A trade agreement nobody should want

by Serge Halimi

You can safely bet that the (TPA) will not feature as much in the forthcoming European elections as the extradition of illegal immigrants or the (alleged) teaching of "gender theory" in French schools. The TPA will affect 800 million affluent people and almost half the world's wealth (1). The European Commission is negotiating this free trade agreement with Washington on behalf of the EU's 28 member states, and the European parliament elected this May will be expected to ratify it. Nothing is settled as yet, but on 11 February the French president François Hollande, during his state visit to Washington, proposed to speed things up, saying: "We have everything to gain by moving quickly. Otherwise, as we know all too well, there will be a build-up of fears, threats and tensions."

TPP Talks Fizzle Again under Broad Opposition

Posted: 25 Feb 2014 06:53 AM PST
Another high-level Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting has fizzled with no deal. The talks have missed a
succession of deadlines due to opposition from negotiating countries to corporate-backed U.S. demands that would
increase the cost of medicines, restrict financial stability measures, and empower corporations to challenge health
and environmental safeguards. Back at home, the administration's attempt to Fast Track the TPP through Congress
suffers from overwhelming congressional and public opposition.
Facing international and domestic resistance, and having already missed deadlines to seal a deal last October and
December, TPP trade ministers refrained from naming another deadline after finishing negotiations in Singapore
today, stating only that they hope for a deal "as soon as possible."

The Next Phase of North American Integration. NAFTA to be Swallowed up by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

by Dana Gabriel, January 28, 2014  In preparation for the upcoming North American Leaders Summit which will be held in Toluca, Mexico on February 19, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently held a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Over the last number of years, not as much attention has been given to the trilateral relationship. Instead, the U.S. has essentially pursued a dual-bilateral approach with both Canada and Mexico on key issues including border and continental perimeter security, as well as regulatory and energy cooperation. On the heels of its 20th anniversary, there once again appears to be renewed interest in broadening and deepening the NAFTA partnership as part of the next phase of North American integration.

WTO: U.S. Challenges India's Solar Industry, Again

By Ilana Solomon,Director, Responsible Trade Program, Sierra Club and Justin Guay, Associate Director, Sierra Club International Climate Change Program. February 18th, 2014.

On February 10, the United States filed a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint against India. The allegation? That India may be unfairly supporting the development of its solar manufacturing industry. This misguided complaint will only further enflame tensions between the world's two largest democracies over an issue we all support: deploying more clean energy.

Obama Mexico Visit Spotlights 20-Year Legacy of Job Loss from NAFTA, the Pact on Which Obama's TPP Is Modeled

Eyes on Trade Blog: New Public Citizen Report Catalogs the Negative NAFTA Outcomes That Are Fueling Opposition to Obama Push to Fast Track TPP.  The 20-year record of job loss and trade deficits from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is haunting President Barack Obama’s efforts to obtain special trade authority to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said Public Citizen as it released a new report that comprehensively documents NAFTA’s outcomes.

Corporate rights under serious scrutiny in Europe. Canada fast asleep.

by Blair Redlin ·February 4th, 2014.  On Feb. 3rd, I made a presentation in Vancouver to the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade on the proposed Canada/E.U. trade deal (C.E.T.A.). I was there on behalf of CUPE B.C.
The Committee, chaired by Alberta Conservative M.P. Rob Merrifield, was in B.C. to review both C.E.T.A. and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.)

France says investor-state provision not needed in TTIP

Agence Europe reports, "France believes that a state to state dispute settlement mechanism is enough under the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). ...France 'is not in favour' of including in the agreement a settlement mechanism for disputes between the investor and state, as (French minister for trade Nicole) Bricq believes that a state to state dispute mechanism 'is enough'. France is not alone on this issue - Germany is also 'very reluctant', Bricq says."
Photo: French trade minister Nicole Bricq. Photo from SIPA.

The news report also says, "Bricq welcomed the (European) Commission's initiatives to ensure more transparency in the negotiations via a consultative experts' group at the European level and the launch of a public consultation on the protection of investments."

Autosaurus Rex: A story of dinosaurs

Should a CBC radio and television commentator be accepting speaking fees for pro-Tar Sands speeches on the side without publicly disclosing the financial conflict of interest to viewers? Should a national newspaper consider--let alone sign--a strategic partnership with the oil industry (a.k.a. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to produce content? Would such a move render the paper a non-news organization? Should it?

These two stories emerged over the last week and received almost no attention in the media. There has to be a better explanation than Olympic coverage eating up air time.

We’re all familiar with the National Post’s ‘tendencies’ (sorry Terrence) so I wasn’t overly shocked with the latter. But I have to say I was taken aback by the news about Rex Murphy.