Jan 2014 10:54 AM PST
Prepare for a State of the Union oddity: Democratic members of Congress sitting in silence while Republicans rise to cheer President Obama's call for Congress to grant him new powers.
A letter released today signed by a stunning array of more than 550 Democratic base organizations reiterates the perverse situation. Despite widespread opposition from congressional Democrats, Obama is expected to call on Congress to delegate Fast Track authority to him. The extraordinary trade authority, which Congress has refused to grant for 15 of the past 20 years, would suspend normal congressional procedures for consideration of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Obama hopes to sign soon.
Jan 2014 10:54 AM PST
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA – The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry begins hearings on bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides today. Beekeepers, grain growers and academics have been invited to present evidence.
The hearings come a month after Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) -- bowing to pressure from lobby group Croplife and the pesticide industry -- shockingly punted any action on the bee-killing pesticides until at least 2016. Croplife is led by former Conservative MP and newly minted President & CEO Ted Menzies.
Corporate Europe Observatroy, January 24th
This week, the European Commission announced a freeze in negotiations over dangerous corporate rights in the proposed EU-US trade deal (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP) and that it would conduct a public consultation on the issue. This move is an important first success for the growing anti-TTIP movement, which is unanimously opposed to proposals for so called investor-state dispute settlement in the deal. But a closer look at the Commission’s line shows that it might just be a smart trick to dispel concerns, without abandoning the corporate agenda of the trade talks.
BBC News, January 22nd, 2014
The European Commission says it will consult on part of a far-reaching EU-US free trade deal amid concern that hard-won social protections in Europe might be undermined.
The trade negotiations began last year but now the Commission has launched a three-month public consultation on the proposed investment rules for firms.
There are fears that they could give big firms too much power to block unfavourable government policies.
Negotiations will continue.
The proposed EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could bring huge benefits for Europe and America, the Commission says.
Inside US Trade, .
In a rare move, the European Commission has decided to freeze talks with the United States on the investment provisions of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) for three months while it conducts a public consultation on how the deal should approach investment, according to an EU official.
By Janet M Eaton, PhD, January 24th, 2014
A widespread and significant controversy has emerged on a global scale over investor rights and privileges and the Investor -State dispute mechanism found in the investment chapters of Free Trade Agreements [FTAs] and Bilateral Investment Treaties [BITS]. There are many reasons for the concerns over Investor -State including, what many critics see as, its unethical, unfair, undemocratic, unsustainable and even unconstitutional nature giving undue power to transnational corporations over governments and public policy, thereby placing profit before people and the environment. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations body responsible for dealing with development issues, particularly international trade, acknowledges huge flaws in the Investor State arbitration system:
By Oliver Wright, January 20, 2014
The European Commission is to rethink its approach to a controversial US trade deal which campaign groups have warned would fundamentally erode Britain’s sovereignty.
Under the deal being negotiated by US and EU officials, multinational firms would be given wide-ranging powers to sue EU governments that adopt policies deemed to “discriminate” against free trade.
Groups including Greenpeace and the TUC have warned that the treaty’s provisions will have far-reaching consequences – limiting the UK’s freedom to tackle climate change, protect consumers or even guarantee a publicly run NHS.
Robin Broad and John Cavanagh | January 14, 2014
Over the past several decades, multinational corporate Goliaths have helped to write and rewrite hundreds of rules skewing tax, trade, investment and other policies in their favor. The extraordinary damage these policies have caused has become increasingly apparent to the communities and governments most directly affected by them. This, in turn, has strengthened the potential of a movement that’s emerging to try to reverse the momentum. But just like David with his slingshot, the local, environmental and government leaders seeking to revise rules to favor communities and the planet must pick their battles carefully.
NO MORE NAFTAs! 20 YEARS IS ENOUGH!
Inter-Continental Day of Action against the TPP & Corporate Globalization
Friday, January 31, 2014
This is a call to action for communities throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States to join together on January 31, 2014, and say "ENOUGH!" to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, and other corporate "trade" deals. Solidarity actions elsewhere throughout the globe are welcome.
By James Panichi, posted 13-January-2014.
Australia’s clash with Philip Morris over plain packaging has disrupted trade talks between the United States and Europe, reports James Panichi in Brussels
IT isn’t often that Australia rates a mention in the European Union’s corridors of power. And that’s no bad thing: the long-running diplomatic stoushes with Canberra over agriculture and market access are seen here as water under the bridge. No news is definitely good news.