Skip to main content

View Diary: Failing To Respect The Third Rail (290 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  too late (5+ / 0-)

    WTO ended national sovereignty decades ago.

    WTO has literal veto power over any law passed by any nation, by treaty.

    In the economic arena, nation-states simply don't exist any longer. The global corporations are bigger, richer, more powerful, and directly control more people's lives than any national government, including ours. And WTO is their mouthpiece.

    •  Sounds like you know a lot about the WTO... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, Jim P, elwior

      ...but, did you read the full article excerpted in this comment?

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:34:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's not really anything new here (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        goodpractice, NoMoreLies, FG

        Most of those provisions are already in the WTO rules. They're also included in most of the "side agreements" that the US has been making since the Dubya years (with Panama, Colombia, Korea and others). TPP is just a continuation of Dubya's policy of trying to replace the WTO with a series of individual bilateral trade agreements between the US and particular nations or regions---a policy which was itself brought about by the hostility of the neocons to anything "international" (such as WTO). It was hoped that if a series of bilateral trade agreements were to replace WTO, the US could once again act unilaterally with impunity. Me, I think the WTO isn't going away any time soon--mostly because all the global corporations want it, and they always get what they want.

        When it comes to international trade regs, there has been zero difference between Dems and Repugs. After all, it was Bill Clinton who helped establish WTO (and who signed NAFTA).  Dubya negotiated the trade agreements with Korea, Panama and Colombia--but it's Obama who has introduced them to the Senate for ratification. The whole international trade regime is bipartisan policy.

        •  You say, "Nothing new here..." (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NoMoreLies, copymark, Creosote, elwior

          ...so, you've read the latest cut of the TPP Agreement? I was under the impression that you had to be a registered trade agent just to get access to this info. And, somewhere around only 600 people in the U.S. are privy to that level of knowledge (i.e.: TPP Agreement updates, etc.), correct?

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:37:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I doubt the Japanese and Chinese would (0+ / 0-)

            agree to anything that everyone else hasn't already (nor will the WTO view anything favorably that bends its own rules too much, and it's the WTO that has the real power). So I see no reason why TPPA would have any different terms than CAFTA did, or FTAA, or all the bilateral one-on-one agreements. Certainly nothing in what you cited indicates anything different from all the others. It's the same ole anti-democratic thing as always--made in secret, enforced in secret, unappealable, veto power over any country's democratic laws, no elected representatives . . . . same ole same ole.  Even fast-tracked like most of them are. It may be new to YOU, but I don't see anything about it that isn't already in every other free trade agreement the US has signed. (shrug)

            PS-- I'm assuming you have no access either--which makes me wonder how, if there is anything different in it, you would know.

            •  I've read commentary by those that have had... (5+ / 0-)

              ...or, claimed they had, access to the latest drafts.

              That being said, it's my understanding that: a.) China's nowhere near signed-off on this, and they may never even be a party to it; and, b.) whether or not Japan was going to be a party to this agreement was actually one of the greatest (and one of the most controversial) issues of the recent Japanese national election.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:17:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  to be blunt, it doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

                Both China and Japan are already part of the WTO, so they already live under virtually all those rules anyway. TPPA might set different numbers for particular products or industries, but the rules of the game are the same as WTO, and they are already under those rules.

                TPPA is itself part of a mostly failed attempt by the neocons to replace the multinational WTO with bilateral agreements which the US can dominate. It's entirely possible that TPPA will fall flat on its face, like FTAA already has. But the WTO remains, and everyone already bows to it.

              •  there is a reason that (0+ / 0-)

                China and Japan would balk,  now they have rules that no foreign corporation can operate independently by just selling inside their countries at will.  The US gave that ball away years ago.   That big stink about Jeep creating factories in China, that is so they can sell in China, otherwise they are very limited on what they can import.   Clearly the US does not demand part ownership in local factories or even that their be local factories.   I doubt the Chinese want to be subject to the same kind of foreign product invasion the US has been subject to most of my life.

    •  Not exactly true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, radical simplicity

      The WTO and its predecessor, GATT, do not, technically, have the authority to undo national laws.  They can impose trade penalties if laws are deemed to unfairly tip the balance of trade, and the expressly allow nations to impose environmental and labor protections even if they impede the flow of trade as long as they are applied in a non-discriminatory way (i.e., a way that doesn't unfairly tip the balance of trade or impose one country's standards on another).

      The problem is that it does set up a "race to the bottom."  That is, the U.S. can't make a law that forces Chinese manufacturers to adhere to U.S. standards on the environment or labor.  We can set those standards for ourselves, but we can't punish China for having lower taxes by restricting the trade in goods manufactured there.

      It would be nice if the WTO set a floor on standards, i.e., you can't go any lower than xyz but you can go higher.  To my limited knowledge, it sets no such floors.

      So it's not perfect, but it is, at least, a start at international cooperation on issues of economics.  In that sense, it's a good thing.

      The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

      by CharlieHipHop on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:36:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  should have proofread... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies

        "... can't punish China for having lower taxes... "

        should be

        "... can't punish China for having lower standards ..."

        and that first paragraph is just a mess. Sorry.

        The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

        by CharlieHipHop on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:39:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  yes and no (5+ / 0-)

        They use economic sanctions to enforce their decisions.

        And every nation that has been hit in this way has surrendered.  Including the US. WTO has never NOT gotten what it wanted.

        Two of the WTO's very first cases resulted in repeal of parts of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act and the US Clean Air Act.

        •  I'm aware of that (0+ / 0-)

          The only point I'm trying to make is that it's at least a start on international cooperation on issues of economics.  

          The meek shall inherit the Earth that the stupid destroyed.

          by CharlieHipHop on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:35:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it was, and it came really without governments (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, joanneleon
            it's at least a start on international cooperation on issues of economics.  
            It was the corporados who pushed everyone to the table and built WTO. They had all seen what the death toll was in the international corporate wars of the 80's, and they didn't want to go through that again.  So they agreed to produce a set of rules that everyone everywhere had to live by.

            Sadly, it was not a DEMOCRATIC process---if it had been, it might have contained provisions in areas like minimum wage and labor standards, environmental protections, consumer protections, product safety standards, etc.

            But if WTO gains jurisdiction over international finance, as it is trying, it is a pretty good chance that it will do what governments will not----regulate the global financier gamblers. The corporados suffered for that too, and have no desire to suffer through it again. And WTO, unlike the US Government, is big and powerful enough to put Wall Street in its place. (Of course, it is a given that WTO will regulate them to protect global CORPORATE interests, not public interests. They don't give a damn about public interests.)

      •  for a long time, China got away with stuff because (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        it wasn't part of WTO.

        Now that it is, they have already become a target. And they will surrender just like the US and Europe do.

        WTO has also been trying for years now to expand its authority into the arena of international finance (an area where it currently has no jurisdiction).  That effort has been derailed because the G20+ bloc of small nations has choked WTO into inaction over unrelated agricultural subsidy rules.

      •  two things to note: (4+ / 0-)
        The problem is that it does set up a "race to the bottom."  That is, the U.S. can't make a law that forces Chinese manufacturers to adhere to U.S. standards on the environment or labor.  We can set those standards for ourselves, but we can't punish China for having lower taxes by restricting the trade in goods manufactured there.
        BUT what China CAN do is argue that higher US standards are an unfair interference with its trade, and have WTO declare them unfair. Other countries HAVE already done that to the US, on regulations as different as "banning dolphin-unsafe tuna" and "unfair air pollution standards".
        It would be nice if the WTO set a floor on standards, i.e., you can't go any lower than xyz but you can go higher.  To my limited knowledge, it sets no such floors.
        It doesn't, and never will.  The US and Europe made some noises a few years ago about adding "side agreements" to set minimum standards for wages, environmental protections, consumer safety, etc.  Surprise surprise--they never even got written.

        But that strategy is the one adopted by the "fair trade movement", which is an international alliance of progressive groups who argue that there will NEVER be any international standards unless people globally FORCE them into the existing GATT regulations, so every company everywhere has to follow them. Surprise surprise--they get virtually no support from any government.

    •  So the church wingnuts I met in the '90s were (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice, Timothy J

      paranoid, but they also happened to be right about WTO and the UN etc.? Yikes.

    •  AKA the CWO (0+ / 0-)

      The new "Corporate World Order".

      In a capitalist democracy - every dollar is a "vote" ... spend wisely ...

      by RUNDOWN on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:52:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site