Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


The TPPA: Corporate Control on Steroids

The TPPA: Corporate Control on Steroids

by David Cooke
November 30, 2012

We should avoid the TPPA like the plague, for at least four main reasons. First, we should be instantly suspicious of any negotiations conducted in oppressive secrecy. The lead nation, America, has everything to gain and much to hide, so much so that Canada and Mexico were prevented from seeing the existing text in advance, when they moved to join up. Who does get access to the full text? Six hundred corporate reps acting as official US trade advisors.

And that’s the second reason. The TPPA is a mechanism for huge multinational corporations to gain massive control over nations’ decision-making. Under the Agreement, corporations will have procedures for over-riding the law-making of nation-states. A case in point is unelected three-person tribunals that can decide on international disputes. As Lori Wallach put it in a recent column in The Nation (July 16/23), “the TPPA is mainly about new corporate rights, not trade.” Therefore, safeguards for investors to move jobs off-shore, rights for corporations to sue governments, and removal of regulations in “financial services, land use, food safety, natural resources, energy, healthcare.” In the wake of Pike River, we have little cause for considering de-regulation.

Which points to the third main reason. The TPPA is profoundly and explicitly anti-democratic. The last thing these corporations want is democratic countries responding to the needs of their people. The corporations are serious: they plan to run things, just as the MAI wanted to a decade ago. In the late 1990s, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment proposed a sweeping set of pro-corporate measures, which are now re-surfacing in the TPPA. The problem for the MAI was that it became known and publicised world-wide. The internet enabled the rapid spread of information and international criticism, as well-organised groups around the globe fought back. As a result, a number of countries, such as France, pulled the plug on the impending deal. So the TPPA is deliberately highly secretive. Indeed, our own government is signing up to a deal which will remain secret until four years after it comes into force.

And that’s the fourth reason. Our own elected government is selling us out – very consciously, in the full knowledge that under the TPPA, successive NZ governments will be bound and undermined by the powers that Key and co are handing over to foreign corporations. According to the NZ Herald (27 Nov), Key claims that NZ will insist on protecting Pharmac and removing tariffs on dairy products. There’s little reason to believe him. After all, he gave $20m to Warner Brothers, of all people, and worse, to his lasting shame, changed labour laws overnight, to accommodate the movie moguls. But just as importantly, Key says nothing about the other exacting provisions of the TPPA.

There’s a watershed political choice here: either we try to run our own show, or we let the foreign corporations do it for us.


David Cooke is a senior scholar at York University, Toronto. He is a former staff member at Unitec.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: ‘Disruption’ Is For Losers

Disruption – anarchic, dynamic, table-tipping, mould-breaking, consensus-shattering disruption – has become part of every corporate bout of auto-hype to the faddish point where the term has lost any useful meaning it might once have had. More>>


Werewolf: Coney Island (And The Trumps), Baby

Like much of that part of the coast, and given the storm surges of Hurricane Sandy, Coney Island should be occupied only by clumps of grass and seabirds. Instead there are 60,000 people in multi-storey apartment buildings living among the faded remnants of a once-spectacular fantasyland.. More>>


Gordon Campbell:
On Corbyn, Trump And Outsider Politics

Jeremy Corbyn elevated to the leadership of Britain’s Labour Party! Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders on the rise in the US… On both sides of the Atlantic, these are dark days for the political Establishment. More>>


Operation Chrysalis: A New Beginning For Scoop

On December 19th 2014 the Scoop Team set out on a project called "Operation Chrysalis". We decided to turn Scoop's 16 year old online news publishing business into a new kind of news business, one connected directly to its readers, owned by a not-for-profit and based on a new business model. More>>


Keith Rankin: The Economy - What's It For?

I re-watched the Q+A 'immigration debate' screenedon 23 August. In light of recent events, the discussion already seems very dated. The underlying assumptions were that the economy is a system in which production growth is pretty much the sole objective, and that migration policy must serve this end of output maximisation... More>>

Until Dawn: Pick Your Own Horrible Adventure

Suppermassive Games’ Until Dawn sees a group of dumb sexy teenagers take a trip to a spooky mansion atop a mountain. It is, obviously, a horror game. However, the game is so ridiculous it turns out to be more of a comedy. Until Dawn begins with ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news