking for loans outside the conventional ‘route’ and any threat to U.S bases does not go down well with the C.I.A.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  8th February 2016

              Yes, I read all that before I answered. Still doesn’t alter the fact that the election did for Whitlam, not Kerr.

  11. Blazer

     /  8th February 2016

    Kerr was ostracised by aussies for the rest of his days ,mainly spent overseas.Whitlam and Fraser made up and they lived out their days as respected elder statesmen.Probably Australias 2 great P.M’s of the modern era imo.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  8th February 2016

      There you go, Blazer, you can do it if you try – make a comment that isn’t superficial troll bait. Well done.

      Reply
  1. What Harre really wanted from TPPA questions | Your NZ

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