Tag Archives: regulate trade wars

Resuscitating Democracy: the role of Wikileaks

wikileaks ttip

On August 11, 2015 WikiLeaks has launched a campaign to crowd-source a €100,000 reward for Europe’s most wanted secret: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Starting pledges have already been made by a number of high profile activists and luminaries from Europe and the United States….Since it began to face opposition from BRICS countries at the World Trade Organisation, US policy has been to push through a triad of international “trade agreements” outside of the WTO framework, aimed at radically restructuring the economies of negotiating countries, and cutting out the rising economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS).

The three treaties, the “Three Big T’s”, aim to create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country’s legislative sovereignty.  Two of these super-secret trade deals have already been published in large part by WikiLeaks – the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) – defeating unprecedented efforts by negotiating governments to keep them under wraps.

But for Europeans the most significant of these agreements remains shrouded in almost complete secrecy. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is currently under negotiation between the US and the European Union, remains closely guarded by negotiators and big corporations have been given privileged access. The public cannot read it.

Today WikiLeaks is taking steps to ensure that Europeans can finally read the monster trade deal, which has been dubbed an “economic NATO” by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Using the new WikiLeaks pledge system everyone can help raise the bounty for Europe’s most wanted leak. The system was deployed in June to raise a $100,000 bounty for the TTIP’s sister-treaty for the Pacific Rim, the TPP.

The pledge system has been hailed by the New York Times as “a great disrupter”, which gives “millions of citizens… the ability to debate a major piece of public policy,” and which “may be the best shot we have at transforming the [treaty negotiation] process from a back-room deal to an open debate.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said,

“The secrecy of the TTIP casts a shadow on the future of European democracy. Under this cover, special interests are running wild, much as we saw with the recent financial siege against the people of Greece. The TTIP affects the life of every European and draws Europe into long term conflict with Asia. The time for its secrecy to end is now.”

Excerpts from WikiLeaks goes after hyper-secret Euro-American trade pact

Bilateral Trade Wars: farmers v.carmakers

rice paddies japan. image from wikipedia

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was supposed to be central to plans by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to pep up the economy. Japanese farming is heavily protected and inefficient. Mr Abe promised big changes when it came to “sacred” areas protected by swingeing import tariffs including rice, wheat, beef, dairy and sugar.

The American side knows Japanese farmers need time to adjust. Still, negotiators have recently been underwhelmed by what was on offer—a refusal by the Japanese side to contemplate big cuts in tariffs. Perhaps the Japanese judged that the Americans needed a deal more. If so, they miscalculated. Piqued, the Americans withdrew an offer to cut tariffs on imported car parts. And that was that. One Japanese policymaker describes it as the most acrimonious episode since the bruising bilateral trade wars of the 1980s….The TPP bus is stalled.

Japan, America and the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Stalemate, Economist, Oct. 4, 2014, at 47

Scrambling for Raw Materials, the United States v. China Trade Dispute, WTO

This dispute between China and the United States concerns four types of export restraint that China imposes on the export of a number of raw materials. The raw materials subject to the export restraints are various forms of bauxite, coke, fluorspar, magnesium, manganese, silicon carbide, silicon metal, yellow phosphorus and zinc. China is a leading producer of each of the raw materials which are used to produce everyday items as well as technology products.

The complainants [United States and other countries]-