We simply do not understand why people are so dead set against the TTIP, TPP and in this latest example, CETA. Those jumbles of acronyms being the various free trade treaties that are under negotiation. The usual bands of hippies and Teenage Trots seem dead set against them. Greenpeace has been climbing towers and the Trots writing in The Guardian.
Sure, these deals are not very good: the only logical trade stance is unilateral free trade of course. But making trade a little bit easier in the absence of that sensible policy doesn't sound like a bad idea. So what is it with these people?
Like the US deal, Ceta contains a new legal system, open only to foreign corporations and investors. Should the British government make a decision, say, to outlaw dangerous chemicals, improve food safety or put cigarettes in plain packaging, a Canadian company can sue the British government for “unfairness”. And by unfairness this simply means they can’t make as much profit as they expected. The “trial” would be held as a special tribunal, overseen by corporate lawyers.
We're not really sure what to call this. A mistake? Oversight? Lie? For in the treaty itself:
1. For the purpose of this Chapter, the Parties reaffirm their right to regulate within their territories to achieve legitimate policy objectives, such as the protection of public health, safety, the environment or public morals, social or consumer protection or the promotion and protection of cultural diversity.
2. For greater certainty, the mere fact that a Party regulates, including through a modification to its laws, in a manner which negatively affects an investment or interferes with an investor’s expectations, including its expectations of profits, does not amount to a breach of an obligation under this Section.
There's a specific clause in the treaty itself that flat out states that the allegation is not true. so why are these people continually repeating something that just is not true?
What is it that some innocent trade treaty has done to them that it should be misrepresented so grievously?
Finally, through something called a “ratchet clause”, current levels of privatisation would be “locked in” on any services not specifically exempted. If Canadian or EU governments want to bring certain services back into public ownership, they could be breaking the terms of the agreement.
Not true in the slightest:
A Party shall not nationalise or expropriate a covered investment either directly, or indirectly through measures having an effect equivalent to nationalisation or expropriation (“expropriation”), except: (a) for a public purpose; (b) under due process of law; (c) in a non-discriminatory manner; and (d) on payment of prompt, adequate and effective compensation. For greater certainty, this paragraph shall be interpreted in accordance with Annex 8- A. 2. The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall amount to the fair market value of the investment at the time immediately before the expropriation or the impending expropriation became known, whichever is earlier. Valuation criteria shall include going concern value, asset value including the declared tax value of tangible property, and other criteria, as appropriate, to determine fair market value.
As today a government can nationalise anything it likes. It must simply pay for it, that's all. The government's allowed to force you to sell your house in order to drive a train line through. But they must pay for it.
And thus our confusion. We know that what is being said is not true. What we cannot work out is why people are propounding such untruths. Anyone got any ideas?