Planet Not For Sale

On World Cancer Day, Cancer Patients Arrested at PhRMA Headquarters to Warn of ‘Death Sentence’ Imposed by Trans-Pacific Partnership Expansion of Medicine Monopolies

Eyes on Trade - 4 février, 2016 - 23:03

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On World Cancer Day, two cancer patients – supported by health professionals and public health advocates – were arrested as they engaged in civil disobedience to dramatize their life-and-death concerns about the expansion of medicine monopolies pushed by brand-name pharmaceutical companies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Zahara Heckscher, a 51-year old mother and author from Washington, D.C., who has been in treatment for aggressive breast cancer for seven years, and Hannah Lyon, a 29-year old from California who is in treatment for aggressive cervical cancer, linked arms and refused to leave the lobby of the office building that houses PhRMA, the trade association that has pushed for extreme monopolies in the TPP, while dozens of supporters chanted outside. 

They loudly shouted that the TPP would be a “death sentence” for many cancer patients by keeping life-saving cancer medicines out of reach due to exorbitant monopoly pricing. They shouted until they were arrested by the D.C. police and charged with unlawful entry.

For royalty-free video and photos of Hecksher’s and Lyon’s arrest: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/68eadvlygp3z85i/AABY6Pq1drD9v4WLXoq4-N4ca?dl=0

 “The TPP will effectively take some patients backwards in time to the dark ages of cancer treatment. It will prevent too many people with cancer – and other life threatening illnesses – from accessing the new treatments they need to stay alive,” said Heckscher, explaining why she felt compelled to risk arrest protesting the TPP at PhRMA today. “One of my current medicines would cost me $118,000 per year if I were not in a clinical trial. PhRMA pushed for provisions in the TPP that, if passed, would lock in policies in the U.S. that keep medicine prices obscenely high.”

Lyon echoed Heckscher’s concerns. “I have never spoken in public or engaged in civil disobedience before, but I know at a deeply personal level the life and death stakes for many cancer patients if the TPP is approved,” she said. “Cancer patients do not have the luxury to wait five or eight years for access to affordable medicines while PhRMA establishes extended monopolies to continue to reap outrageous profits. I want Congress to pay attention to the concerns of patients who need affordable medicine instead of catering to PhRMA lobbyists, and reject the TPP.”

Before risking arrest, Heckscher and Lyon were joined in a news conference and demonstration at PhRMA headquarters by other cancer patients, survivors, health professionals and public health advocates, wearing scrubs and surgical masks and holding signs that read “On World Cancer Day, Cancer Patients Say No TPP Death Sentence” and “Shame on PhRMA! No TPP Death Sentence.” Advocates held oversized pill bottles with giant price tags and chanted.

For royalty-free photos of the protest: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4ad5p5m0qa2yv5t/AAADolARAKk6UE1uFhUmdOzha?dl=0

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, put the struggle against the TPP ‘death sentence’ in a broader context: “Pharmaceutical industry greed has reached heights never seen before. The price of medicines has nothing to do with the cost of making them – and virtually nothing to do with the cost of research and development. Big Pharma companies are price gouging simply because they can. Drug prices are so high because there’s no competition, and because Big Pharma spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying over the past five years and it employs an army of more than 1,400 registered lobbyists to keep it that way. As part of a comprehensive strategy to reform our broken system, we must fight Big Pharma’s scheme to win still more expanded monopoly protections through the TPP – an effort not just to impose high prices on other countries, but to block our reform agenda and maintain super-high prices in the United States indefinitely.”

Alison Case, a physician with the American Medical Student Association, gave a prospective from health professionals: “The TPP sets a dangerous precedent for our future patients by threatening access to medicines and public health. The provisions on intellectual property, including provisions regarding life-saving biologics used to treat cancer, were designed with heavy industry input in a completely non-transparent way,” she said. “This will only further an environment of high drug costs and frustratingly difficult struggles for patients who need them.”

Hilary McQuie, director of U.S. government policy at HealthGap, noted that the TPP provisions could delay efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. “We now have over 15 million people worldwide getting HIV treatment, and if we keep increasing resources to test and treat at this rate, we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The only way this has been possible was through hard-won struggles to allow for massive generic imports by low and middle income countries. If in place a decade ago, the TPP’s provisions would have prevented member countries the ability to develop the very HIV treatment programs that millions are dependent on today.”

For more information on the TPP and access to medicines, see:

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

TPP signing represents corporate wish list; farmers, consumers and the environment lose

Subtitle:  Opposition grows as trade deal faces uphill battle in Congress Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn Ben Lilliston File:  2016_02_03_TPP_Signing_PR.pdf Minneapolis/Washington D.C. – The controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed today in New Zealand, as opposition to the corporate-friendly deal continues to grow in the U.S. and other participating countries. The agreement now has to go to national legislatures for ratification. The TPP has been broadly criticized for expanding the legal rights of foreign corporations to challenge national and local regulations. IATP has also criticized the TPP for its potentially adverse impacts on...

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Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

On TPP Signing Day, Activists Urge Congress to ‘Let It Go’; Frozen Themed Performance Kicks Off 48 Hours of Anti-TPP Protests Around the World

Eyes on Trade - 3 février, 2016 - 20:52


Fair Trade Princess Ilsa Performs Her Rendition of ‘TPP: Let It Go’ Accompanied by a Cast of Dozens of Frosty Friends

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As representatives of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries gather in New Zealand to officially sign the controversial agreement, activists today at the National Press Club delivered a clear message to Congress: “Let It Go.”

In a Broadway-style performance of a parody version of the Frozen anthem, Fair Trade Princess Ilsa kicked off 48 hours of national and international anti-TPP demonstrations with her rendition of “TPP: Let It Go.” Today’s event will kick off a very chilly year for the TPP in Congress, where the pact’s fate is at best uncertain. All U.S. presidential candidates with more than 5 percent support in any state oppose the deal, and vibrant TPP opposition movements are growing across the country and around the world.

Download the royalty-free video: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/z6rzhs99xyp5cbt/AAD46IcVOPK1ClokqLSHEuoHa?dl=0

Download the royalty-free photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v0g2uj3lxyhayql/AABAFx5cg47Hzq4qhD4ODrO6a?dl=0

Hear the song: https://soundcloud.com/global-trade-watch/tpp-let-it-go 

The TPP parody song spotlights the secrecy of TPP negotiations and the role of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers mainly representing corporate interests. Fair Trade Princess Ilsa sang about how the TPP would make it easier to offshore more American jobs and increase inequality with Americans who would be put into more direct competition with workers in Vietnam who make 65 cents an hour: 

“The TPP is all about greed
Corporations wrote the rules
Offshore jobs, lower wages
and democracy overruled”

Fair Trade Princess Ilsa, a proponent of access to affordable medicines for patients across the globe, took PhRMA to task:

“TPP would raise the price of meds
keeping the sick dying in their beds”

Today’s “TPP: Let It Go” performance marks the beginning of protests and anti-TPP demonstrations in 30 cities across the United States and in TPP signatory countries, including a major march protesting the TPP signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand. With respect to the strength of the anti-TPP movement, Fair Trade Princess Ilsa sang:

“Our power’s growing, the opposition is so strong
From climate to human rights, the TPP is wrong
We won’t stand by and let the corporations win
The TPP will end up in history’s trash bin”

Before Fair Trade Princess Ilsa concluded her brief appearance at the National Press Club, after being rained out of her original performance venue in front of the White House, she had one clear message for Congress:

“Let it go! Let it go!
Our movement is gonna soar
Let it go! Let it go!
‘Til the TPP is no more

Here we stand
and to Congress we say:
on TPP, vote no…
… or you better watch out on Election Day!”

 

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

A review of the actual text of the Peterson Institute for International Economics’ (PIIE) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) study update that was recently released – versus the slanted press coverage – shows:

Eyes on Trade - 28 janvier, 2016 - 19:16
  • The study’s methodology relies on absurd assumptions.
  • Even so, the claimed gains for the U.S. are small.
  • The study identifies significant downsides for the United States, including more than 500,000 U.S. jobs lost in the pact’s first 10 years.

Despite the administration’s rosy framing, even the PIIE’s pro-TPP study predicts lackluster results for U.S. economic growth as well as U.S. job losses.

Income gains from the TPP, as predicted by PIIE, are VERY small – a TOTAL of one-half of one percent by 2030 – i.e. a rounding error of under 0.036 percent per year. That is to say, the gain in U.S. growth with the TPP at the end of 15 years sums up to 0.5 percent. TPP proponents use the gross number to be able to tout “billions” in gains because in context to projected U.S. economic growth without the TPP, the so-called TPP gain is miniscule.

  • The sum total of projected U.S. economic gains approximately equals the amount that Americans will spend on St. Patrick’s Days, over-the-counter teeth whiteners and tattoos by the time the TPP’s benefits are supposed to materialize.
  • Notes CEPR’s Dean Baker: “The study’s projection of a cumulative gain to GDP of 0.5 percent by 2030 implies an increase in the annual growth rate of 0.036 percentage points. This means that if the economy was projected to grow by 2.2 percent a year in a baseline scenario, it will instead grow at a 2.236 percent rate with the TPP, assuming the Peterson Institute projections prove correct. The projections imply that, as a result of the TPP, the country will be as rich on January 1, 2030 as it would otherwise be on April 1, 2030.

The Obama administration was called out by the Wall Street Journal for trying to distort this paltry gain, which they are touting because the only official U.S. government study undertaken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the TPP would have no economic benefits for the U.S. economy.

  • The USDA study concluded that even if all tariffs were slashed to zero (which did not happen) the TPP would increase U.S. GDP by 0.00 percent in 2025. You read that right – 0 percent. It doesn’t get any lower than that.

The meager projected TPP gain in the U.S. economy comes even despite the study’s use of a model that assumes no job loss or rise in inequality, two of the issues of greatest concern to many TPP opponents. 

  • Yet even using a methodology that assumes full employment, buried in the fine print of the Peterson Institute’s study is a prediction that 53,700 U.S. jobs PER YEAR will be displaced in the TPP’s first ten years. That is, the total job loss projected by the study, despite its rosy assumptions, is more than 537,000 lost jobs in the pact's first decade.

Another recent economic modeling study concluded that 450,000 American jobs would be lost under the TPP.

  • The TPP includes rules that will make it easier to offshore more American jobs to low wage countries.

Using an economic model that allows for the possibility of less than full employment and rising income inequality, Tufts University economists found that the TPP would result in a net loss of income in the United States and significant job loss.

  • There is academic consensus that trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality. A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done.
  • Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down.
  • Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. Department of Labor data.
Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

Administration’s TPP Honey SOTU Guest: Falsely Sweet Story Exemplifies TPP Sales Job

Eyes on Trade - 12 janvier, 2016 - 15:53

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Obama SOTU guest Ronna Rice and her company Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey should be congratulated on their success. Tomorrow the President will no doubt talk about how the TPP will help her sell more honey. Yet like much of the White House TPP sale job, the nice narrative is not supported by the facts. Here’s why you shouldn’t swallow this falsely sweet example:

  • U.S. honey exports to eight of the 11 other TPP nations (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore) already are duty free without the TPP! So, why is Ms. Rice and her firm being pitched as benefitting from the TPP?
  • Vietnam has a 10% tariff that goes away on day one of a TPP, but they won’t be importing our honey: Vietnam is the United States’ second largest source of honey imports. (We import a lot of honey from Vietnam.)
  • Malaysia is our sixth largest import source, which is curious given the country has fewer than 60 commercial bee operations. (Answer: Malaysia is implicated in the China honey transshipment scam. There’s a large U.S. anti-dumping order against Chinese honey now.) 
  • As far as how Ms. Rice and Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey will be affected, both Vietnam and Malaysia newly would get duty-free access into the U.S. market on day one of a TPP rather than have to pay our current 1.9 cent per kilo tariff on their imports. Like usual, the administration only hypes inflated export claims, but fails to consider imports or the net effect of a trade pact.
  • Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey focusses mainly on the U.S. market ... That is typical for U.S. small businesses. Exporting is mainly the realm of big business. Only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. The White House line about small businesses being the largest number of U.S. exporting firms is just a reflection of the fact that 99.7 percent of U.S. businesses meet the “less than 500 employees” definition of SMEs. 
  • So what is the ostensible upside for Ms. Rice and her firm?? Tiny New Zealand’s 10% tariff goes away day one of a TPP ... Its population is the same as the Boston metro area, but its purchasing power is lower. So, NZ is not the prize. 
  • So … it boils down to Japan. There’s a 25.5% tariff on honey in Japan now, which goes to zero in year eight of the TPP. BUT, even though the United States sells quite a bit of honey in Japan now, China flattens us in Japan with respect to relative market share.

The real TPP story for Lucky Clover honey is not so sweet. For the years until the Japan-Korea-China FTA goes into effect, would the TPP tariff cut increase the U.S. share of Japan’s imported honey market relative to China? And more critically, would any such exports gains in Japan even make up for the increased imports of duty-free Vietnam and Malaysia honey into the United States under the TPP – more import competition in the firm’s main market? 

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

Administration’s TPP Honey SOTU Guest: Falsely Sweet Story Exemplifies TPP Sales Job

Eyes on Trade - 12 janvier, 2016 - 15:53

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Obama SOTU guest Ronna Rice and her company Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey should be congratulated on their success. Tomorrow the President will no doubt talk about how the TPP will help her sell more honey. Yet like much of the White House TPP sale job, the nice narrative is not supported by the facts. Here’s why you shouldn’t swallow this falsely sweet example:

  • U.S. honey exports to eight of the 11 other TPP nations (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore) already are duty free without the TPP! So, why is Ms. Rice and her firm being pitched as benefitting from the TPP?
  • Vietnam has a 10% tariff that goes away on day one of a TPP, but they won’t be importing our honey: Vietnam is the United States’ second largest source of honey imports. (We import a lot of honey from Vietnam.)
  • Malaysia is our sixth largest import source, which is curious given the country has fewer than 60 commercial bee operations. (Answer: Malaysia is implicated in the China honey transshipment scam. There’s a large U.S. anti-dumping order against Chinese honey now.) 
  • As far as how Ms. Rice and Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey will be affected, both Vietnam and Malaysia newly would get duty-free access into the U.S. market on day one of a TPP rather than have to pay our current 1.9 cent per kilo tariff on their imports. Like usual, the administration only hypes inflated export claims, but fails to consider imports or the net effect of a trade pact.
  • Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey focusses mainly on the U.S. market ... That is typical for U.S. small businesses. Exporting is mainly the realm of big business. Only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. The White House line about small businesses being the largest number of U.S. exporting firms is just a reflection of the fact that 99.7 percent of U.S. businesses meet the “less than 500 employees” definition of SMEs. 
  • So what is the ostensible upside for Ms. Rice and her firm?? Tiny New Zealand’s 10% tariff goes away day one of a TPP ... Its population is the same as the Boston metro area, but its purchasing power is lower. So, NZ is not the prize. 
  • So … it boils down to Japan. There’s a 25.5% tariff on honey in Japan now, which goes to zero in year eight of the TPP. BUT, even though the United States sells quite a bit of honey in Japan now, China flattens us in Japan with respect to relative market share.

The real TPP story for Lucky Clover honey is not so sweet. For the years until the Japan-Korea-China FTA goes into effect, would the TPP tariff cut increase the U.S. share of Japan’s imported honey market relative to China? And more critically, would any such exports gains in Japan even make up for the increased imports of duty-free Vietnam and Malaysia honey into the United States under the TPP – more import competition in the firm’s main market? 

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

ICYMI: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Facts and Figures for SOTU Prep

Eyes on Trade - 12 janvier, 2016 - 15:27

President Barack Obama is expected to prioritize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in his State of the Union address. The TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive talks during which this Washington Post infographic shows 500 U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access. Congress, the public and press were shut out. Now everyone can read the controversial deal that could undermine many landmark achievements of Obama’s presidency and thus his legacy on jobs and economic recovery, climate, healthcare access, gay equality, financial reform, the U.S. auto industry rescue and more. Only six of the TPP’s 30 chapters deal with traditional trade matters. As this recent New Yorker piece describes, the rest require limits on food, financial and other regulations, provide drug firms new monopolies and expand the contentious investor-state dispute settlement system.

Zero U.S. Economic Growth from TPP:

The Department of Agriculture issued the administration’s only major study on TPP’s economic impact and found it would result in 0.00% increased U.S. growth if all tariffs on all products were eliminated, which did not occur. The United States already has free trade deals in place with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Chile, and Singapore, which collectively represent over 80 percent of the trade counted in the oft-touted line about the TPP covering 40 percent of world trade. Even the major pro-TPP study found that in 2025 U.S. growth rates only would be .4 percent higher with TPP in effect - even using a model that assumed full employment and no increased income inequality. Yet, since the 1940s, standard economic theory has held that trade liberalization is likely to increase inequality in developed countries like the United States.

Increased Income Inequality:

A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done. That would contradict Obama’s 2015 SOTU inequality reduction goal. Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. DoL data. There is academic consensus trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality.

American Jobs at Risk:

The TPP includes rules that make it cheaper and less risky to offshore U.S. jobs to low wage nations. The pro-free trade Cato Institute calls these investor protections a subsidy on offshoring. The administration stopped claiming the TPP would create jobs after a four Pinocchio rating by the Washington Post fact checker. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more than 57,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities have closed and five million U.S. manufacturing jobs–one in four–were lost with more than 875,000 U.S. workers certified under just one narrow U.S. Department of Labor program.

Export Claims:

Obama’s most recent free trade agreement (FTA) served as the TPP’s template and also was sold as a way to create “more exports, more jobs.” Three years into the U.S.-Korea Free FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was up more than 90 percent as exports fell 7 percent and imports surged. The United States ran a $177.5 billion goods trade deficit, with its 20 FTA partners in 2014, the last year data is available. The growth rate of exports FTA partners has been 20 percent lower than U.S. exports to the rest of the world the last decade. In his 2010 SOTU, Obama said he would double exports in five years. But given our paltry annual export growth rate, the export-doubling goal would not be reached until 2057 – 43 years behind schedule.

The TPP=18,000 Tax Cuts Red Herring:

In the face of the Korea FTA’s flop, the administration has tried to shift focus to a “tax cut” narrative to sell the TPP with a mantra about 18,000 tax cuts for U.S. exported goods. But last year, the U.S. only exported goods in less than half of the 18,000 tariff categories. By using the raw number of tariff lines cut with respect to the five nations with which we do not already have FTAs (Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei), the administration distracts from the real question: does 18,000 tariff cuts equate to more U.S. exports or jobs? For the nearly 7,500 categories of goods out of the claimed 18,000 for which we did sell anything, almost 50 percent had sales under $500,000. Many items we simply do not sell, including those that the administration claims the TPP’s weak environmental chapter will help conserve. Among the 18,000 tax cuts are Malaysia’s shark fin tariffs, Vietnam’s whale meat tariffs, and Japan’s ivory tariffs. The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document also bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. In 2014, Vietnam’s per capita GDP was about $2,000 and about $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff on skis from Colorado. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total. Other highlights: Vietnam and Japan will eliminate their tariffs on silkworm cocoons, Brunei will cut its tariff on ski boots, and Vietnam will eliminate its tariff on camels. Almost 2,000 of the tariff reductions in the products we do sell won’t be realized for over a decade or more, including beef and pork to Japan.

China Claims in TPP Sales Pitch -Foreign Policy Arguments Mimic False Claims Made for Past Pacts:

Whenever the economic case for a trade deal falls flat, presidents try to change the subject to the putative foreign policy imperatives, as Obama has done. The notion that TPP is a bulwark against China is absurd, if only because China has been invited to join. Administration officials say China can only join only if it agrees to TPP rules. But those rules would give Chinese products duty-free U.S. access, and the new TPP foreign investor rights would enhance China’s relative economic might within the United States. This may explain China’s statements of increased interest in joining the TPP. While U.S. concerns about the implications of China’s rising economic power and influence are legitimate, the notion that the establishment – or not – of any specific U.S. trade agreement would control this process is contradicted by the record. We were warned that unless NAFTA and free trade deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would write the rules and grab our trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA went into effect and in its first 20 years, the U.S. share of goods imported to Mexico dropped from 70 percent to under 50 percent while China’s share rose more than 2,600 percent. After U.S. FTAs with eight other Latin American nations were enacted, China’s exports to Latin America soared more than 1,280 percent from $10.5 billion to more than $145 billion, while the U.S. saw only modest export growth. The U.S. share of Latin America’s imported goods fell 36 percent while China’s share increased 575 percent since the various U.S. FTAs were enacted.

TPP Is Not About the U.S. Writing the Rules Versus China Doing So - TPP’s Rules Are Those Demanded by its 500 Official Corporate Trade Advisors:

Trying to paint TPP as a way for America to write the rules in Asia so that China does not is a misdirect. TPP is not about establishing “American” rules in Asia. It’s about imposing rules that are favored by the 500 official U.S. corporate trade advisors who had a privileged role in developing the TPP. The TPP rules promote more U.S. job offshoring and would further gut the U.S. manufacturing base, even as a recent Department of Defense report warned that U.S. deindustrialization poses a threat to national security. TPP would ban the application of Buy America procurement preferences with respect to all firms operating in TPP countries. Instead of reinvesting our tax dollars at home to build a strong national infrastructure and create economic growth and jobs at home, TPP would require us to give firms from the TPP nations, including Chinese state-owned-enterprise firms operating in Vietnam, equal access to U.S. government contracts. TPP also would raise our energy prices and undermine our energy independence given we could no longer halt liquid natural gas exports to TPP nations, including major LNG purchaser Japan. TPP’s expanded patent and copyright monopolies would raise American health care costs and thwart innovation. And, even if you believe that TPP actually is about writing rules aimed at affecting China, who in their right mind believes that China would actually abide by those rules or that the U.S. would enforce them effectively? Fifteen years after China joined the WTO, we’re still waiting for China to comply with the commitments they made. And, we are still waiting for any U.S. administration to broadly and effectively enforce U.S. rights.

The TPP Rolls Back National Security Language Included in Past Pacts:

The TPP eliminates language included in past U.S. trade pacts that explicitly authorized the United States to take action to protect its own national security interests regardless of whether any such action or policy violated trade pact rules and to do so without facing trade sanctions. And, while other TPP nations safeguarded their domestic national security review processes for foreign investors, the United States did not take an exception to TPP rules that grant foreign investors new rights to acquire land, firms, natural resource concessions, infrastructure or other investments and operate them. Thus, even if the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposed on national security grounds a U.S. acquisition by a firm also operating in a TPP country, if that investment was stopped the foreign firm could drag the U.S. government before an extrajudicial investor-state tribunal and demand taxpayer compensation.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Environment and Climate:

The environmental groups that have celebrated Obama’s achievements with the global climate treaty and his decision to the stop the XL Pipeline call the TPP an act of “climate denial.” The pact would roll back the environmental standards that President George W. Bush was pressured into including in his trade deals. Indeed, in a recent Newsweek oped, the Cato Institute celebrated the TPP’s watered down environmental terms. Environmental groups listed on the White House website as supporting the deal, including NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife, in fact came out in opposition after seeing the final text.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Healthcare Costs:

The TPP would directly contradict Obama efforts to reduce U.S. healthcare costs by expanding monopoly patent protections for big drug firms, as Doctors Without Borders notes. This allows drug firms to stop competition and raise medicine prices. As seniors groups note, the TPP would also empowering large drug firms to meddle in U.S. government reimbursement decisions for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – American Auto Sector Rescue:

The TPP would threaten the president’s successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry and thousands of U.S. jobs. It would allow vehicles comprised mainly of Chinese and other non-TPP country parts and labor to gain duty free access. This would gut the rules of origin established in NAFTA that condition duty free access on 62.5 percent of value being from NAFTA countries. Ford has supported all past U.S. trade deals, but opposes the TPP.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Gay Rights:

While the Obama administration is celebrated for its defense of gay equality after dust-binned the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and joining those announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, it decided to allow Brunei to remain in the TPP even after the country announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws. This has led to LGBTQ groups joining the TPP opposition.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Financial Reform:

The TPP could help banks unravel the new rules Obama achieved on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial products and “too big to fail” safeguards while empowering foreign banks to “sue” the U.S. government over new financial regulations. For the first time, the TPP would expand the controversial investor-state dispute system (ISDS) to allow challenges of U.S. financial policies using the claim underlying most successful ISDS attacks.

Claims about Small Business Gains Contradicted by Record:

The administration claims that small business will be the greatest beneficiaries of the TPP. But the reason small and medium enterprises (defined as 500 employees or less) comprise most U.S. exporting firms is simply because they constitute 99.7 percent of U.S. firms overall. But only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. Even if FTAs actually succeeded in boosting exports (which they don’t, per the data noted above), exporting is primarily the domain of large corporations, not small businesses. As for whether as the administration claims “with these trade agreements we can create more opportunities” for small firms, the record of past FTAs suggests not. Under the Korea FTA, U.S. small businesses have seen their exports to Korea decline even more sharply than large firms (a 14 percent vs. 3 percent downfall in the first year of the FTA). Small businesses’ exports to all non-NAFTA countries grew over 50 percent more than their exports to Canada and Mexico (74 percent vs. 47 percent) during a 1996-2012 window of data availability. The sluggish export growth owes in part to the fact that small businesses’ exports grew less than half as much as large firms’ exports to NAFTA partners (47 percent vs. 97 percent from 1996-2012). Small businesses’ share of U.S. exports has declined, while U.S. export growth to countries that are not FTA partners has exceeded U.S. export growth to FTA partners by 30 percent over the past decade. 

 

 

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

ICYMI: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Facts and Figures for SOTU Prep

Eyes on Trade - 12 janvier, 2016 - 15:27

President Barack Obama is expected to prioritize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in his State of the Union address. The TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive talks during which this Washington Post infographic shows 500 U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access. Congress, the public and press were shut out. Now everyone can read the controversial deal that could undermine many landmark achievements of Obama’s presidency and thus his legacy on jobs and economic recovery, climate, healthcare access, gay equality, financial reform, the U.S. auto industry rescue and more. Only six of the TPP’s 30 chapters deal with traditional trade matters. As this recent New Yorker piece describes, the rest require limits on food, financial and other regulations, provide drug firms new monopolies and expand the contentious investor-state dispute settlement system.

Zero U.S. Economic Growth from TPP:

The Department of Agriculture issued the administration’s only major study on TPP’s economic impact and found it would result in 0.00% increased U.S. growth if all tariffs on all products were eliminated, which did not occur. The United States already has free trade deals in place with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Chile, and Singapore, which collectively represent over 80 percent of the trade counted in the oft-touted line about the TPP covering 40 percent of world trade. Even the major pro-TPP study found that in 2025 U.S. growth rates only would be .4 percent higher with TPP in effect - even using a model that assumed full employment and no increased income inequality. Yet, since the 1940s, standard economic theory has held that trade liberalization is likely to increase inequality in developed countries like the United States.

Increased Income Inequality:

A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done. That would contradict Obama’s 2015 SOTU inequality reduction goal. Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. DoL data. There is academic consensus trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality.

American Jobs at Risk:

The TPP includes rules that make it cheaper and less risky to offshore U.S. jobs to low wage nations. The pro-free trade Cato Institute calls these investor protections a subsidy on offshoring. The administration stopped claiming the TPP would create jobs after a four Pinocchio rating by the Washington Post fact checker. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more than 57,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities have closed and five million U.S. manufacturing jobs–one in four–were lost with more than 875,000 U.S. workers certified under just one narrow U.S. Department of Labor program.

Export Claims:

Obama’s most recent free trade agreement (FTA) served as the TPP’s template and also was sold as a way to create “more exports, more jobs.” Three years into the U.S.-Korea Free FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was up more than 90 percent as exports fell 7 percent and imports surged. The United States ran a $177.5 billion goods trade deficit, with its 20 FTA partners in 2014, the last year data is available. The growth rate of exports FTA partners has been 20 percent lower than U.S. exports to the rest of the world the last decade. In his 2010 SOTU, Obama said he would double exports in five years. But given our paltry annual export growth rate, the export-doubling goal would not be reached until 2057 – 43 years behind schedule.

The TPP=18,000 Tax Cuts Red Herring:

In the face of the Korea FTA’s flop, the administration has tried to shift focus to a “tax cut” narrative to sell the TPP with a mantra about 18,000 tax cuts for U.S. exported goods. But last year, the U.S. only exported goods in less than half of the 18,000 tariff categories. By using the raw number of tariff lines cut with respect to the five nations with which we do not already have FTAs (Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei), the administration distracts from the real question: does 18,000 tariff cuts equate to more U.S. exports or jobs? For the nearly 7,500 categories of goods out of the claimed 18,000 for which we did sell anything, almost 50 percent had sales under $500,000. Many items we simply do not sell, including those that the administration claims the TPP’s weak environmental chapter will help conserve. Among the 18,000 tax cuts are Malaysia’s shark fin tariffs, Vietnam’s whale meat tariffs, and Japan’s ivory tariffs. The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document also bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. In 2014, Vietnam’s per capita GDP was about $2,000 and about $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff on skis from Colorado. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total. Other highlights: Vietnam and Japan will eliminate their tariffs on silkworm cocoons, Brunei will cut its tariff on ski boots, and Vietnam will eliminate its tariff on camels. Almost 2,000 of the tariff reductions in the products we do sell won’t be realized for over a decade or more, including beef and pork to Japan.

China Claims in TPP Sales Pitch -Foreign Policy Arguments Mimic False Claims Made for Past Pacts:

Whenever the economic case for a trade deal falls flat, presidents try to change the subject to the putative foreign policy imperatives, as Obama has done. The notion that TPP is a bulwark against China is absurd, if only because China has been invited to join. Administration officials say China can only join only if it agrees to TPP rules. But those rules would give Chinese products duty-free U.S. access, and the new TPP foreign investor rights would enhance China’s relative economic might within the United States. This may explain China’s statements of increased interest in joining the TPP. While U.S. concerns about the implications of China’s rising economic power and influence are legitimate, the notion that the establishment – or not – of any specific U.S. trade agreement would control this process is contradicted by the record. We were warned that unless NAFTA and free trade deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would write the rules and grab our trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA went into effect and in its first 20 years, the U.S. share of goods imported to Mexico dropped from 70 percent to under 50 percent while China’s share rose more than 2,600 percent. After U.S. FTAs with eight other Latin American nations were enacted, China’s exports to Latin America soared more than 1,280 percent from $10.5 billion to more than $145 billion, while the U.S. saw only modest export growth. The U.S. share of Latin America’s imported goods fell 36 percent while China’s share increased 575 percent since the various U.S. FTAs were enacted.

TPP Is Not About the U.S. Writing the Rules Versus China Doing So - TPP’s Rules Are Those Demanded by its 500 Official Corporate Trade Advisors:

Trying to paint TPP as a way for America to write the rules in Asia so that China does not is a misdirect. TPP is not about establishing “American” rules in Asia. It’s about imposing rules that are favored by the 500 official U.S. corporate trade advisors who had a privileged role in developing the TPP. The TPP rules promote more U.S. job offshoring and would further gut the U.S. manufacturing base, even as a recent Department of Defense report warned that U.S. deindustrialization poses a threat to national security. TPP would ban the application of Buy America procurement preferences with respect to all firms operating in TPP countries. Instead of reinvesting our tax dollars at home to build a strong national infrastructure and create economic growth and jobs at home, TPP would require us to give firms from the TPP nations, including Chinese state-owned-enterprise firms operating in Vietnam, equal access to U.S. government contracts. TPP also would raise our energy prices and undermine our energy independence given we could no longer halt liquid natural gas exports to TPP nations, including major LNG purchaser Japan. TPP’s expanded patent and copyright monopolies would raise American health care costs and thwart innovation. And, even if you believe that TPP actually is about writing rules aimed at affecting China, who in their right mind believes that China would actually abide by those rules or that the U.S. would enforce them effectively? Fifteen years after China joined the WTO, we’re still waiting for China to comply with the commitments they made. And, we are still waiting for any U.S. administration to broadly and effectively enforce U.S. rights.

The TPP Rolls Back National Security Language Included in Past Pacts:

The TPP eliminates language included in past U.S. trade pacts that explicitly authorized the United States to take action to protect its own national security interests regardless of whether any such action or policy violated trade pact rules and to do so without facing trade sanctions. And, while other TPP nations safeguarded their domestic national security review processes for foreign investors, the United States did not take an exception to TPP rules that grant foreign investors new rights to acquire land, firms, natural resource concessions, infrastructure or other investments and operate them. Thus, even if the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposed on national security grounds a U.S. acquisition by a firm also operating in a TPP country, if that investment was stopped the foreign firm could drag the U.S. government before an extrajudicial investor-state tribunal and demand taxpayer compensation.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Environment and Climate:

The environmental groups that have celebrated Obama’s achievements with the global climate treaty and his decision to the stop the XL Pipeline call the TPP an act of “climate denial.” The pact would roll back the environmental standards that President George W. Bush was pressured into including in his trade deals. Indeed, in a recent Newsweek oped, the Cato Institute celebrated the TPP’s watered down environmental terms. Environmental groups listed on the White House website as supporting the deal, including NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife, in fact came out in opposition after seeing the final text.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Healthcare Costs:

The TPP would directly contradict Obama efforts to reduce U.S. healthcare costs by expanding monopoly patent protections for big drug firms, as Doctors Without Borders notes. This allows drug firms to stop competition and raise medicine prices. As seniors groups note, the TPP would also empowering large drug firms to meddle in U.S. government reimbursement decisions for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – American Auto Sector Rescue:

The TPP would threaten the president’s successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry and thousands of U.S. jobs. It would allow vehicles comprised mainly of Chinese and other non-TPP country parts and labor to gain duty free access. This would gut the rules of origin established in NAFTA that condition duty free access on 62.5 percent of value being from NAFTA countries. Ford has supported all past U.S. trade deals, but opposes the TPP.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Gay Rights:

While the Obama administration is celebrated for its defense of gay equality after dust-binned the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and joining those announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, it decided to allow Brunei to remain in the TPP even after the country announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws. This has led to LGBTQ groups joining the TPP opposition.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Financial Reform:

The TPP could help banks unravel the new rules Obama achieved on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial products and “too big to fail” safeguards while empowering foreign banks to “sue” the U.S. government over new financial regulations. For the first time, the TPP would expand the controversial investor-state dispute system (ISDS) to allow challenges of U.S. financial policies using the claim underlying most successful ISDS attacks.

Claims about Small Business Gains Contradicted by Record:

The administration claims that small business will be the greatest beneficiaries of the TPP. But the reason small and medium enterprises (defined as 500 employees or less) comprise most U.S. exporting firms is simply because they constitute 99.7 percent of U.S. firms overall. But only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. Even if FTAs actually succeeded in boosting exports (which they don’t, per the data noted above), exporting is primarily the domain of large corporations, not small businesses. As for whether as the administration claims “with these trade agreements we can create more opportunities” for small firms, the record of past FTAs suggests not. Under the Korea FTA, U.S. small businesses have seen their exports to Korea decline even more sharply than large firms (a 14 percent vs. 3 percent downfall in the first year of the FTA). Small businesses’ exports to all non-NAFTA countries grew over 50 percent more than their exports to Canada and Mexico (74 percent vs. 47 percent) during a 1996-2012 window of data availability. The sluggish export growth owes in part to the fact that small businesses’ exports grew less than half as much as large firms’ exports to NAFTA partners (47 percent vs. 97 percent from 1996-2012). Small businesses’ share of U.S. exports has declined, while U.S. export growth to countries that are not FTA partners has exceeded U.S. export growth to FTA partners by 30 percent over the past decade. 

 

 

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Letter to the USTR on global food security

Language:  English Author(s) (external):  IATP, et al File:  WTO food security Dec11.pdf The Honorable Michael Froman United States Trade Representative 600 17th Street NW Washington, DC 20508   December 11, 2015 Dear Ambassador Froman, While we recognize the complexity of the many issues being negotiated in the lead up to the December 15-18, 2015 Nairobi Ministerial of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as faith, development and food policy organizations, we especially want to weigh in on issues related to global food security. We should learn from the 2008 food price crisis, as well as the persistent rounds of price volatility that have followed. These problems will be exacerbated by climate change, financialization of agricultural commodities, and competing demands...

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Lori Wallach on HuffPo: “WTO Orders Sanctions Unless US Cuts Consumer Labels, Disproving Obama TPP Claims”

Eyes on Trade - 8 décembre, 2015 - 17:15

 

“Yesterday's World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against the country-of-origin meat labels (COOL) that Americans rely on to make informed choices about their food provides a glaring example of how trade agreements can undermine U.S. public interest policies. The WTO authorized over $1 billion annually in trade sanctions against the United States unless and until the popular consumer policy is weakened or eliminated.

The ruling is a nightmare for the Obama administration's uphill battle to build support for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)."

 

Read the entire piece at the Huffington Post to find out how the WTO’s ruling spells trouble for the TPP.

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Comment on the Proposed Margin Requirements for Uncleared Swaps for Swaps Dealers and Major Swaps Participants

Language:  English IATP author(s):  Dr. Steve Suppan File:  2015_11_24_IATPMarginRuleComment.pdf Christopher Kirkpatrick September 14, 2015 Secretary to the Commission Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) (Commission) Three Lafayette Center 1155 21st Street NW Washington, DC 20581 Submitted electronically at http://comments.cftc.gov Comment on the Proposed Margin Requirements for Uncleared Swaps for Swaps Dealers and Major Swaps Participants—Cross Border Application of Margin Requirements: RIN 3039—AC971 Dear Mr. Kirkpatrick, The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)2 appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Commission’s above captioned Proposed Rule. We have not commented on the Commission’s past proposed rules for margining cross-border swaps, a...

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Response to the RFI concerning the revision of the Coordinated Framework (CF)

Language:  English IATP author(s):  Dr. Steve Suppan File:  2015_11_24_RevisedCoordinatedFramework.pdf November 13, 2015 National Science and Technology Council Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee Office of Science and Technology Policy Executive Office of the President Eisenhower Executive Office Building 1650 Pennsylvania Ave. Washington, DC 20504 Submitted electronically RE: Docket No. FDA–2015–N–3403 Request for Information: Clarifying Current Roles and Responsibilities Described in the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology and Developing a Long-Term Strategy for the Regulation of the Products of Biotechnology1 The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)2 appreciates this opportunity to respond to the...

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Rural Climate Policy Priorities

Subtitle:  Solutions from the Ground Language:  English IATP author(s):  Tara Ritter Author(s) (external):  Rural Climate Network File:  2015_11_25_RuralPolicyPriorities.pdf The intent of this working document is to describe climate change concerns specific to rural communities in the United States and identify policy approaches that are supportive of on-the-ground solutions. It reflects ideas and input from Rural Climate Network member organizations and other rural organizations, leaders and experts in the U.S. This is a starting point; additional input, perspectives and policy solutions are welcomed, as are questions, inquiries and endorsements. For more...

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U.S. rural leaders and advocates release climate change policy priorities

Subtitle:  Rural leaders emphasize resilience and equity as global climate talks begin Language:  English IATP author(s):  Tara Ritter Ben Lilliston File:  2015_12_01_PolicyPriorities.pdf MINNEAPOLIS, MN/PARIS, FRANCE – Rural organizations, leaders and experts in the U.S. outlined the challenges climate change poses to rural communities and a set of policy priorities, “Rural Climate Policy Priorities: Solutions from the Ground,” released today during the first week of global climate talks in Paris. U.S. rural communities are diverse and there is no one-size-fits-all climate solution. Rural America will be disproportionately impacted by climate change. On average,...

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Argentina: ganó la derecha

Blog de Javier Echaide - 24 novembre, 2015 - 03:04
Es la primera vez que la Argentina tiene un presidente conservador en 72 años. Por una exigua diferencia de un 2,8% (poco más de 700.000 votos), Mauricio Macri ha sido elegido por la voluntad popular en el ballotage celebrado en el día de ayer.

El fin de la "Era K"

Eran pocos los que, a las alturas de la 2da vuelta electoral, insistían con una "continuidad del proyecto" más allá del 10 de diciembre. Lo que estaba en juego era la tonalidad del cambio que seguiría: el grado de ese giro que significaría el cambio de gobierno para la Argentina.

Los tres candidatos mejor posicionados en las primarias (Daniel Scioli, Mauricio Macri y Sergio Massa) tenían mayores puntos en común que divergencias, por lo que la "derechización" del gobierno  siguiente era algo evidente (al menos para quien escribe y con quienes he conversado puede atestiguarlo así) desde hacía -cuanto menos- año y medio. Ello significaba que este gobierno tan difícil de clasificar (¿de centro?) llamado kirchnerismo tenía su finalización marcada por el calendario electoral, marcando de ese modo el final de una época.

Algunas lecturas comunes hablan de que el surgimiento del PRO fue el "punto de inflexión" que signoficó el 2008 y la llada entonces "crisis del campo", lo cual resulta en un error ya no de interpretación sino de rigor histórico y de seriedad en los datos. El PRO (en rigor, el partido se llama Propuesta Republicana) fue creado en el año 2005 como fusión de tres partidos: Compromiso por el Cambio -liderado por Mauricio Macri y una escisión del Partido Justicialista de donde él había surgido originalmente y otros partidos menores como el Partido Demócrata Progresista -que varió su denominación a solamente Partido Demócrata-, el partido Recrear para el Cambio -liderado por Ricardo López Murphy y una escisión del radicalismo, de dónde él se había apartado- y del Partido Federal. Todos estos partidos y referentes se alejaron de sus estructuras partidarias originarias -López Murphy sobre todo- por sus discrepancias en cuanto a un alejamiento de las políticas neoliberales del Consenso de Washington, pues más bien abogaban por su mantenimiento, como bien lo demostró López Murphy estando como Ministro de Economía en el gobierno del radical Fernando De La Rúa.

Por su lado, Mauricio Macri inició su carrera política en 2003 fundando un partido propio por fuera del peronismo, movimiento con el que había intentado coquetear, especialmente dentro de sectores afines al menemismo (recordemos que en 2003, Carlos Menem fue el candidato a presidente más votado en la 1ra vuelta con Néstor Kirchner detrás), aunque sin éxito.

Como logro, la creación del PRO, así como la unificación de los Partidos Socialistas (el Democrático y el Popular) en Argentina, fueron las únicas acciones dentro de las estructuras partidarias al simbronazo que fue la crisis que eclosionó el 19 y 20 de diciembre de 2001. En este sentido, la construcción del PRO ha sido más un lento armado de recuperación de los sectores liberales conservadores a dicha crisis que una "reacción espontánea" al kirchnerismo. No ha tenido nada de espontáneo: su planificación fue lenta y se centró en la ciudad de Buenos Aires, en las clases medias y altas, ampliándose luego a ciertos sectores bajos, sobre todo en los últimos dos años.

Ahora el kirchnerismo pasa a un rol desconocido hasta el momento: conservar ciertos resortes institucionales (recordemos que las elecciones legislativas no mostraron demasiados cambios en el Congreso Nacional, donde el kirchnerismo no tendrá mayoría absoluta pero mantendrá la primera minoría) pero sin estar el ejercicio del poder. Conserva un caudal político importante pero que no puede medirse con las elecciones del pasado domingo, y sin dudas que su rol como oposición le significará un desafío.

Qué sale. Qué queda

Di de desafíos hablamos, uno de los principales que el nuevo gobierno de Macri deberá enfrentar es en cuanto al mantenimiento de las políticas sociales logradas por el kirchnerismo. Durante los últimos meses se habló de la "kirchnerización" del discurso de Macri, en el sentido de acercar su línea política a algunas de las medidas tomadas por el gobierno de Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, tal como la Asignación Universal por Hijo (AUH), el matrimonio igualitario, los juicios abiertos contra los represores de la última dictadura militar, la estatización de las AFJP, Aerolíneas Argentinas o de la expropiación del 51% de las acciones de YPF de las manos de la transnacional española Repsol: en todos estos casos Macri ha confirmado que mantendría dichas políticas, aún cuando ha votado en contra de todas ellas al momento de ser tomadas.

La consigna con la que el macrismo se posisionó electoralmente y finalmente accedió al gobierno ayer fue con la consigna del "cambio". Y el mayor cambio que Macri dice encarnar es un cambio en las formas de gobernar. Sin embargo, ¿es realmente sólo en las formas dicho cambio? No. Los principales virajes es posible que provengan de aquello sobre lo que precisamente no se habló durante la campaña: la política exterior y lo que se vincule con los mercados internacionales.

La forma en que Argentina se inserta a dichos mercados está determinada en parte por las condiciones internas, pero también por las decisiones políticas que se toman. Muestra de ello es la falta de ingreso de Argentina a esquemas de integración alternativa a la hegemónica, como el ALBA por ejemplo, durante el propio kirchnerismo (a pesar de la exageración que es la identificación directa con la que la derecha nacional hace de los gobiernos de Cristina y Néstor Kirchner con el chavismo venezolano). Es probable que el no ingreso argentino a dicho eje pueda deberse a la falta de incentivos económicos que los países del ALBA pueden significar para un mercado como el argentino o el brasileño. Pero ello no explica el por qué sí al ingreso de Venezuela al Mercosur. Ello se debe al aporte que la producción venezolana sí hace y sí sirve a los países de nuestro bloque regional en materia energética frente a mercados -precisamente como el argentino y el brasileño- que sí necesitan de esos recursos.

Hoy el flamante presidente electo manifestó su compromiso de presentar un pedido de suspensión de Venezuela del Mercosur, cuestionando la legitimidad democrática en dicho país. La suspensión indefectiblemente impactará no solamente en los derechos de Venezuela sino también en sus obligaciones hacia el bloque... Y eso es algo que evidentemente Macri desconoce o muestra absoluta despreocupación: como si la matríz energética argentina diera de sobra.

Más allá de esto, la "cláusula democrática" que Macri invoca ahora para la suspensión de Venezuela del Mercosur, es la ruptura institucional en un Estado miembro. El Protocolo de Usuhaia de 1998 prevé que, ante un quiebre institucional, pueda suspenderse a un país miembro del bloque. Esa ruptura significa un golpe de Estado, una suplantación irregular del primer mandatario o alguna figura similar. Venezuela no ha tenido un quiebre institucional en dicho sentido, al margen de los enfrentamientos que mutuamente tienen el gobierno de Maduro con los medios de comunicación y la oposición. En lo jurídico, asimilar lo ocurrido en Paraguay (un cambio irregular en el mandato presidencial en 2012) con un "golpe de Estado" no ocurrido en Venezuela es desafiar la imaginación. En lo político tampoco esto tiene demasiado asidero: las decisiones en el Mercosur se toman por consenso. Un voto de apoyo por parte de países como Brasil y Uruguay al deseo de Macri sería algo francamente descabellado.

Un TLC con la UE y un ingreso a Acuerdo Transpacífico (desde el Atlántico)

Pero lo que sí no resulta descabellado es la política exterior que depende de la decisión unilateral del gobierno electo.

Se ha hablado mucho del "alineamiento político" al eje de Chávez, lo cual es algo a relativizar, aunque sí se ha marcado un modo en que la región sudamericana se ha autoidentificado frente al mundo. El rechazo de las políticas librecambistas del ALCA tuvo dos motivos: uno político y otro económico. Van de la mano y un cambio en la decisión política no irá acompañada de resultados económicos que la avalen, puesto que el simple "sí" de la Argentina al ingreso a la Alianza del Pacífico o del TLC con la Unión Europea (ambas mencionadas hoy como posibles medidas a tomar por el gobierno macrista) no alterará la división internacional del trabajo a la que Argentina se encuentra inserta: las políticas de libre comercio para un país como el nuestro implican una especialización de la economía en base a la exportación de commodities, los cuales históricamente tienen un precio tendiente a la baja en el largo plazo. Y el kirchnerismo lo supo a la fuerza, creyendo que el crecimiento "a tasas chinas" había llegado para quedarse con tasas de crecimiento al 8 y 9% por el aumento de exportaciones en base a la compra de soja por el ingreso de China al mecado mundial. Lo curioso fue que, en ese campo, el gobierno kirchnerista, caracterizado por la intervención económica, impulsó las fuerzas del mercado que profundizaron la "sojización" de la tierra y la primarización de la economía, y dedicó el proceso de industrialización al reemplazo de bienes en el mercado interno, pero no a una real industrialización. ¿Que es caro industrializarse? Sin dudas. Pero si no se impulsó con creimientos de 8 y 9%, resulta una ocurrencia pretender hacerlo cuando se está con dichos valores al 1 o 2% anual.

En este contexto, apostar por una incersión global como país agroexportador (teniendo además la matríz agroexportadora fuertemente extranjerizada) torna mucho más dependiente a un país como el nuestro a los intereses de los mercados internacionales. El libre comercio de los TLC conlleva consigo la liberalización del flujo de capitales, lo cual, en una economía como la nuestra, tiende a generar una salida mayor de divisas que su ingreso. Ello significará una extracción de recursos -económicos y naturales- hacia el extranjero. La única forma de sostener dicho modelo es mediante el ingreso de divisas. Se invoca generalmente el incentivo a la llegada de inversiones extranjeras. El neoliberalismo lo hizo mediante el proceso de privatizaciones: el Estado dejó la gestión de servicios públicos en manos de privados extranjeros que en su mayoría resultaron relativamente innovadores en el corto plazo pero retacearon inversiones comprometidas, aportaron tecnologías atrasadas y transfierieron los costos de sus producciones en las matrices a las filiales aquí alojadas (los precios de transferencia son un claro ejemplo de ello). En un marco internacional de crisis económica, abrirse en estos términos es una invitación a que dicha crisis llegue a nuestras casas con toda su fuerza.

A ello se suma el entramado de protección de inversiones que Argentina no ha tocado un ápice en 20 años. Nuestro país posee 58 tratados bilaterales de protección de inversiones (TBI) -56 vigentes- que no son mas que copias resumidas de lo que era el Capítulo de Inversiones del ALCA. Estos TBI habilitan (en rigor establecen el ius standi necesario) para que los inversionistas planteen demandas arbitrales en el CIADI, del Banco Mundial. Argentina es el país más demandado en el mundo en el CIADI por estas cuestiones. Probado está, a 20 años de haber sido celebrados, que los TBI no atrajeron inversiones (la UNCTAD, antigua promotora de estos tratados, es quien ha presentado informes con estos datos en 2009), pero las privatizaciones sí. Un ingreso de capitales en una economía abierta, altamente extranjerizada y con esta red de "contención jurídica" es nada menos que una bomba de tiempo para las cuentas públicas: actualmente Argentina tiene comprometido más del 25% de su presupuesto anual en demandas en el CIADI (probablemente más a raíz de las dificultades en la medición de cuentas y la transparencia de datos tanto de la administración pública como del organismo del CIADI), las cuales no serán tan sencillas de pagar "contante y sonante" como Macri ha manifestado hacer con la demanda de los fondos buitres.

El "voto en blanco" de la izquierda

En la caza de chivos expiatorios, mucho se especuló sobre la (errada o acertada, dependerá del lector) decisión de la izquierda de optar por el voto en blanco para el ballotage. Con los resultados sobre la mesa, las acusaciones por parte del kirchnerismo sobre dicha decisión no se hicieron esperar. Pero ello resulta no sólo no ser original, sino además un grave error.

El Frente de Izquierda (FIT) alcanzó casi los 4 millones de votos hace un mes. La diferencia de Macri con Scioli fue de 700.000 votos. Si se hace una lectura a modo muy grosero, lo dicho significa que solamente el 17,5% de los votos del FIT efectivamente votaron en blanco siguiendo "la línea del partido", lo que deja en un manto crítico sobre la capacidad que esa izquierda posee sobre sus propios votos. También evidencia la falta de asidero de la crítica del kirchnerismo (como de la poca autocrítica propia): la elección, si se perdió (como si el adversario tuviera absolutamente ningún acierto en su campaña), se perdió por causas propias, no ajenas.

La izquierda que jugó fuerte por el voto en blanco, por su parte, perdió en grande. Del lado del FIT o del lado de la centroizquierda de Margarita Stolbizer (algunas de sus agrupaciones aliadas llamaron al voto en blanco, mas no ella, que manifestó su apoyo al macrismo). Demostró falta de organicidad y una atomización pocas veces vista, aunque otra posible lectura pueda ser que ese sector del electorado está altamente capacitado para tomar sus propias decisiones por fuera de las estructuras partidarias. Así, esa izquierda que muchas veces hace gala de su nivel de organización, en esta oportunidad hizo agua y se notó: el 82,5% de su electorado eligió seguir sus propias convicciones y optó, haciendo caso omiso a los llamados partidarios.

Se abren con ello reflexiones sobre qué caracteriza al votante en la actualidad, mucho más cerca del ciudadano individual que de la organicidad partidaria (y en eso, la apelación del PRO a ese elector atomizado haya sido unos de sus principales aciertos). El desafío de Scioli (un andidato corrido a la centroderecha) era atraer a un voto de izquierda que le huía. Esos 4 millones de votos no habrían de sumarse al PRO por cuestioens ideológicas, pero tampoco significaba que se sumaran automáticamente a las filas del kirchnerismo que los relegó. Había, pues, que salir a buscar ese voto. La "militancia de a pie" lo entendió, aunque no todos lo hicieron así.

La opción para ello (y lo advertimos oportunamente) podía ser en hacer hincapié en las propuestas: un programa progresista que incorporase algunas críticas al kirchnerismo (lo cual podía tensar su relación interna, pero con un gobierno saliente y con unas bases desesperadas por un triunfo electoral) en materia de políticas concretas sobre las que están abiertamente interesados -megaminería, organismos transgénicos, recursos naturales, protección de inversiones, trabajo, distribución del ingreso, participación en las ganancias, derechos de género, libertad y educación sexual, aborto, propiedad indígena, etc.- Se vio muy poco (o nada) de eso en las últimas semanas antes del ballotage. De hecho, el macrismo se les adelantó al visitar la carpa que desde hace gran cantidad de meses mantienen apostada en Av. 9 de Julio y Av. de Mayo los representantes del pueblo indígena qom, provenientes del Chaco y Formosa (provincias donde paradójicamente el kirchnerismo ganó -ver mapa-). Macri salió de esa reunión con una carta compromiso formada y fotografías en todos los periódicos. No hubo reacción desde el oficialismo...

Una nueva derecha

Un argumento simplista es caracterizar a la izquierda como dividida, como si la derecha no tampoco lo estuviera. Hay más internacionales partidarias de derecha que de izquierda, y hay más partidos de tendencia ideológica de derechas que de izquierdas. Sin embargo, la "división" parece ser sólo propiedad de estos últimos...

Lo cierto es que ni la izquierda ni la derecha son patrimonio de un solo partido, y ni siquiera de la estructura de partidos políticos. Tampoco hay "una sola izquierda" como no hay "una sola derecha": hay variedades tanto dentro del marxismo como del liberalismo. Y eso también se expresa en elecciones. Sin ir más lejos, las opciones mejor posisionadas en la 1ra vuelta eran tres versiones de derechas distintas, alguna más corrida al centro que otra. La derecha de Macri es una derecha "amoldada": ha aprendido de los partidos catch all norteamericanos la facultad de acomodar sus plataformas electorales a las encuestas de opinión, relegando al olvido sus programas políticos o vaciándolos por completo de contenidos. Los esquemas partidariso europeos, clásicos, han perdido terreno frente a estos nuevos perfiles mucho más flexibles, dúctiles e indefinidos, mejor adaptados para pasar de ser una representación de la agenda de la derecha organizada a una afiliación "a la paz, al amor y a la felicidad" en menos de un año. El electorado es tratado individualmente e interpelado en esa individualidad ("en todo estás VOS", es el slogan del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, dirigido por el PRO desde hace 8 años) con mensajes que se acercan más a un producto publicitario de una marca de gaseosas que a un proyecto político, pero que no obstante encuentran un público atraído por esa interpelación diferente, más sincera, menos acartonada que acostumbran los "políticos de raza".

Esa nueva derecha no está sola, ya que el PRO argentino no es la única expresión. Sectores en Venezuela, Chile, en parte Brasil, también ensayan esta nueva habilidad de amoldarse a las demandas individuales. Esa es una posible derecha nueva en la región a la que habrá que prestar atención, pues es una nueva expresión del tiempo que viene.

Juan José Castelli, "la voz de la Revolución de Mayo" de 1810, expresó en sus últimas palabras tan tristes ante el avance de los contrarrevolucionarios en 1812: "Si ves al futuro, decile que no venga..." Otro gran vocero de la cultura popular, esta vez de la música moderna, el "Indio" Solari, bien podría ilustrarnos completando esa frase con otra, de sus canciones, diciendo: "El futuro llegó... hace rato".
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Initial Analysis of Key TPP Chapters

Eyes on Trade - 20 novembre, 2015 - 23:47

Here’s a helpful document that provides basic analysis of the contents and implications of many of the key TPP chapters. It was compiled by trade experts from labor and public interest organizations.

http://www.citizen.org/documents/analysis-tpp-text-november-2015.pdf

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

ICYMI: Newly Updated Initial Analyses of Key TPP Chapters

Eyes on Trade - 20 novembre, 2015 - 23:00

As one would expect for a deal negotiated behind closed doors with 500 corporate advisors and the public and press shut out:

  • The TPP would make it easier for corporations to offshore American jobs. The TPP includes investor protections that reduce the risks and costs of relocating production to low wage countries.  The pro-free-trade Cato Institute considers these terms a subsidy on offshoring, noting that they lower the risk premium of relocating to venues that American firms might otherwise consider.
  • The TPP would push down our wages by throwing Americans into competition with Vietnamese workers making less than 65 cents an hour. The TPP’s labor rights provisions largely replicate the terms included in past pacts since the “May 2007” reforms forced on then-president George W. Bush by congressional Democrats. A 2014 Government Accountability Office report found that these terms had failed to improve workers’ conditions. This includes in Colombia, which also was subjected to an additional Labor Action Plan similar to what the Obama administration has negotiated with Vietnam.
  • The TPP would flood the United States with unsafe imported food, including by allowing new challenges of border food safety inspections not provided for in past trade pacts.
  • The deal would raise our medicine prices, giving big pharmaceutical corporations new monopoly rights to keep lower cost generic drugs off the market. The TPP would roll back the modest reforms of the “May 2007” standards with respect to trade pact patent terms.
  • The TPP includes countries notorious for severe violations of human rights, but the term “human rights” does not appear in the 5,600 pages of the TPP text. In Brunei, LGBT individuals and single mothers can be stoned to death under Sharia law. In Malaysia, tens of thousands of ethnic minorities are trafficked through the jungle in modern-day slavery. 

This initial analysis compiles contributions by labor and public interest experts.

Please read the analysis here: http://www.citizen.org/documents/analysis-tpp-text-november-2015.pdf

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States’ Leadership on Healthy Food and Farming at Risk under Proposed Trade Deals

Language:  English Author(s) (external):  Sharon Anglin Treat File:  2015_11_20_FoodFarmingLeadership_ST.pdf Consumers want and expect that product labels will identify where their food is from, how it was produced and what is in it. In the absence of action by the federal government to provide this information, states across the United States are stepping up to require informational labels on food, including nutrition details, health warnings, GMO ingredients and how and where the food was produced. These state labeling laws are at risk, however, from international trade agreements. In particular, two comprehensive regional agreements, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), will have sweeping consequences for states across the...

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Catégories: Planet Not For Sale

State’s Leadership on Healthy Food and Farming at Risk Under Proposed Trade Deals

Language:  English Author(s) (external):  Sharon Anglin Treat File:  2015_11_19_FoodFarmingTradeFactSheet_ST.pdf Consumer interest in healthy eating, organic food and supporting sustainable local food systems has never been higher. Consumers want and expect that product labels will identify where their food is from, how it was produced and what is in it. With federal food labeling policies lagging far behind public expectations, state legislatures have taken the lead by enacting labeling laws to educate and protect consumers and support local food systems. Nearly 300 food labeling bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2014 and 2015, including nutrition disclosures, sugary drinks warnings, identification of local products such as olive oil and seafood, and disclosure of GMO...

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New Analysis of TPP Investment Chapter: U.S. Laws Face Expanded Threats from Foreign Investors

Eyes on Trade - 19 novembre, 2015 - 19:15

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch has gone carefully through the 50-plus pages of the very troubling investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal –-as well as the lengthy country-specific annexes. We found that the final text is worse than we thought, with almost every remaining undecided issue left in the March 2015 leaked draft resolved by eliminating various reform proposals.

The TPP would VASTLY expand both the number of foreign investors that could use ISDS to attack U.S. policies (more than 9200 new firms, which would double the current U.S. ISDS exposure), and it would expand the kinds of ISDS cases that could be brought. Instead of reforms to scale back ISDS, for the first time the TPP would allow ISDS attacks against financial regulations investors say undermine their “reasonable expectations” and hurt their expected profits.  And TPP would be the first U.S. trade pact that would allow drug firms to demand cash compensation for claimed violations of World Trade Organization rules on creation, limitation or revocation of intellectual property rights.

Meanwhile, the reforms to the ISDS process that the administration has been advertising did not materialize. There are no new conflict interest rules. There is no appeals mechanism. There is no cap on tribunal costs or discretion about how much governments can be ordered to pay the investor. The ONLY improvement in the text from a public interest perspective is a partial carve out of tobacco control policies from ISDS attack, and that clause in part highlights how no other public health or environmental policies are similarly safeguarded. 

Please read the analysis here: http://www.citizen.org/documents/analysis-tpp-investment-chapter-november-2015.pdf

Catégories: Planet Not For Sale