News around Trade Policy, Newsletter 3, August 2015

International Days of Action against TTIP, TPP, TiSA and CETA: 10-17 October, 2015

On the International Days of Action movements want to send out a loud and clear signal against four trade and investment deals that threaten our democratic rights, food sovereignty, jobs and the environment. These agreements are TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, between the US and EU), TPP (Transpacific Partnership, between the US, Canada and various Asian countries), TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement, numerous parties) and CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, between the EU and Canada). To find out more:

https://www.trade4people.org/

UNCTAD World Investment Report 2015

This year’s World Investment Report that is published by UNCTAD, the 25th in the series, aims to inform global debates on the future of the international policy environment for cross-border investment. It shows that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows in 2014 declined 16 per cent to $1.2 trillion. However, recovery is in sight in 2015 and beyond. FDI flows today account for more than 40 per cent of external development finance to developing and transition economies.

At the international level, countries and regions continue their efforts to negotiate and conclude international investment agreements (IIAs). With the addition of 31 agreements, the regime has grown to 3271 agreements (2,926 bilateral investment treaties and 345 other IIAs) by the end of 2014. While the annual number of BITs continues to decline, more and more countries and economies are engaged in IIA negotiations at regional and subregional levels.

At the same time, countries and regions consider new approaches to investment policymaking. Reacting to the growing unease with the current functioning of the global IIA regime, together with today’s sustainable development imperative and the evolution of the investment landscape, at least 50 countries and regions have been engaged in reviewing and revising their IIA models and formulating new IIA strategies.

There were 42 new investor‐State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases in 2014, bringing the total number of known treaty‐based claims to 608. Developing countries continue to bear the brunt of these claims as defendants, but the share of developed countries is on the rise.

http://unctad.us6.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3592d5dcafd1b9278dd78095f&id=7a089d881c&e=8f4778fa90)

Infographics on TTIP on Corporate lobbying paradise

When preparing the mandate for the negotiations on TTIP, and in the first important months of the talks themselves (January 2012 to February 2014), the European Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) had 597 behind-closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss the negotiations, according to internal Commission files obtained via access to information requests. 528 of those meetings (88%) were with business lobbyists while only 53 (9%) were with public interest groups. There is evidence that DG Trade actively encouraged the involvement of corporate lobbyists, while keeping pesky trade unionists and other public interest groups at bay.

http://corporateeurope.org/international-trade/2015/07/ttip-corporate-lobbying-paradise (also in French and German)

New Wikileaks on TiSA: how the US is using a Secret Agreement on Services to wriggle out of its WTO obligations.

It is increasingly evident that the TiSA negotiations are an attempt to pressure developing countries to grant greater liberalisation in sectors of interest to the US and other industrialised countries, without the latter having to pay any price for it.

WikiLeaks has done us all a favour by leaking the draft negotiating texts of the ‘Trade in Services Agreement’ – or TiSA, to use the current official trade jargon. Read together with the secret chapters of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) it leaked earlier, we now have a clear textual picture of the attempts by the United States to drive a coach and four horses through the entire post-war multilateral trade, money and finance systems and establish in their place global corporatism and American hegemony over the world.

“Together, the three treaties (TPP, TTIP and TiSA) form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries,”  WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange aptly declared in a press statement.

It is increasingly evident that the TiSA negotiations are an attempt to pressure developing countries to grant greater liberalisation in sectors of interest to the US and other industrialised countries, without the latter having to pay any price for it. There is nothing in the draft framework agreement either to indicate any possibility of greater liberalisation under mode 4 – the movement of natural persons.

This are excerpts from a very detailed and interesting article written by Chakravarthi Raghavan

http://thewire.in/2015/07/17/how-the-us-is-using-a-secret-agreement-on-services-to-wriggle-out-of-its-wto-obligations-6459/

Analysis of European Parliament’s vote on TTIP

The European Parliament voted on 8 July on one of the most important dossiers it deals with in this term, the Trade Agreement with the US (TTIP). A comfortable majority of Members have endorsed the continuation of negotiations conducted by the EU Executive (the Commission) with its American counterpart.

The pro-TTIP camp was formed of the People’s Party (EPP), the majority of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), Conservatives & Reformists (ECR) and Liberal-democrats (ALDE), which gathered 436 votes (61%). The anti-TTIP camp was formed of the radical-left / communists, Greens/EFA, euro-sceptics (EFDD) and nationalists (EFN), which gathered 241 votes  (34%).

TTIP-9-July

http://www.votewatch.eu/blog/ttip-mandate-makes-it-through-ep-plenary-investors-protection-system-remains-in-limbo/

German Environment Agency report on TTIP

This report discusses regulatory differences between US and EU environmental regulations such as for pesticides, industrial chemicals, nano, heavy metals, fracking, etc. In concludes that the way the regulatory cooperation is designed in TTIP bring with it “potentially significant environmental risks”; the current proposal from the EU “suggests explicitly taking into account US trade and investment interests in the evaluation of EU laws in the context of impact assessments.”

https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/376/publikationen/
environmental_protection_under_ttip_0.pdf

Register to the WTO Public Forum, 30 September-2 October, Geneva, Switzerland

Online registration for the 2015 Public Forum, to be held at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva from 30 September to 2 October, is now open until 24 September. This year’s Forum, entitled “Trade Works”, will examine the contribution that 20 years of global trade cooperation in the WTO has made to the ’strength and stability’ of the world economy (according to the organizers). Over the years, more than 10,000 representatives from NGOs, civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter‑governmental organizations have attended the Public Forum.

All participants must complete an online application form: https://www.wto.org/english/forums_e/public_forum15_e/pf15_registration_e.htm

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