2014-04-16  |  Webmaster

By John Bennett

There were four events of note this week--well five, actually. The first two demonstrate the dissonance between the Government of Canada and the rest of the world.

Early Sunday morning the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group on Mitigation released its latest report, and on Monday the National Energy Board (NEB) posted a list of issues it will ‘consider’ before approving the proposed “Energy East” pipeline. While the IPCC warned humanity drastic changes are needed now, or else ("The high-speed mitigation train would need to leave the station soon and all of global society have to get on board,"...

2014-03-25  |  Webmaster
2014-03-14  |  Janet Eaton

By  Karl Mathiesen.  theguardian.com, Friday 14 March 2014 12.32 GMT    
 What free trade advocates say: The US says the deal would “significantly reduce the cost of differences in regulations and standards by promoting greater compatibility, transparency, and cooperation, while maintaining our high levels of health, safety, and environmental protection”.

In the UK, all three major parties are backing the proposal. John Healey, Labour MP on cross-party committee for trade told parliament last month:    “The size of our combined economies and the scale of the potential deal mean that [TTIP] could set standards for future agreements with other countries on consumer safeguards, workers’ rights, environmental protection, trade rules and legal process.”

Coalition government minister Ken Clarke said today:

    “We are negotiating on the basis that the deal should...

2014-03-14  |  Janet Eaton

The Canadian Press Posted: Mar 13, 2014 10:11 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 13, 2014 10:21 AM ET

Prime Minister tells B.C. audience he's open to discussing the 20-year-old pact

With the ink still wet on a free-trade deal with South Korea, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada would be willing to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement for the right price.

Harper stopped in Vancouver on his way home from South Korea on Wednesday, wasting no time in selling the new agreement.

In a question-and-answer session at a B.C. Chamber of Commerce gathering, he said his government remains focused on building global trade, "particularly given that some of our traditional trading partners — like the United States — may not have the kind of growth rates that you're talking about for a very long time to come."

That said, the prime minister made it clear that Canada may be interested in...

2014-03-13  |  Janet Eaton
March 12, 2014. ft.com Letters to Editor  From Mr Kavaljit Singh.

Sir, Robert Zoellick’s assertion that China can advance internal reforms through proposed bilateral investment treaties (BITs) with the US and the EU is unconvincing (“International treaties can once again help China advance”, Comment, March 11). BITs are not meant to tackle corruption and fight favouritism in China, as perceived by Mr Zoellick. Such policy objectives can be best advanced through domestic political reforms. BITs are intended to promote, encourage and protect investments by nationals of one of the contracting states in the territory of the other contracting state.

The growing two-way investment flows between China and the US without any BIT demonstrate that such treaties are neither necessary nor sufficient for attracting investments. Further, BITs include investor-state arbitration which gives foreign investors the right to sue the host country without having to go to...

2014-03-12  |  Janet Eaton
By Colin Todhunter, Global Research, March 11, 2014.Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. Speculative investors are claiming more than 1.7 billion Euros in compensation from Greece, Spain and Cyprus in private international tribunals for the impact of measures implemented to deal with economic crises. This is the conclusion from a new report released by the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO).

The report, ‘Profiting from Crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries’ (1), exposes a growing wave of corporate lawsuits against Europe’s struggling economies, which could lead to European...

2014-03-12  |  Janet Eaton

Pakistan government is revisiting all the Free Trade Agreements and Preferential Trade Agreements.

There is a growing realisation among policymakers that they had been poorly negotiated and were now causing harm to the domestic industry.

Ministry of Commerce and Textile Industry officials in Islamabad told Dawn newspaper on Tuesday that the government might even go for total scrapping of all these trade agreements.

They said, however, proper working would be made in case the government opted for renegotiation.

Pakistan so far has signed four FTAs under South Asia Free Trade Agreement with China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and India. Besides, there are three PTAs with Iran, Mauritius and Indonesia.

Officials said these agreements were making some of country’s imports costlier due to monopolistic tendencies created by them against cheaper sources of supplies from other countries of the world market.

...

2014-03-12  |  Janet Eaton

By Michael McAuliff, March 11th, 2014. Huffington Post. 

WASHINGTON -- A report due to be released Tuesday aims to offer an object lesson to President Barack Obama: Free trade deals have high costs in unintended consequences for the environment, people's way of life, and local sovereignty.

The report by the Sierra Club and other groups in Canada and Mexico, released on the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, summarizes more than 100 nonprofit, government and scholarly studies of NAFTA, and draws a damning picture.

Perhaps hardest hit is Mexico, according to the report, where expanded trade in agricultural products came at the expense of smaller farmers, who couldn't compete with a surge in pesticide-heavy factory farms. Small farmers resorted to cutting down forests to farm more land, and still failed. A boom in mining came at the expense of local landowners, with subsequent industrial pollution.

While the trade deal was...

2014-03-12  |  Janet Eaton

WASHINGTON - March 11 - A massive free trade deal went into effect 20 years ago and has had very harmful effects on communities and the environment in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, according to a report released today.

January 1, 1994 marked the first day of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and nearly 20 years later, communities are still suffering from its consequences.

Among other conclusions, this report finds that NAFTA:

  • Facilitated the expansion of large-scale, export-oriented farming that relies heavily on...
2014-03-12  |  Janet Eaton

March 10, 2014. 

By Miriam Ross

Trade unions and campaign groups have written to Vince Cable calling for a halt to negotiations on the EU-US trade deal, as talks begin in Brussels today.

The groups, including the UK’s second biggest trade union UNISON, environmental, social justice and anti-poverty organisations, believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will undermine democracy, threaten public services and lead to lower standards in a range of areas including environmental protection, workers’ rights and food safety.

The letter to the Business Secretary uses recent research to show that the trade deal is unlikely to significantly boost employment, and points to the European Commission’s own work which suggests it will cause “prolonged and substantial dislocation of EU workers as a direct...

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