Saturday, November 11, 2017

On suspended animation

It would be nice to be able to share Michael Geist's view that the latest TPP by another name represents a substantial improvement over the original. But to my mind, the real story of the CPTPP is how little it changes.

In principle, I'd have hoped to see a group of parties which didn't include the U.S. (supposedly the driving force behind some of the most draconian provisions of the TPP) actually discuss and reach agreement on alternative language for issues which had been pushed solely by a party which has left the table. But instead, the result of the CPTPP is merely to adopt the same problematic language, while suspending its operation for the moment.

Needless to say, that moment is sure to end as soon as the U.S. decides it wants in again - which the same corporations who lobbied so hard to dictate the terms of the first TPP will surely push whenever the opportunity arises.

At that point, in the absence of some alternative structure which can be seen as having any multilateral agreement  - not to mention in light of the insistence of the parties to the CPTPP that the original was an acceptably "balanced outcome" - there figures to be little prospect that the original terms won't then snap into place at the U.S.' insistence.

As a result, the predictable outcome of the latest round of negotiations is to give the Libs a chance to claim they've meaningfully improved the existing TPP, while potentially locking us into a course which will see its worst terms come into effect. And so the public response to the CPTPP needs to take aim at not only what would immediately be imposed, but what would be far too likely to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Clearly, the Liberals have no appetite to challenge the very notion of investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. Indeed, they have never answered the question of why such provisions that castrate sovereignty are desirable.