Sunday, August 16, 2015

216.10 - The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not the only massive trade deal being negotiated in secret

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not the only massive trade deal being negotiated in secret

Here's another example of the failure of our news media, perhaps an almost ideal one because this does affect us directly and we still don't hear about it.

We start by referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, this huge trade deal being negotiated in secret among 12 Pacific-rim countries which has been described as the biggest such deal in history. I have talked about this before; in fact the first time was nearly three years ago and I brought it up several times during the Amazing Mr. O's ultimately-successful push for renewed fast-track authority. (For example, here and here.)

The news on this front is that the announcement of the deal has been put off because the partners wrapped up their most recent round of talks in Hawaii without reaching an agreement on key sticking points, with different nations demanding either greater access to other countries for its exports or limits on imports from other countries. (So much for the "free and open trade" we're being told is the goal.)

All 12 nations this weekend vowed to continue the talks, but didn't set a date for their next round of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Obama is starting to be under some time pressure. He wants the deal to go into effect before he leaves office in January 2017 but needs to allow for months of both congressional review and text scrubbing and language translations that are inevitable before a vote in Congress, a vote Congress might not be happy taking up if the issue drags into the 2016 campaign season.

But here's another thing, the thing I particularly wanted to bring up, one you probably are unaware of: The TPP is only one of three massive trade deals now being negotiated, all in secret.

The others are the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), largely between the US and the European Union,which would do for much of the Atlantic side of the world what the TPP seeks to do to the Pacific side, and the Trade in Services Agreement, or TiSA, which involves more than 50 countries and looks to establish the same sort of transnational corporation-dominated "free market" in services that the other agreements seek to establish for goods.

And about the only way we know what's going on with any of these negotiations is due to leaks and whistleblowers who provide materials to WikiLeaks, which then publishes them to the almost complete indifference of the US media. With the result that you very possibly have never heard of them.

I'll tell you more about what we know about the TTIP and the TiSA next week.

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