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: In A New York Groove

Right now, there’s a thing about downtown Manhattan in the 1970s and ‘80s, a lot of talk about an era that still resonates powerfully. Plenty of people in this city, still walking around and breathing in and out, were very involved in the world below 14th Street. More>>


Keith Ng On Public Address: Why The Police And The PM Are Wrong About Rawshark

On 2 October 2014, the Police raided Nicky Hager’s home... During the search, they found a piece of paper... “We considered [the document] was of interest to the investigation because of information we had already obtained”. That piece of paper was seized and designated NH025... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Being Accountable, And Holding The Powerful To Account

Don’t know how you feel about it, but the selective unavailability of Ministers and senior public servants to media scrutiny seems to be a growing concern... Yet often and tellingly, they’re not so beyond-radio-contact that they can’t find time to authorise and email a statement unilaterally stating their position. Which indicates that it is the questioning of the party line that they’re choosing to avoid. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Islam And The Paris Attacks

Presidential contender Ben Carson for instance, wants it to be made illegal for a Muslim to be elected as President of the USA. For the Republican Party at least, freedom of religion in America extends only to tolerating many ways of accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. In reality of course, treating Islamic State as the essence of Islam makes about as much sense as treating the Ku Klux Klan as the essence of Christianity... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news