#TPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks Releases Draft of Highly-Secretive Multi-National Trade Deal

#AceSecurityNews says latest information and opinions from RT on the release of the “TTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks releases draft of highly-secretive multi-national trade deal” documents together with download at this link PDF

Published time: November 13, 2013 17:36 
Edited time: November 15, 2013 09:36
A screenshot from wikileaks.orgA screenshot from wikileaks.org
Details of a highly secretive, multi-national trade agreement long in works have been published by WikiLeaks, and critics say there will be major repercussions for much of the modern world if it’s approved in this incarnation.

The anti-secrecy group published on Wednesday a 95-page excerpt taken from a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a NAFTA-like agreement that is expected to encompass nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product when it is finally approved: the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

#WikiLeaks release on secret #TPP that represents more than 40% of the world GDP – full negotiated IP draft text | http://t.co/FOOH82tBCI

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 13, 2013

US President Barack Obama and counterparts from 11 other prospective member states have hammered out the free trade agreement in utmost secrecy for years now, the result of which, according to the White House, would rekindle the economies of all of those involved, including many countries considered to still be emerging.

The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority,” Obama said during a Nov. 2011 address. The deal, he said, “has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia-Pacific but for future trade agreements” by regulating markets and creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.

Upon the publication of an excerpt obtained by WikiLeaks this week, however, opponents of the act are insisting that provisions dealing with creation, invention and innovation could serve a severe blow to everyone, particularly those the internet realm.

Although the TPP covers an array of topics — many of which have not been covered by past agreements, according to Obama — WikiLeaks has published a chapter from a draft dated August 30, 2013 that deals solely on Intellectual Property, or IP, rights. Previous reports about the rumoured contents of the TPP with regards to IP law have raised concern among activists before, with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation going as far  warn that earlier leaked draft text suggested the agreement “would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process and hinder people’s’ abilities to innovate,” all of which is being agreed upon without any oversight or observation. Indeed, the thousands of words released by WikiLeaks this week has concreted those fears and has already caused the likes of the EFF and others to sound an alarm.

The newly leaked TPP text confirms it’s a serious threat to users’ rights. Help us stop it:https://t.co/JEfZ5SNMhJ

— EFF (@EFF) November 13, 2013

The IP chapter, wrote WikiLeaks, “provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarize themselves with the details and implications of the TPP,” an agreement that has largely avoided scrutiny in the mainstream media during its development, no thanks, presumably, to the under-the-table arguments that have led prospective member states to the point they’re at today.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower site who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year now, had particularly harsh words for the TPP in a statement published alongside the draft release.

If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” Assange said. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Within the IP chapter, the partaking nations in one excerpt agree to “Enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development,” but elsewhere suggest that the way such could be accomplished would involve serious policing of the World Wide Web. Later, the countries write they hope to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, use, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems.”

Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges and increases in the penalties for infringement,” James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explained after reading the leaked chapter. “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine and profoundly bad for innovation.”

Opponents have argued in the past that stringent new rules under the TPP with regards to copyrighted material would cause the price of medication to go up: potentially catastrophic news for residents of member state who may have difficulties affording prescriptions. Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, has warned that US Trade Representatives privy to the TPP discussions have demanded provisions that “would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.” Indeed, the leaked chapter suggests drug companies could easily extend and widen patents under the TPP, prohibiting other countries from producing life-saving pills and selling them for less. Outside of the world of medicine, though, the implications that could come with new copyright rules agreed upon my essentially half of the world’s economy are likely to affect everyone.

One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view,” Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

WikiLeaks wrote in response that the enforcement measures discussed have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons.”

Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards,” warned WikiLeaks. “The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence.”

According to the whistleblower site, the IP chapter also includes provisions that rehash some of the very surveillance and enforcement rules from the abandoned SOPA and ACTA treaties that were left to die after public outrage halted any agreement with regards to those legislation.

The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s internet access,” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, explained to the website TorrentFreak.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, was abandoned last year after massive public campaign thwarted the US Congress’ attempt to censor access to certain internet sites were copyrighted content may be incidentally hosted. One of the bill’s biggest opponents, Kim Dotcom of file-sharing sites Megaupload and Mega, was quick to condone WikiLeaks for their release of the TPP draft and condemned those responsible for drafting a bill that he warned would have major consequences for all if approved, including residents of New Zealand such as himself.

No wonder they kept it secret. What a malicious piece of US corporate lobbying. TPP is about world domination for US corporations. Nothing else. We will stop this madness in New Zealand,” he told RT’s Andrew Blake.

According to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration and senior heads of state from other potential TPP nations have expressed interest in ratifying the agreement before 2014. All of that could now be put in jeopardy.

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#TPPA Environment Chapter & Chair’s Commentary: WikiLeaks Issues for NZ 1

#AceSecurityNews says for those interested in the full content of the “Environmental Chapter” here it is in full, l have highlighted and marked the important parts, this may help when reading it, as it is a long document.  

The consolidated draft text of the Environment chapter of the Trans-Pacific partnership Agreement and the accompanying chair’s commentary have been posted in Wikileaks (http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro). The documents are dated 24 November 2013, the final day of the Salt Lake City round in November.

The chair’s commentary records the countries that objected to, and in some cases that supported, different aspects of the text. They are consistent with the chart (https://wikileaks.org/IMG/pdf/tpp-salt-lake-positions.pdf) that Wikileaks posted in December showing one country’s assessment of the 12 countries’ positions on many TPPA issues.

TPP What is Wrong?Overview

The Environment Chapter addresses matters of conservation, environment, biodiversity, indigenous knowledge and resources, over-fishing and illegal logging, and climate change, among others. It might be expected to provide balance to the commercial interests being advanced in the other chapters, and genuine protections that are consistent with international environmental law.

Instead of a 21st century standard of protection, the leaked text shows that the obligations are weak and compliance with them is unenforceable. Contrast that to other chapters that subordinate the environment, natural resources and indigenous rights to commercial objectives and business interests. The corporate agenda wins both ways.

The Strategy of a Consolidated Text

The Environment chapter is one of four that have been at stalemate for several years, the others being intellectual property, transparency in healthcare technologies and state-owned enterprises.

The leaked chairs’ text of the chapter and the accompanying chairs’ commentary provide an insight into the process that ministers adopted to break the deadlock on the core unresolved chapters. Both documents say the Ministers in Brunei asked Canada, as chair,2 to produce a consolidated text. It is not clear whether the same request was made to the chairs of the other working groups, but a similar kind of approach would seem likely.

A similar process has proved very controversial at the World Trade Organization (WTO) where it has been used to attempt to break deadlocks in the Doha round (http://focusweb.org/node/12). It was deployed most recently at the WTO ministerial conference (http://www.epw.in/commentary/what-happened-bali-wto-meet-and-why.html) in Bali, which immediately preceded the December 2013 meeting of TPPA ministers in Singapore.

A chairs’ text is meant to be a circuit breaker in negotiations that have become bogged down around a formal text by leaving that text behind. It can be an effective catalyst if all the countries buy into the process. Strong outlier positions can be diluted by the chair’s adoption of compromise or majority positions. The proponents can be marginalised and treated as obstructive if they insist on restoring them, especially if the chair has discretion over what to include and comes from a country that has a strong position themselves. That appears not to have been the approach of Canada in this case, but it could arise if the same approach has been taken for other chapters – especially ones that the US chairs. Successfully restoring positions to the text relies initially on the effectiveness and persistence of officials and subsequently on the relative power of ministers among the Group of 12, and the trade-offs they are willing to make if they consider the issue to be a red line.

The Politics of the Environment Chapter

The chairs’ report shows the main outlier for the Environment chapter is the US.

There are various reasons for that. There is a long history of resistance to environment rules being included in WTO agreements, and certainly becoming subject to trade sanctions through dispute settlement processes. Most of the FTAs that do not involve the US use hortatory language and are not enforceable.

Some parties have commercial interests and political sensitivities they wish to protect. The memorandum by the US environmental groups gives examples of over-fishing and shark-finning, illegal logging, and trade in endangered species and wildlife.

Australia, NZ the US and Canada were the four countries that voted against the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognises indigenous rights in relation to genetic resources and biodiversity.

Parties have divergent positions on Multilateral Environmental Agreements. The US has not signed the Convention on Biological Diversity and very few of the twelve countries have signed or ratified the subsequent Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization. The US is also not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The US Political Dilemma

The US has a particular political dilemma. The text falls far below the standards it has insisted are included in all US free trade agreements since May 2007, which resulted from a deal reached between the Democrat-controlled Congress and President George W Bush.

The most fundamental problem for the US is the refusal of all the other countries to agree that the chapter should be subject to the same dispute settlement mechanism as the rest of the agreement. It provides for consultation at officials and ministerial levels, leading to arbitration and agreement to a plan of action, but there are no penalties if the state does not implement the plan.

Obama is going to find this a very hard sell to domestic constituencies. The timing of the leak could hardly be worse. On 9 January 2014 a Bill seeking fast track authority was presented to the Congress. The controversial fast track process requires the Congress to accept or reject the deal and imposes a strict time limit on debate. The numbers were already stacking up against the Bill, with Democrats especially critical of the erosion of their powers and the secrecy of the negotiations, as well as the reported content. This leaked environment chapter will further erode support among Democratic members of the House of Representatives who are up for re-election later this year. Obama is going to have to rely heavily on unfriendly Republicans.

Scope of the chapter

The scope of the chapter is unclear. There are references to environmental laws, policies, practices and proceedings, which is potentially very broad. But only ‘environmental laws’ is defined, and defined narrowly as laws whose primary purpose is either (a) protection of the environment or (b) preventing danger to human life or health, and only when those laws pursue this purpose through rules that relate to pollutants or environmental contaminants, control of environmentally hazardous or toxic materials, or conservation of wild flora or fauna. The chapter would not, for example, apply to resource management laws that seek to balance a range of commercial, recreational and environmental interests.

The chapter also only applies at the central/federal government level, whereas a large number of environmental regulations and decisions are sub-federal.

Indigenous rights and Biodiversity

Most of Article SS.13 on Trade and Biodiversity is weak and aspirational, drawing from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It will do nothing to neutralise rules in other chapters that enable commercial exploitation of biodiversity, especially the intellectual property chapter.

In paragraph 2, for example, parties commit to ‘promoting and encouraging the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and sharing in a fair and equitable way the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.’

The sovereign rights of governments over natural resources to determine access to them and to legislation in paragraph 4 seems aimed at reasserting state control vis-a-vis indigenous people’s and local communities, not just over foreign interests.

Obligations in Article 13 are also subject to domestic legislation, which potentially makes them even more meaningless.

Prior consent to accessing genetic resources and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits in paragraph 5 relates to the state, not to indigenous people’s or local communities.

This falls far short of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which all the parties except for the US have now signed. The Obama administration announced in 2010 its intention to do so. Article 31 of the Declaration says:

  1. Indigenous people’s have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
  2. In conjunction with indigenous people’s, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Four countries (Malaysia, Peru, Vietnam and Brunei) want the provisions to extend to derivatives of genetic material, which is where the commercial benefits lie. This is consistent with the Nagoya Protocol, which refers in Article 5 to fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the utilisation of genetic resources as well as subsequent applications and commercialisation.

Peru and Mexico also want a requirement in paragraph 3 for indigenous people’s and local communities to approve and be consulted on conservation and sustainable use of their knowledge, innovations and practices, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from their use. That is consistent with both the Nagoya Protocol and the UN Declaration.

New Zealand does not support either of these stronger positions. That is likely to create issues with iwi, and with the Maori Party, as the changes being proposed to strengthen the role of indigenous people’s appear to be consistent with the Waitangi Tribunal report Ko Aotearoa Tenei (WAI 262) on Maori traditional knowledge and resources.

The US says it cannot agree to the entire Article because it is not a party to the CBD.

Other issues for NZ

New Zealand is part of the WTO group ‘Friends of the Fish’. The proposals in Article SS16.6 to restrict fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing fall far short of the positions they have promoted. These are detailed in the US environment groups’ memo.

Article SS16.4 does not require a ban on shark finning.

In Article SS15 the parties merely agree to discuss ways to deal with climate change with possible links to the APEC process. The US and Australia oppose even that provision. There is no reference to the regional carbon-trading scheme that Trade and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser has been promoting, which would expose climate change measures even more deeply to speculative finance markets, although there is general recognition of market-based mechanisms.

Other chapters dealing with the environment

The environment chapter is one of many – the TPPA is generally described as having 29 chapters or sections of chapters. Environment policy, regulation and practices are affected by many other chapters, which impose substantive obligations and rules.

The most egregious threat to the environment is the investment chapter, in particular the prior consent by all countries except Australia to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The majority of investment arbitrations under similar agreements involve natural resources, especially mining, and have resulted in billions of dollars of damages against governments for measures designed to protect the environment from harm caused by foreign corporations. The US is also demanding that contracts between investors and states that involve natural resources also have access to ISDS.

Chapters that may impact on environmental measures, with some examples, include:

  • investment, eg challenges to tighter rules on mining and remediation rules, bans on fracking and nuclear energy, performance requirements on foreign investors to use of clean technology, restrictions on numbers and locations of waste plants or eco-tourism projects, not lowering environmental standards to attract investors
  • goods market access, eg tariffs (see Article CSR8 on zero tariffs)
  • non-tariff measures – eg green technologies for motor vehicles, prescribed manufacturing or processing methods
  • customs, eg preferential processing for smaller cc vehicles
  • agriculture, eg differential tariffs on organics
  • subsidies and countervailing measures, eg for green or clean energy production
  • sanitary and phytosanitary (quarantine), eg. bans on use of certain pesticides in products, bans or restrictions on imports of GE products
  • technical barriers to trade, eg. GE tracing labelling requirements, food content labelling, emission standards (see also non-tariff measures)
  • intellectual property, eg. new technologies, seeds, patented food products, organics trademarks, biodiversity, genetic resources
  • cross-border services eg. e-services including computerised remote operation of oil and gas extraction, engineering and other professional services, remediation services, delivery of environmental technologies; the chapter is likely to crossover with investment on local establishment of commercial activities, eg waste disposal and water companies, mining and fisheries processing operations, etc.
  • financial services eg. tradeable financial instruments such as energy derivatives, carbon credits.

 These chapters have their own rules, which would complement and possibly conflict with those in the environment chapter. Many will also have their own committees to review compliance, obligations and procedures for consultation, and enforcement mechanisms. For investment those mechanisms include investor-state dispute settlement.

The Transparency and Regulatory Coherence chapters require decision-making and regulatory processes that are also additional to those in the Environment chapter. They may involve preparation and disclosure of documents, right of participation of foreign commercial interests in domestic decision-making, review procedures, use of light handed regulation, and evidence to support the level of regulatory intrusion on commercial interests. These may collectively provide multiple pressure points on a government and assist investors to compile a dossier of material to use in a dispute, including investor-state disputes.

The standard general exceptions provisions are mostly subject to a ‘necessity’ test, requiring the government to adopt the measure for conservation, environment or human health purposes that intrudes least on commercial interests. It must also not be discriminatory or a ‘disguised barrier to trade’. The US has not agreed that this exception should apply to the investment chapter, although it is facing pressure to do so.

Unlike other leaked chapters, there is very little guidance on how the chapters inter-relate or what happens if there is a conflict.

Courtesy of: Professor Jane Kelsey

16 January 2014 (NZDT)

 

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Press release: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Environment Chapter

#AceSecurityNews says today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators’ summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. PDF

TPP WikiLeaksThe Environment Chapter covers what the Parties propose to be their positions on: environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity and fishing stocks; and trade and investment in ‘environmental’ goods and services. It also outlines how to resolve environmental disputes arising out of the treaty’s subsequent implementation. The draft Consolidated Text was prepared by the Chairs of the Environment Working Group, at the request of TPP Ministers at the Brunei round of the negotiations.

When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures. The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ publisher, stated: “Today’s WikiLeaks release shows that the public sweetener in the TPP is just media sugar-water. The fabled TPP environmental chapter turns out to be a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”

The Chairs’ Report of the Environment Working Group also shows that there are still significant areas of contention in the Working Group. The report claims that the draft Consolidated Text displays much compromise between the Parties already, but more is needed to reach a final text. The main areas of contention listed include the role of this agreement with respect to multilateral environmental agreements and the dispute resolution process.

The documents date from 24 November 2013 ─ the end of the Salt Lake City round. They were requested by the Ministers of the TPP after the August 2013 Brunei round. The Consolidated Text was designed to be a “landing zone” document to further the negotiations quickly and displays what the Chairs say is a good representation of all Parties’ positions at the time. The WikiLeaks Consolidated Text and corresponding Chairs’ Report show that there remains a lot of controversy and disagreement within the Working Group. The Consolidated Text published by WikiLeaks is not bracketed, as per the IP Chapter released in November 2013, as it is drafted by the Chairs of the Working Group at their responsibility. Instead, the accompanying Chairs’ Report provides commentary on the draft Consolidated Text and is the equivalent of bracketed disagreements for the countries that have not agreed on certain Articles, and provides their positions.

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. This is the third in the series of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) leaks published by WikiLeaks.

 

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#TPP is Fast-Tracked Through Congress to Facilitate a Flawed Agreement

#AceWorldNews says according to a post today in EcoWatch written by Ilana Solomon it was yesterday, Congress pulled a rusty, old tool from the bottom of its toolbox. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, otherwise known as “fast track,” which could facilitate passage of deeply flawed trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with limited public and Congressional input. If fast-track legislation is approved by Congress, the President would be able sign the #TPP and then send it to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote—with no room for amendments and limited floor debate. If that sounds backward, it’s because it is.

tppFI

The#TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and fracking across the U.S. Graphic courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

First, fast track is an outdated and inappropriate mechanism. It was first passed in 1974 when trade pacts focused on traditional trade issues, like tariffs and quotas. Today, trade pacts like the #TPP cover a broad range of issues including the environment, investment, labour, government procurement, consumer protections and many more things we face in our everyday lives. It is therefore critical that Congress maintain its constitutional authority to oversee trade policy and ensure that trade pacts protect communities, workers and the environment before the pacts get finalized.

Second, fast track is undemocratic. After congressional approval, the President could submit signed trade pacts to Congress for an up-or-down vote within 90 days with all amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate. Even more atrocious is that it would actually allow the President to write legislation that would change U.S. laws to make them conform to the terms of the secretly negotiated trade agreement.

In other words, fast-track authority eliminates a critical constitutional check-and-balance structure that aids most other democratic processes. By stripping Congress of its ability to fully debate and amend the language of today’s all-encompassing trade pacts, fast-track authority renders Congress unable to ensure that trade negotiations result in agreements that benefit communities and the environment.

Third, it’s a risky endeavor that could help rubber-stamp very harmful trade pacts such as the #TPP. The #TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would elevate corporations to the level of nations, thus allowing foreign companies to directly sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits. It would also open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and, therefore,fracking across the U.S.

TPP What is Wrong?And the real kicker is that—despite these any many other consequences—there has been virtually no opportunity for public discussion of the trade pact, as no draft text has been publicly revealed. So Congress is actually voting on whether to quickly pass trade agreements it’s never even seen!

Now is the time we need a full discussion about the true costs of the #TPP and other trade pacts—not a process to rush flawed deals through the finish line.

The bottom line is that fast track would set us up for failure. It’s critical that Congress has the ability to effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure that the contents of our trade agreements protect our workers, communities and environment in the U.S. and abroad. The public and members of Congress have effectively been left in the dark for too long. Now it’s up to Congress to take the reins and oppose fast track. On behalf of the Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supports, I urge members to oppose this fast-track bill and retain their right to ensure that the U.S. trades responsibly.

Courtesy of Ilana Solomon

 

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“Ordinary Citizens Protest on the Internet to Block the Obama Administration’s Plan to Ram Through Congress Globalist Free Trade Agreements”

New Event On 08/01/2014 at 10am - Visit Link of Article Under Trans-Pacific-Partnership TPP  #AceWorldNews says according to this article written by Jerome R Corsi  – NEW YORK – on the 1st January 2014 in his article asking – Can ordinary citizens protesting on the Internet block the Obama administration’s plan to ram through Congress one of the most ambitious globalist, “free-trade agreements” ever negotiated?

IF YOU MISSED THE LAST EVENT NEXT ONE IS 08/01/2014 at 10 AM BST  

Very quietly, opposition is building on the Internet to oppose legislation that may be introduced as soon as Jan. 8. The measure would grant President Obama what is known as “fast track authority” to ram through Congress the Trans-Pacific Partnership with limited debate and no opportunity to propose amendments. The international trade agreement, negotiated largely in secret by the Obama administration, is regarded by globalist free traders as a cornerstone of the emerging “New World Order.”

A Facebook page has been created to call for a “Anti-TPP Twitter Storm” on New Year’s Day beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and continuing  on Wednesday 8th January 2014.

“Anti-TPP Twitter Storm Wednesday 08/1/14 @ 4 p.m. PST/7 p.m. EST, the whole world tweeted and posted an ANTI-TPP hashtag (to be announced) with posts about why people should stop the Trans Pacific Partnership,” the Facebook page reads.

“The goal of this ‘hashtag storm’ is to get this hashtag trending on both Twitter and Facebook, so we can inform the public about the dangers of the Trans Pacific Partnership and agitate people to ACT to stop the TPP. Join us and help expose the corporate coup known as the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

Obama’s ‘two –ocean’ free-trade agenda

As WND previously reported, Obama, in his State of the Union address Feb. 12, announced a two-ocean globalist free-trade agenda:

“To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he said. “And tonight, I am announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – because trade that is free and fair across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”

For the first time, a decision by the U.S. Trade Representative within the Executive Office of the President was made public to expand the ongoing negotiations for a free-trade zone with Pacific Rim countries to include a a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with European Union countries.

Now there is no doubt the Obama administration has decided in the second term to double-up on a globalist agenda to develop massive new free-trade agreements across both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, adding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TAP, to what is being developed as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

Fast-track authority

WND has reported Obama administration plans in development for the past two years are ready be implemented as Democrats in Congress plan to pass the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement with a simple majority vote that would skirt the two-thirds vote in the Senate that the U.S. Constitution requires to ratify a treaty.

The strategy centers on what is known as “fast track authority,” a provision under the Trade Promotion Authority that requires Congress to review a free-trade agreement, or FTA, under limited debate, in an accelerated time frame that is subject to a yes-or-no vote by Congress without any provision for Congress to modify the agreement by submitting amendments. Fast-track authority is also intended to reassure foreign partners that the FTA negotiated by the executive branch will not be altered by Congress during the legislative process.

A report released Jan. 24 by the Congressional Research Service, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Issues for Congress,” makes clear the Obama administration does not have fast-track authority to negotiate the TPP, even though the office of the U.S. Trade Representative is acting as if it were in place:

The present negotiations are not being conducted under the auspices of formal trade promotion authority (TPA) – the latest TPA expired on July 1, 2007 – although the Administration informally is following the procedures of the former TPA. If TPP implementing legislation is brought to Congress, TPA may need to be considered if the legislation is not to be subject to potentially debilitating amendments or rejection. Finally, Congress may seek to weigh in on the addition of new members to the negotiations, before or after the negotiations conclude.

The CRS report states that the TPP is being negotiated as a regional free-trade agreement that U.S. negotiators describe as a “comprehensive and high-standard” FTA that they hope “will liberalize trade in nearly all goods and services and include commitments beyond those currently established in the World Trade Organization (WTO.)”

That the Obama administration is treating the TPP like a TPA and not a formal treaty obligation strongly suggests the Obama majority will seek passage of the TPP by a simple majority vote in Congress.

Still, the impact of the TPP will be equivalent to a formal treaty obligation in that agreements made within the TPP will be designed to supersede U.S. law with the regional authorities as specified within the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

So, the last hurdle the Obama administration faces in making the TPP law is to get Congress to vote fast-track authority as the terms under which the TPP will be introduced to Congress.

As a consequence, one of the few remaining strategies left to opponents of the TPP is to urge Congress to vote against giving the Obama administration fast-track authority when the issue comes up for debate, possibly as early as next week.

Advancing the NWO agenda

The globalists advising the Obama administration appear to have learned from the adverse public reaction to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, during the administration of President George W. Bush. Obama has avoided the leader summit meetings that exposed to a critical alternative news media the international “working group” coordination needed to create international free-trade agreements.

Globalists have learned from the adverse reaction that such internationalist adventures as the Trans-Texas Highway, known as the NAFTA Super-Highway, will only succeed if such initiatives are pursued covertly with a determination to ridicule anyone who dares contemplate its larger purpose of increasing global sovereignty.

The Obama administration has shut down the Security and Prosperity Partnership website, SPP.gov. The last joint statement issued by the newly formed North American Leaders Summit, operating as the rebranded SPP, was issued April 2, 2012, at the conclusion of the last tri-lateral head-of-state meeting held between the U.S., Mexico and Canada in Washington, D.C.

Now, with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Obama administration appears to have leapfrogged SPP ambitions to create a North American Union by including Mexico and Canada in the TPP configuration.

The 10 nations involved in the TPP include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

A graph presented in the CRS report on the first page shows the reach of the agreement across the Pacific, including Peru and Chile in South America; Australia and New Zealand; Malaysia and Vietnam in Southeast Asia; Singapore; and Japan.

As seen in the North American detail below, trade from Canada extends down into roughly Oklahoma in the United States, and trade from Mexico extends north roughly to Colorado.

At the same time, trade from Mexico is seen both as extending up into the United States, reaching across the Pacific Ocean to the Asian and Pacific Rim nations involved in the FTA.

International tribunal dispute resolution

leaked copy of the TPP draft makes clear in Chapter 15, “Dispute Settlement,” that the Obama administration intends to surrender U.S. sovereignty to adjudicate disputes arising under the TPP to the processes of an international tribunal.

Disputes involving interpretation and application of the TPP agreement, according to Article 15.7, will be adjudicated by an “arbitral tribunal” composed of three TPP members whose purpose under Article 15.8 will be “to make an objective assessment of the dispute before it, including an examination of the facts of the case and the applicability of and conformity with this Agreement, and make such other findings and rulings necessary for the resolution of the dispute referred to it as it thinks fits.”

The TPP draft agreement does not specify that these arbitral tribunals must render decisions in compliance with U.S. law or that the decisions of the arbitral tribunals are invalid should they violate or otherwise contravene U.S. law.

Investment disputes under the TPP appear to be relegated for resolution to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an international authority created by 158 nations that are signatories to the ICSID Convention created under the auspices of the World Bank.

The TPP draft agreement specifies that foreign firms from Trans-Pacific signatory countries that seek to do business in the U.S. can apply to the arbitral tribunals to obtain relief under the trade pact from complying with onerous U.S. laws and regulations, including environmental regulations and financial disclosure rules.

Because the TPP agreement places arbitral tribunals created under TPP above U.S. law, the Obama administration appears to be intent on creating a judicial authority higher than the U.S. Supreme Court. The tribunal could overrule decisions U.S. federal courts make to apply U.S. laws and regulations to foreign corporations doing business within the U.S.

#Tweet Hashtag to be announced or visit  the events page and sign up today  Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.

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“Top Secret’ Global Trade Partnership…According to our Guest Post Author”

#AceGuestViews says this was provided by a guest writer and we feature this view as it was printed. We are also pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor. 

WikiLeaks Releases “Top Secret ” Global Trade Partnership

Posted by  on November 14, 2013   /   Comments Off
Category: Cover-ups   Tags: 

A screenshot from wikileaks.orgA screenshot from wikileaks.org

A screenshot from WikiLeaks.org

Stephen: This secret document could be seen in two ways: 1. as something divisive and corrosive; or, 2. as “a forerunner of global oneness thinking”(as sage put it when we were discussing its possible merits, purpose and contents today). I’m putting it in to the light of the latter because even if it isn’t, it’s now in the light anyway – for discussion, evaluation, alteration and/or rejection by us, the people.

I also think it’s important to remember that not everything ‘secret’ is necessarily out of alignment and that sometimes things are leaked intentionally to instigate the ‘right’ change.

From WikiLeaks – November 13, 2013

http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Stop TPP -  Total Peasant Pacification

Stop TPP – Total Peasant Pacification (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

On the, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.

The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP.The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.

The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.

Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Wal-Mart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.

The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.

The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.

The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

To read the full TPP documentation and accompanying information, head tohttp://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Here’s how RT.com reported this news release today:

tppsecretTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks Releases Draft of Highly-Secretive Multi-National Trade Deal

From RT.om – November 13, 2013

http://rt.com/usa/wikileaks-tpp-ip-dotcom-670/

Details of a highly secretive, multi-national trade agreement long in works have been published by WikiLeaks, and critics say there will be major repercussions for much of the modern world if it’s approved in this incarnation.

The anti-secrecy group published on Wednesday a 95-page excerpt taken from a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a NAFTA-like agreement that is expected to encompass nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product when it is finally approved: the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

US President Barack Obama and counterparts from 11 other prospective member states have hammered out the free trade agreement in utmost secrecy for years now, the result of which, according to the White House, would rekindle the economies of all of those involved, including many countries considered to still be emerging.

“The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority,” Obama said during a Nov. 2011 address. The deal, he said, “has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia-Pacific but for future trade agreements” by regulating markets and creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.

Upon the publication of an excerpt obtained by WikiLeaks this week, however, opponents of the act are insisting that provisions dealing with creation, invention and innovation could serve a severe blow to everyone, particularly those the internet realm.

Although the TPP covers an array of topics — many of which have not been covered by past agreements, according to Obama — WikiLeaks has published a chapter from a draft dated August 30, 2013 that deals solely on Intellectual Property, or IP, rights. Previous reports about the rumored contents of the TPP with regards to IP law have raised concern among activists before, with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation going as far as to warn that earlier leaked draft text suggested the agreement “would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate,” all of which is being agreed upon without any oversight or observation. Indeed, the thousands of words released by WikiLeaks this week has concreted those fears and has already caused the likes of the EFF and others to sound an alarm.

The IP chapter, wrote WikiLeaks, “provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarize themselves with the details and implications of the TPP,” an agreement that has largely avoided scrutiny in the mainstream media during its development, no thanks, presumably, to the under-the-table arguments that have led prospective member states to the point they’re at today.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower site who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year now, had particularly harsh words for the TPP in a statement published alongside the draft release.

“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” Assange said. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Within the IP chapter, the partaking nations in one excerpt agree to “Enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development,” but elsewhere suggest that the way such could be accomplished would involve serious policing of the World Wide Web. Later, the countries write they hope to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, use, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems.”

“Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges and increases in the penalties for infringement,” James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explained after reading the leaked chapter.

“The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine and profoundly bad for innovation.”

Opponents have argued in the past that stringent new rules under the TPP with regards to copyrighted material would cause the price of medication to go up: potentially catastrophic news for residents of member state who may have difficulties affording prescriptions. Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, has warned that US Trade Representatives privy to the TPP discussions have demanded provisions that “would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.” Indeed, the leaked chapter suggests drug companies could easily extend and widen patents under the TPP, prohibiting other countries from producing life-saving pills and selling them for less. Outside of the world of medicine, though, the implications that could come with new copyright rules agreed upon my essentially half of the world’s economy are likely to affect everyone.

“One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view,” Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

WikiLeaks wrote in response that the enforcement measures discussed have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons.”

“Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards,” warned WikiLeaks. “The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence.”

According to the whistleblower site, the IP chapter also includes provisions that rehash some of the very surveillance and enforcement rules from the abandoned SOPA and ACTA treaties that were left to die after public outrage halted any agreement with regards to those legislation.

“The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s internet access,” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, explained to the website TorrentFreak.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, was abandoned last year after massive public campaign thwarted the US Congress’ attempt to censor access to certain internet sites were copyrighted content may be incidentally hosted. One of the bill’s biggest opponents, Kim Dotcom of file-sharing sites Megaupload and Mega, was quick to condone WikiLeaks for their release of the TPP draft and condemned those responsible for drafting a bill that he warned would have major consequences for all if approved, including residents of New Zealand such as himself.

“No wonder they kept it secret. What a malicious piece of US corporate lobbying. TPP is about world domination for US corporations. Nothing else. We will stop this madness in New Zealand,” he told RT’s Andrew Blake.

According to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration and senior heads of state from other potential TPP nations have expressed interest in ratifying the agreement before 2014. All of that could now be put in jeopardy.

Related articles

#aceguestnews, #brunei, #chile, #intellectual-property, #julian-assange, #salt-lake-city, #tpp, #trans-pacific-strategic-economic-partnership, #united-states, #wikileaks

TPP Threatens Freedom of the Internet

Stop TPP -  Total Peasant Pacification

Stop TPP – Total Peasant Pacification (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

#AceSecurityNews says a few days ago on 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents. Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states.

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China.

Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.

TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free...

TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement Subordinates Nations (And People) To Corporations (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.

The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.

The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.

The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

Read the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter here:

https://wikileaks.org/tpp/static/pdf/Wikileaks-secret-TPP-treaty-IP-chapter.pdf

http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2013/11/20/netizen-report-tpp-draft-escapes-government-clutches-lands-on-wikileaks/

 

#gross-world-product, #intellectual-property, #julian-assange, #salt-lake-city, #tpp, #trans-pacific-strategic-economic-partnership, #united-states, #wikileaks

Wikileaks’ Release Of TPP Chapter On IP Blows Open Secret Trade Negotiation

English: The logo used by Wikileaks

English: The logo used by Wikileaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years, the United States and partner governments have worked vigorously to keep the public they represent from knowing what they are negotiating behind closed doors in the top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. But yesterday’s Wikileaks release of the draft intellectual property chapter blew that up, confirming the fears of public interest groups that this is an agreement heavily weighted toward big industry interests.

“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said in a release. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

In a live broadcast today [at minute 25], Assange said, “I think this release is going to pretty much kill it,” referring to the TPP. Assange, who said his team had worked with little sleep for four days to get this out, said that what is being pitched as intellectual property rights is really no more than a consolidation of monopoly control by large companies. This is a “major” release by Wikileaks, he said, showing the agreement would create new judicial institutions that would allow companies to sue governments with no rights. “It’s a big deal geopolitically,” Assange said, by creating a massive bloc that does not include China.

The 95-page text of the TPP IP chapter is from the 26-30 August 2013 round of negotiations in Brunei, and is available here (along with a press release).

The group Just Foreign Policy has issued a reminder to people to fulfill their pledges on Wikileaks donation page, which totalled some US$70,000 if it posted the TPP. “WikiLeaks has rendered a tremendous service to the public,” it said.

There have been further negotiations on IP rights since August, and another round is planned for next week, from 19-24 November in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to sources.

The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP, Wikileaks notes in its press release. Participating countries include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.

US officials have indicated that they are pushing to complete negotiations as quickly as possible by or near year’s end, and have begun seeking support in Congress for trade promotion authority, which would limit Congress to a yes or no vote on the final treaty.

The chapter published by WikiLeaks “is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents,” it said.

The Text

Parts of the IP chapter have leaked in past years, but for the first time the whole chapter is public and shows the negotiating positions of the countries as well as areas of disagreement.

The text covers a wide range of topics, including definitions, relationship to other international agreements, and issues of patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial design. Examples are the promotion of patent cooperation, patentability, marketing approval for pharmaceuticals, requirements that geographical indications systems recognise trademark systems, and treatment of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, and setting out terms for limitations and exceptions to copyright.

Assange said that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia most often supported the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries. Nations such as Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia were more likely to be in opposition, Wikileaks said. Countries that already have bilateral accords with the United States have previously signalled reluctance to further expand their IP commitments.

TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free...

TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement Subordinates Nations (And People) To Corporations (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

Enforcement makes up the largest section of the chapter. Wikileaks said the chapter: “is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.”

US advocacy group Public Citizen has circulated an analysis of what is new in the latest leak. The analysis is available here [pdf]. Knowledge Ecology International also circulated a detailed analysis of the text, available here.

Extreme Secrecy

Wikileaks pointed out the extraordinary level of secrecy of the talks to the public, while hundreds of industry advisers have had access to the text.

“Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy,” it said. “Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.”

The aim of the TPP IP chapter is to address global concerns over piracy and counterfeiting, and raise standards in the partner countries, sometimes beyond what they agree in past bilateral agreements with the US.

The view of negotiating governments, led by the US, seems to be that if they can finish the deal with the fewest disruptive forces possible, it might get through. But as with the ill-fated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and anti-piracy legislation in the US Congress that met massive public resistance, this agreement also seems to be stoking anxieties that again the government is not acting in the best interest of the public.

Assange asserted in the live discussion today that the treaty appears aimed at isolating China economically. But Wikileaks noted that numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines as well as Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

Reactions Strong

Reaction to the text from civil society and advocacy groups was quick and strong. Where trade negotiators seem to be looking for ways to improve IP standards and enforcement, advocates fear it means eating away at civil liberties and access. The following are a few immediate reactions.

KEI (US)

“The document confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer rights and safeguards,” Knowledge Ecology International said in a blog post. “Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges, and increases in the penalties for infringement.

“The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights,” KEI said. “Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation.”

KEI went on to say, “The text reveals that the most anti-consumer and anti-freedom country in the negotiations is the United States, taking the most extreme and hard-line positions on most issues. But the text also reveals that several other countries in the negotiation are willing to compromise the public’s rights, in a quest for a new trade deal with the United States.” KEI also took a shot at the news media for what it called its “appalling acceptance of the secrecy.”

KEI offered a detailed analysis of the draft provisions on various types of IP rights, finding that in most areas the draft goes well beyond existing rules such as those in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This was particularly noted in the dispute settlement procedures, patents related to health, copyright exceptions, technical protection measures (even extending to the public domain), and damages (which it said are even “much worse” than those in ACTA).

Public Citizen (US)

Public Citizen issued a press release stating: “Secret documents published today by WikiLeaks and analyzed by Public Citizen reveal that the Obama administration is demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region and bind Americans to the same bad rules, belying the administration’s stated commitments to reduce health care costs and advance free expression online.”

English: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) with nimbu...

English: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) with nimbus, stencil in Leipzig Connewitz Deutsch: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) mit Heiligenschein, Stencil in Leipzig Connewitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The leak “shows the United States seeking to impose the most extreme demands of Big Pharma and Hollywood,” Public Citizen said, “despite the express and frequently universal opposition of U.S. trade partners.” It shows that “concerns raised by TPP negotiating partners and many civic groups worldwide regarding TPP undermining access to affordable medicines, the Internet and even textbooks have resulted in a deadlock over the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, leading to an impasse in the TPP talks, the US group said.

“The Obama administration’s proposals are the worst – the most damaging for health – we have seen in a U.S. trade agreement to date,” Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, said in the statement. “The Obama administration has backtracked from even the modest health considerations adopted under the Bush administration.”

“The Obama administration’s shameful bullying on behalf of the giant drug companies would lead to preventable suffering and death in Asia-Pacific countries,” he asserted. “And soon the administration is expected to propose additional TPP terms that would lock Americans into high prices for cancer drugs for years to come.”

Derechos Digitales (Chile)

The Chilean civil liberties group issued a press release (in Spanish) saying confirms rumours that the Chilean government is at risk of signing an agreement that would impact its development and have more costs than benefits, resulting in less access and higher prices. The agreement would weaken terms Chile negotiated in its bilateral trade agreement with the United States, it said.

MSF

“The leak of the secret text confirms that the U.S. government continues to steamroll its trading partners in the face of steadfast opposition over terms that will severely restrict access to affordable medicines for millions of people,” Judit Rius Sanjuan, US manager at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) Access Campaign, said in a statement. “The U.S. is refusing to back down from dangerous provisions that will impede timely access to affordable medicines.”

But, Sanjuan said, “It’s encouraging to see that some governments, including Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, are pushing back against some aspects of the U.S. position with their own proposal that better protects access to medicines; what is troubling is that the text also shows that some countries are willing to give in to the U.S. government’s damaging demands. We urge countries to stand strong to ensure that the harmful terms are removed before this deal is finalised.”

Michael Geist (Canada)

Canadian law professor Michael Geist gave his initial reaction, saying that Canada appears to be pushing back against US demands, but that “the U.S. – often joined by Australia – is demanding that Canada rollback its recent copyright reform legislation with a long list of draconian proposals.”

Australian Press

report in the Australian New Age newspaper said the draft text shows proposals that would affect Australia’s laws on patents and pharmaceuticals, encouraging evergreening of patents, and with no protections for the nation’s tobacco plain-packaging provisions aimed at reducing tobacco use. Those provisions are the subject of legal disputes at the WTO and elsewhere.

In the news report, IP attorney Matthew Rimmer said, “One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view. … Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

Published on 13 November 2013 @ 8:08 pm

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By , Intellectual Property Watch

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