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The April issue of Foreign Control Watchdog is now available online



       In This Issue
  ·         Transnational Tax Dodgers
  ·         Fight to End Zero Hour Contracts
  ·         Roger Award Winners
  ·         TPPA
  ·         Climate Change
  ·         Articles by:
             o   Jane Kelsey
             o   Murray Horton
             o   Mike Treen
             o   John Minto



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It's Our Future - TPPA Bulletin #65


 INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 18 APRIL


Campaigners in Europe, the US, Australia and Canada are coordinating activities to oppose the twin deals – TPPA and TTIP (the US-EU version) – on 18 April.

Since we have just had the national action we are only having two small actions:

1. Click on itsourfuture and tell the government no to investors rights to sue (more below)
2. Auckland activists are planning an action outside the US Consulate.

SAY NO TO FOREIGN INVESTORS’ RIGHTS TO SUE – ACT NOW!


The Wikileaks TPPA investment chapter showed our government has agreed to special rights for foreign investors (including US and Japan) to sue in shonky offshore tribunals. It has just done the same in a new Korea deal. 

What can I do?
Send a submission to the select committee on the Korea deal until Friday 24 April. It won’t make any difference to that FTA because it’s already signed and Cabinet controls the process, but it is a perfect way to tell the government NO to ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) in any deal, including TPPA. Over 2000 people have done so already. 
Splash page on itsourfuture website
Click itsourfuture.org.nz and get all the basic info you need, plus the submission on the Korea FTA and support for NZ First’s Fighting Foreign Corporate Control bill to say no ISDS ever again.
 
More detailed information
See Jane Kelsey’s lay persons’ guide on Korea and TPPA investment chapter.

Brilliant video summary on ISDS         

'Crony Capitalism Goes Global' (6mins) produced by Represent Us (an anti-corruption organisation) does a nice job breaking down concerns about TPP and ISDS for a popular (US) audience, available on Facebook and YouTube. (Pity they keep calling it a ‘trade’ deal tho.)


Lots of good media says NO ISDS …


NEWS FROM IN AOTEAROA

Winston commits to Oppose TPPAThe TPPA featured at most election meetings during the Northland by-eleciton. Winston committed to stop the TPPA in Parliament (not sure how …) 

More local councils sign on 
More councils are signing up all the time, with the Hutt City Council adopting the Resolution on 24 March and some great work taking place in Tauranga, thanks to the great work of the local TPPA Action Group chapters. Groser is getting so worried he apparently held a special meeting with Local Govt NZ people and the Auckland Council last week in Auckland.

WHAT’S UP WITH THE DEAL?

Latest US Con: ‘Fast Track’
Unlike NZ, the US Congress gets to approve any final TPPA. At last, a number of governments including NZ have said they won’t make a final deal unless Obama has ‘fast track’, which means Congress must vote yes or no and can’t pick apart any ‘final’ TPPA. A bill giving fast track will be dropped into the Congress this week. It won’t pass, but the US hopes introducing it will be enough for other governments to sign a deal – another con job courtesy of Uncle Sam.


Status of the negotiations
Obama and Japan’s PM Abe meet in the US at the end of April – after that we’ll have a good sense if they can do the deal. The final ministers’ meeting is slated for around 25 to 27 May – right at the end of their window to complete by June. The chief negotiators are meeting on 23-26 April near Washington DC to close any remaining issues they can and be ready for the ministers. 

OTHER NEW & RESOURCES

Al Jazeera exposes Big Pharma kills
Fire in the Blood shows the human price of new rules on patents that make medicines unaffordable.
 
ISDS Corporate Attacks
This excellent website, established by Public Citizen in the US, gives a huge amount of information on how ISDS works, how it affects areas like health, climate change, enerfy, the environment, financial stability and essential services, and how people are fighting back.

TTIP: Regulatory Cooperation - a Threat to Democracy
The EU activists have a great video on how the US-EU deal (TTIP) will give corporations power of national regulations starting with chlorinated chicken! Not exactly the same as TPPA but the same theme…

White House lies on TPPA and environment
More desperation: White House says environment NGOs Love the TPPA, but enviros say otherwise.


Time to say NO!


Join the resistance to the neo-liberal fruitloopary that has enthralled Christchurch City Council.


 We’ve seen it all before – it cost us billions as taxpayers last time

 Now it’s come to our backyard as ratepayers  

We have to say NO!

 Keep our Assets Canterbury

• Make a donation to KOA by direct credit

     Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA)
     38 9016 0715351 00

• "Like" our Facebook Page and help spread the word 

• Visit our webpage ~>  www.koa.org.nz

• Want more information ~>  contact our convenor 

• Grab the Flyer ~> click here

TPPA Investment leak: Jacobi misleads about protections for NZ



On Radio NZ’s Morning Report Stephen Jacobi said New Zealand would have protections from obligations in the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that were not part of the text posted by Wikileaks yesterday. 

‘That is misleading’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey who specialises in international investment agreements.

‘It is true that the leak did not include annexes of so-called non-conforming measures, so we don’t know what New Zealand has proposed, what has been accepted and what is still under discussion.’

‘But even if we assume hypothetically that the other eleven parties, including the US, allow New Zealand to include everything the government does, now and in the future, through these annexes (which they will not), that won’t protect us.’

Professor Kelsey points out that these annexes only apply to some of the rules in the chapter. They do not apply to the rules that foreign investors rely most on to sue governments, for example in current investment disputes over Australia’s plain packaging of cigarettes, Quebec’s moratorium on fracking, or the Canadian courts’ denial of a patent for a medicine.

Stephen Jacobi’s second argument is that these agreements have general exceptions in another chapter that would protect areas like public health and environment. 

‘Mr Jacobi must know that the US has never agreed that the general exception provision should apply to the investment chapter in its previous agreements’, Kelsey said. 

 ‘Having followed the negotiations closely for the past five years I can see nothing to suggest that position has changed.’

‘Any concessions the US did make in this area would be in the investment chapter itself. But what we see in the leaked text is a cut-down version of the standard general exception that applies to only to aspects of the rule on performance requirements.’

There is also a circular provision that the chapter shall not be constructed to prevent the government taking any measure that is otherwise consistent with the chapter.

Several other very specific exceptions exclude decisions made by the Overseas Investment Office and a weak annex on expropriation.

Clearly, Australia considers its equivalent of Pharmac is vulnerable to the investment rules, because it has proposed a specific Annex to protect decisions by those various agencies.

‘These errors reinforce the need for the government formally to release the text now so we can have a properly informed debate, including expert analysis, that allows New Zealanders to assess the real implications of this for themselves’, Kelsey said.



New TPPA Investment Leak Confirms NZ Surrender to US




The controversial investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has just been posted by Wikileaks, along with an analysis by Washington-based Public Citizen. Dated 20 January 2015, at the start of the negotiating round in New York, it clearly shows the governments has capitulated to US demands.

‘We haven’t seen a text since 2012’, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey. ‘Today’s leaked text confirms all our worst fears.’ 

‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’.

‘Prime Minister John Key once described the idea of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as “far-fetched”.’

‘After he was briefed about the TPPA he changed tack, promising there would be effective safeguards. But the leaked text shows very little has not been agreed. That means the New Zealand government has accepted virtually everything the US has proposed with absolutely no effective safeguards.’ 

Professor Kelsey recalls how ‘we were assured the flaws that have made these investment agreements so toxic internationally would be sorted and new rules would prevent the investment tribunals going rogue.’ 


‘The leaked text shows nothing has been done to rein them in. There is no code of conduct, no appeals, no accountability of the private individuals who pass judgement on crucial matters of public policy, and no effective exceptions to protect the right of the government to regulate in the national interest’. 

There are high risks for local governments as well. 

‘Just last week, as protestors rallied against an extension of the port into the Auckland harbour, an investment tribunal upheld a case against Canada because an environment review panel refused to grant a US firm a permit for a quarry and marine terminal, saying it violated community values and there was inadequate consultation. The investor wants $300 million compensation. The local council is likely to be made to pay the bill.’

The dissenting judge, who was the Canadian government’s appointee on the tribunal, warned this meant the validity of local decisions would end being decided by foreign private arbitrators. The finding would also chill environmental review panels from rejecting proposals in the future. 

Kelsey said the virtually concluded text shows the TPPA parties have completely ignored the tide of international sentiment that is rejecting these special rights for foreign investors. 

The French and German governments have said they won’t accept ISDS in the parallel deal being negotiated between the US and EU. 

Last year the chief justices of Australia and New Zealand expressed concerns about the potential of these investment tribunals to bypass or override decisions of our domestic courts. 

Even Business New Zealand told the OECD during a consultation that they don't see the need for such powers where countries have quality judicial systems.

‘We need to ask why the government is opening us further to these risks, especially when US investors are responsible for more ISDS cases than any other country.’

 ‘The leak also shows the futility of the few positive changes secured in the investment chapters of the latest Korea agreement. Anything better in the TPPA would be available to Korea’s investors under the most-favoured nation rule.  It beggars belief that New Zealand’s negotiators weren’t aware of that reality. Maybe they are just hoping the TPPA well never come into being?’
Jane Kelsey media release 


Also See

The situation is serious

JOIN THE NATIONWIDE DAY OF ACTION 

 SATURDAY 7 MARCH


THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE

TO TELL THE GOVERNMENT

TPPA? NO DEAL!

 

The situation is serious.
TPPA Ministers are due to meet from 13-15 March 2015 - somewhere!
The officials met in New York in late January to prepare the ground.
The only things that can stop them are –
no deal between the US and Japan on agriculture or US!


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