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2012-04-12  |  Janet Eaton

By Janet M Eaton, Phd.  April 12th, 2012

There appears to be a growing awareness that NAFTA-style foreign investor privileges and their private "investor-state dispute system [ISD] ,which have been among the most controversial aspects of past US  trade deals,  should be rejected in trade and investment agreements.

In particular this provision has emerged as a point of major contention in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, with Julia Gillard's Australian government  announcing last April that they would reject Investor - state arbitration in all trade agreements.  It seems that her government , was not only concerned about the loss of public policy sovereignty  but  was also taking seriously the advice of the  Australian Productivity Commission which concluded there were few clear benefits, and several worrying risks, associated with such provisions." [1]

Following on...

2012-04-10  |  Janet Eaton

April 10th WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. trade officials have quietly cut stakeholder presentations from the next set of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations, eliminating the last pretense that the process of the talks is transparent and inclusive and sending a message that only the views of the 600 official corporate trade advisors provided special access to the talks will be reflected in the final deal, Public Citizen said today. At previous TPP negotiating rounds, a day was set aside for civil society groups and others with concerns about the TPP to make presentations to negotiators.

“The message is clear: From now on, not only will the talks remain behind closed doors, but all pretense of consideration of consumer safety, health, environmental or labor concerns has been thrown out in favor of ensuring that the damning record of past U.S. trade pacts use of the same terms being pushed by the U.S....

2012-04-09  |  Janet Eaton

A landmark U.S. health policy already was being struck down even as protestors surrounded the Supreme Court over the attack on President Obama's healthcare law. Behind closed doors in Geneva, a World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunal issued a final ruling ordering the U.S. to dump a landmark 2009 youth anti-smoking law.

The Obama administration's key health care achievement slammed by the WTO was the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The ruling, issued Wednesday, was on the final U.S. appeal which means that now the U.S. has 60 days to begin to implement the WTO's orders or face trade sanctions.

This outrageous WTO ruling should be a wake up call. Increasingly "trade" agreements are being used to undo important domestic consumer, environmental and health policies. Instead, the Obama administration has intensified its...

2012-04-04  |  John Bennett

Sometimes you just don’t want to be right.

In the Sierra Club Canada national office we are busy preparing our 2011 annual report. As I go through my files from last year (wow – we certainly were busy) I came across an email that rattled me. It was the last email I sent to supporters in December. In it I outlined the disturbing developments we saw in 2011 and what I thought it all meant.

Much like watching troop movements across the frontier, I could see an impending invasion. The email, in fact, documented the beginnings of an all-out assault on environmental protection in Canada - and the protectors. We could see signs of it coming a couple of months earlier (I mused about it in my blog).


2012-04-04  |  Janet Eaton

The University of British Columbia’s National Centre for Business Law
will be hosting a downtown speaker series with Anthony VanDuzer,
Professor of Law from the University of Ottawa, on Monday April 16,
2012 (12:30 – 1:30 – UBC Robson Square, Vancouver).

Professor VanDuzer will be discussing: The Canada-EU Negotiations for
a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement: Redefining the Role of
the Provinces in the Negotiation and Implementation of International
Trade Commitments.

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