Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

NZ Joins Breakaway Push for WTO E-Commerce Rules

NZ Joins Breakaway Push for WTO E-Commerce Rules that Protect Google etc from Regulation

“New Zealand has joined a breakaway group of around 70 countries who affirmed their intention to launch plurilateral negotiations on electronic commerce at the World Trade Organization (WTO), despite the last WTO ministerial conference refusing to give them a mandate”, according to Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

The declaration was issued on the side-lines of the elite World Economic Forum meeting in Davos on Friday.

The new e-commerce template first appeared in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and remains unaltered in the revised CPTPP. It literally codifies a wish-list of rules written by the US Big Tech industry - the likes of Google, Amazon, facebook and Apple (GAFA) - to protect them from regulation. The EU’s proposal for the EU New Zealand free trade deal mirrors the TPPA, aside from more protection for privacy.

Professor Kelsey says that “documents I’ve obtained under the Official Information Act, although heavily redacted, show our government really has no idea of the implications.”

“Despite the label ‘electronic commerce’ or ‘digital trade’ these rules are not simply about trade. They restrict governments’ ability to regulate data, source codes and algorithms, digital networks and platforms, online marketplaces, payment systems, etc.”

The International Trade Union Congress, to which the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is an affiliate, points out this is as much about workers’ rights, as it is about trade:



Algorithmic bias, workplace surveillance, electronic union blacklisting are realities and workers need their governments to protect them. We must not allow for a future in which working people’s ability to hold the giants of the digital economy accountable is limited by trade agreements. Our governments must have full power to regulate.”

The move was also condemned by civil society groups internationally, who warn that “threats to economic sovereignty … will be greatly amplified if the rapidly evolving digital economic space is governed by rules that were developed by transnational corporations (TNCs) for their own profit-making around the world… .”
“Given the turbulence engulfing the digital domain, from tax evasion and abuse of monopolies to unfair labour practices and political interference in democratic elections, the last thing we need is a set of global rules that prevent governments from regulating Big Tech’s activities in New Zealand and globally,” Kelsey said.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Anti-Corbyn Split In British Labour

The resignation of seven UK Labour MPs in protest against the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is another example of the centre-left’s readiness to sabotage its own cause – such things are always allegedly done on principle – even if the outcome hands the country over to Conservative rule for five more years.

Certainly, a technician hot-miked at the splitters’ press conference was pretty sure this would now be the outcome, and he accidentally informed the nation to that effect. More>>

 
 

Auckland Action Against Poverty: Motels Profit From Housing Crisis

A single motel which charges up to $1,500 per week per room has received over $3 million worth of Government funds to provide emergency assistance, despite never having a Code Compliance Certificate – an offence under the Building Act – and receiving a series of longstanding complaints from occupants... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Alleged China Relations Crisis

If New Zealand’s relations with China are ‘deteriorating’ then you still need a microscope to detect the signs... More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Government To End Tenure Review

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage. More>>

ALSO:

Bell Tolls: Big Changes, Grand Mergers Planned For Vocational Training

“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke... More>>

ALSO:

Sallies' State Of The Nation: Progress Stalled In Reducing Inequality

The report shows a lack of tangible progress in key areas including record levels of household debt and a growing gap in educational achievement between poorer and more well off communities. More>>

ALSO:

Party Politics In Tax Morale Survey: SSC To Seek Answers From IRD

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins has today asked the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes to examine IRD’s reported inappropriate use of a public survey. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels