“Thinly veiled threats” from corporations.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
Visibly shaken, as Reuters put it, Canadian trade minister Chrystia Freeland walked out of EU trade negotiations in Belgium on Friday evening, lamenting that the EU is “incapable of reaching an agreement – even with a country with European values such as Canada.”
A big trade deal that had taken years to negotiate, mostly in total secrecy, had just collapsed. So how in the world did such a mega screw-up happen?
In Europe, all that is needed for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada to come into effect, “provisionally” (in EU double-speak, more or less irrevocably), before being passed to national parliaments to vote on, is for the governments of the EU’s 28 Member States to sign along the dotted line.
This could usher in a new age of corporate domination, for CETA, just like its sister deals TTIP, TPP and TiSA, is not really a trade deal at all; it’s an investment rights deal that will effectively neuter the ability of national elected governments to regulate in the interests of their electorate.
Yet almost all of the EU’s national governments are firmly on board. Even the UK government has promised it will sign the deal, even as it prepares to negotiate a clean break from the EU. In Spain, there is no elected government, yet Rajoy’s caretaker administration has assured Brussels that it, too, will happily lend its signature to the agreement.
But the European Commission needs the signatures of all 28 nations. And to its mounting frustration, the Belgian region of Wallonia refuses to sign the agreement, citing a host of social, political and economic reasons, including the inclusion of an Investment State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause and the possibility of non-Canadian corporations using the deal to gain greater access to EU markets. As long as the region of 3.5 million refuses to sign along the dotted line, Belgium’s federal government’s hands are tied.
Wallonia’s resistance has already prevented EU trade ministers from gaining unanimous support for the deal at a meeting in Luxembourg on October 18, as was originally planned. Senior Eurocrats and members of the Canadian government are understandably furious. So, too, are the hundreds of business lobby groups that kindly helped draft the trade agreement.
“Nobody would understand if it were not possible now, after so many efforts,” said an exasperated Martin Schulz, the EU Parliament chief.
“The problems go beyond CETA,” warned the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk. “If we are not able to convince people that trade agreements are in their interest (Ha!), that our representatives negotiate the FTAs to protect people’s interests (Ha Ha!), we will have no chance to build public support for free trade, and I’m afraid that it means that CETA could be our last free trade agreement.”
Predictably, Walloon President Paul Magnette has come under intense pressure to change his mind on CETA, after Wallonia’s regional legislature rejected the deal on Oct. 14. The Canada European Roundtable for Business promptly sent Magnette a “bluntly worded letter,” while Canada’s Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland dispatched Pierre Pettigre, a former trade minister (and current director of several Canadian mining interests) to meet with Magnette.
After the meeting with Pettigrew, Magnette told reporters that “the pressures are very strong.” He also complained that his region had faced “thinly veiled threats” from corporations before the Oct. 18 trade ministers meeting in Luxembourg. None of which should come as a surprise given the stakes involved. As Tusk said, “to have the deal between over 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians fall apart over the objections of a region of 3.5 million after seven years of talks would undermine the credibility of the EU as a whole.”
It would also deliver yet another heavy blow to the designs and aspirations of the global corporatocracy, which has already had to suffer the ignominy of failing to get the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) passed into law before the end of President Obama’s second term, due to the sheer scale and intensity of public opposition to the deal in Europe. Even the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has already been signed but not ratified, is beginning to face mounting opposition in countries like Japan, Vietnam, and the US.
The biggest concern in Europe is over the much greater role that private arbitration will play in a post-CETA world. It would effectively grant corporations full sovereignty rights – including the right to sue any government that threatens their ability to earn profits at just about any social, human, or environmental cost. The difference between CETA and its sister agreements TPP and TTIP is that instead of investor-state dispute cases being heard in private arbitral tribunals, they would be heard in a permanent international Investment Court System – ICS – with real judges and slightly more transparency.
But the end result would be more or less the same: punitive legal fees for national governments and billions of euros in damages drained from public coffers. That’s not to mention the inevitable rise in regulatory chill, as governments refrain from passing regulatory measures in the public interest due to the threat of being sued by private foreign investors. Once such a system is in place, each and every investment that foreign corporations make in a member country will effectively be backstopped by that government (and by extension, its citizens and taxpayers); it will be too-big-to-fail writ on an unimaginable scale.
And yet, in the most perverse of ironies, it is a system that appears to be almost universally endorsed by our political leaders, who are effectively voting themselves out of a job. It is an irony that was not lost on the Spanish arbitrator Juan Fernandez-Armesto, who had the following to say:
When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all […]. Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.
If CETA is signed, it won’t be just Canadian investors and companies who will be able to sue EU governments. As the second edition of the report Making Sense of CETA argues, 81% of US enterprises active in the EU (about 42,000 firms) would conceivably fit the definition of a Canadian “investor” with recourse to ISDS under the EU-Canada agreement:
US companies are already known for this kind of aggressive exploitation of the ISDS system. Should the provisions on investment protection in CETA survive, if or when the agreement is ratified, there would be virtually no need to incorporate them in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
In other words, it would be game, set and match for the global corporatocracy. The only thing stopping that from transpiring is the government of the tiny region of Wallonia in the small country of Belgium. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.
The Alliance is in place. Read… Who’s Powering the War on Cash?
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I see a heart attack in someone’s future…
TTIP under Hillary will be enforced with serial barbell choking incidents….
“When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all…”
I believe a careful forensic investigation would reveal that it is not “sovereign states” at all that have agreed to these things. Rather, it would be found to be a surprisingly small handful of individuals, who have been prevailed upon by some means to act directly contrary to the interests of their nations and their citizens.
Not very long ago, such behaviour was considered “high treason” and was punishable by death – often in very disagreeable forms.
Ultimately there’s no such thing as a government, it’s really just a collection of individuals each with differing amounts of power (for sale to the highest bidder–which is never the public).
The primary reason people want to be come politicians is so they they can make money selling influence to corporations. It’s called bribery (AKA campaign contributions) so it’s easy to see how these people so readily willing to sell their soul for cash are equally willing to sell out their country as well.
I am shocked by the blind ignorance of people in this and other comment sections about the ISDS chapters of trade agreements that have been around for decades. I repeat, this idea of investors suing a government over breaches of trade laws is not at all new. It is part of some 3000 trade deals worldwide. Why can no one write a good article about this? I think the media like to pedal misinformation as it is more dramatic and sells more papers. Plus there is no shortage of pseudointellectuals who think they are experts in a field because they read an article on the internet about something and take to the comment section with an air of superiority.
Taken from the Guardian’s comments by a ‘Fuzzy Munky’
And I will add- the idea of a trade deal without an extra-national dispute
mechanism that can either override local law or receive compensation is a contradiction in terms. It’s like are asking for a unicorn without a horn.
Isn”t it quite unusual having historic global trade agreements negotiated in secret? TISA (at least in the draft) will remain secret for 5 years afternit takes affect!
The Federal Reserve Corporation was negotiated in Secrecy, and to this day, 100 years latter, you are NOT allowed to know who the Stock Holders are, examine their books, or attend their meetings. No government official can do so either.
It is a private corporation, nothing Federal about it, owned by private individuals, families and the banks they own. That is known.
On the bright side, they do let you use their currency. Just don’t get the idea that your money actually belongs to you, and not them. It has their name on it, after all: “Federal Reserve Note”.
And you have to pay rent on it (known as the ‘interest rate’, which is cool because you have to borrow the money for the rental from them too…
No it isn’t. It’s the opposite. All high level treaty negotiations between nations are always held behind closed doors. And of course trade negotiations, although important, are not actually the most important
things nations discuss. One example- the frantic back door negotiations at the days at the start of WWII.
A private citizen, the Swedish business man Dahlerus, suddenly became a back channel between Britain and Germany, after the declaration I think, so officially they weren’t speaking. Both sides wanted to negotiate but neither wanted to admit that. To ask to negotiate, ‘to seek terms’ is how you surrender in diplomatic language.
His stout if amateurish efforts failed but he did generate a wan smile from Chamberlain who asked what Dahlerus thought of the German leader: “I wouldn’t want him as a business partner”
If you look you can easily see a parallel in most countries- arbitration between unions and corporate or government employers.
Especially when these get down to the crunch- the arbitrator and the parties almost always agree to a news blackout.
You can call that secret- I guess.
The word ‘secret’ crops up a lot in all these criticisms of current trade deals, as though they are suddenly being negotiated without the media present, when in fact they always have been.
Come to think of it I shouldn’t have dragged the ultra – secret Dahlerus talks into this, because it was a highly unusual situation.
However it is highly usual for state- to- state talks to be private.
“All high level treaty negotiations between nations are always held behind closed doors.”
For reasons which should be obvious:
Robbery and subjugation are lots easier if your victims never see it coming. You don’t want to tip off your targets. Hence the secrecy.
“All high level treaty negotiations between nations are always held behind closed doors. ”
“The word ‘secret’ crops up a lot in all these criticisms of current trade deals, as though they are suddenly being negotiated without the media present, when in fact they always have been.”
Here’s where I’m confused: Held behind closed doors, secret, media present.
If you guys like what you’ve seen for the past, oh, few decades let’s say, then vote your conscience. Unfortunately, IMO, we aren’t allowed to vote in too many instances we aren’t consulted or asked for our opinions yet mega corporations are right there 24X7 pushing their agenda in real time, politicians are wined and dined, selling us out it appears for the price of a steak dinner in some cases, it’s amazing.
Look- I understand that intelligent people can disagree over trade deals.
But this thing about the negotiators talking among themselves goes back thousands of years.
Let’s say two tribes have been fighting and now an even bigger threat makes them think about an alliance (see ancient Greek city states calling a truce to defend against the first super- power, Persia)
So a parley is required. But in most cases the envoys negotiate privately. Both sides will have to give up something- even the truce won’t be popular. So the negotiators could never get the job done if thousands of citizens were hooting and hollering.
Again- check the procedure during union arbitration. Do you think all these respected arbitrators, who have been accepted by both sides, are all part of some nefarious plot when they call for a news blackout?
It appears to me elites negotiated globalism flawlessly. I distinctly recall the US public was clearly told export of his job would be subsidized. I became quite anxious that day as it seemed nobody batted an eye.
Governments, including Canada, always ready to dance to the tune of big, dirty money- citizens be damned.
From what I’ve heard (and given the secrecy surrounding CETA, TTIP, TPP etc rumors are all we have) big European corporations such as Saint-Gobain, Bosch and Repsol aren’t satisfied at all with the drafts they have seen as they are too favorable to their American competitors. That is what has stalled the whole process so far, not widespread popular opposition to these shady “treaties”.
What has happened is one of those things that make me dizzy, so I’ll do my best to explain.
While European governments ostensibly favor and protect local power groups, their first and foremost alliance is to the US Government.
Exhibit A: the Snowden Revelations have been a political hot potato since the former NSA contractor handed his immense archives over to Glen Greenwald and his colleagues. In countries such as Germany they caused a storm as European governments were seen as mere water carriers for the US Government, which isn’t exactly beloved in these parts.
Instead of doing what politicians know how to do best, meaning giving speeches promising action, doing some window dressing and playing damage control, absolutely nothing was done. In fact a member of the Merkel Cabinet effectively told Germany’s exporters (and by extension the whole country) “The government won’t do anything to protect your data. You are on your own”.
Exhibit B: regardless of what you think of Russia, it would be in Europe’s best interest to see the ridiculous situation in the East defused. Bismarck himself, no peacenik by any stretch of imagination, recommended peaceful coexistence with Russia.
Instead the cold war relic called NATO has not merely being given a spiffy new paintjob, but has been dragged right inside Russia’s “Near Abroad”, bolstering military non-entities such as Lithuania into taking an aggressive posture toward their giant nuclear-armed neighbor.
European governments, from Madrid to Berlin, have obediently catered to every whim of the Beltway on this issue, even if it went against their interests.
So, these European governments are in a very tight spot: on one side they have local power groups having no love for CETA, TPP etc in their present form. On the other trained animals fear their master’s whip.
That’s why the stalling for time using the Walloon government as a convenient excuse.
My take is the European governments would have signed these “treaties” without even bothering reading them had local corporations not made threatening noises, which given the times we live in probably mean throwing their weight behind the so-called Euroskeptics, from Austria’s FPOE to France’s FN, which are already barely contained using stifling doses of propaganda (see the treatment of Italy’s M5S and Spain’s Podemos at the hands of local media) or downright fraud (see the Austrian presidential elections).
And all those people manifesting their disapproval for CETA, TTIP, TPP etc in the streets? They just don’t matter, at least until their women march on Versailles.
I sense an impressive entrepreneurial opportunity to run guns and ammunition to European nationalists disgusted by their spineless politicians refusal to stand up for their own people. But, payment via gold and silver only. No Euros.
CB Excellent comment by MC. A small point: I would suggest ‘Wolf’ use the term “corpocracy”, which have used for several years. “Corporatocracy” is a clumsier synonym. Permit me to suggest another topic for ‘wolfstreet’; the looming battles over both Russia’s ‘North-East Passage’ and Canada’s ‘North-West Passage’. The receding Arctic Ocean ice will save billions in shipping costs, replacing some major routes for at least four months of the year, not to mention the access to undersea resources. Russia currently has 40 icebreakers (6 are nukes) and are building several new ones. Canada has six old ones, the US two.
Russia will likely charge steep shipping tolls for their escort ice-breakers since the NE Passage is often blocked within their 12 mile limit. As for Canada, the US doesn’t recognize our sovereignty over Canadian Arctic Islands, considering the North-West Passage an international water-way. Its a multi-billion dollar question Ottawa has so far been afraid to mention, while Washington remains mum on the subject. The US stance gives them access to a far larger part of the resources under the Arctic Ocean than their relatively small Alaskan coast line allows.
As the American’s largest trading partner, Canada obviously doesn’t want to raise the question, for fear it would damage our huge exports to the US. But someone in the media should cover this very important story.
Re: the status of the North-West passage- The US has offered to go to the World Court to rule on the matter.
Canada has refused.
The newly formed NATO Rapid Reaction Force has about 4000 combat effectives, not quite enough to invade Russia. It’s purpose is to serve as trip wire, to prevent Putin from thinking he can come to the rescue of other Russians scattered about the former USSR.
The question to ask about expanded NATO membership is why all Russia’s neighbors fear Russia.
Ask a Pole.
“It’s purpose is to serve as trip wire, to prevent Putin from thinking he can come to the rescue of other Russians scattered about the former USSR.”
It’s a US show of power and a reminder of the countries it occupies who is in charge. Only neo-cons and their terrorists are afraid of Russia.
BTW Poles have always hated the Russians.
But they hated them more after they joined Germany in the invasion of 1939.
And just as the Jews rose up and fought the SS in the Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Soviet advance to a few miles from the city came to a sudden halt. British requests to fly in weapons were refused landing rights.
Then there was the massacre of about 20, 000 unarmed Polish officers in the Katyn Forest- tried to blame it on the Germans, but it was Soviets.
BTW; the Soviet Union was simply another name for the Russian Empire- all major decisions came from Moscow.
The Warsaw Pact was kind of comical- the members often invading each other on orders from Moscow.
Russia itself is made up of many conquered peoples. E.g, the Chechens.
It was the Putin orchestrated blowing- up of Moscow apartments that allowed him to seize control in Russia by blaming Chechens and flattening their capital- Grozny.
If you think about the 80’s, you may remember a whole US Army Corps was tasked with guarding the Fulda Gap alone. This Army Corps had a rather large complement of heavy armor and artillery, extra aviation regiments and was backed by formidable air power.
4000 men with light equipment are at best symbolic and at worst a military accident waiting to happen. Russia won’t always be ruled by cool heads like she is now.
I’ll end by quoting Zia al-Uq, the Pakistani strongman killed at the end of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, probably because his services were not needed anymore.
Zia, a well read and highly intelligent military officer, never tired of telling Western journalists (at the time Pakistani military men were “our precious allies” like the mujaheedin they supplied and trained for us) Russia’s foreign policy never changes regardless of who’s in charge. He also warned Russian leaders always plan well into the future while “our friends in Washington barely see any further than the next election cycle”.
Zia also predicted, correctly, Communism would fall in a few years and that a period of confusion would follow “but” he added “history tells us these things happen often in Russia. She will recover her strength and get back at her goals, even if this takes a century”.
“If you think about the 80’s, you may remember a whole US Army Corps was tasked with guarding the Fulda Gap alone. ”
One of the junior officers in that corps asked his inspecting commander one day.
“Sir if the Russian who have many more tank’s than us actually come what do We do” (ratio at the time was around 5 to 1 in Russia favour).
“Bend down and kiss it goodbye, very quickly”
Cool heads? They are violating airspace weekly. Did you not hear the conclusion of the Dutch- headed commission on the downing of the airliner over Ukraine.
What cool head provides AA missiles that can reach 30K feet to a bunch of hot- headed locals; the airspace was a known international route.
Re: Russia planning for the future- when does this start?
Since the Putin era began the state share of the economy has doubled from 35% to 70.
The economy was going backwards before oil crashed.
Note: incredibly, Russia never became self-sufficient in its own key industry. Key oil and gas field equipment was imported
from the West- now unobtainable.
Putin has said that sanctions are an opportunity to become self-sufficient- shouldn’t he have been doing that in the last 15 years?
Surprisingly- very senior Russians have warned about the situation.
Former Minister of Finance Alexei Kudrin was fired for telling Putin that Russia couldn’t afford $ 500 billion for an arms
buildup. That was before the 2014 ruble crash. He has since had a type of rehabilitation- named to an advisory panel.
Like South Africa, Putin is starting to realize he can’t fire too many more senior folks and preserve confidence.
Even more outspoken is the lady who heads the Russian central bank: ‘there is no alternative to painful fundamental reforms”
Since this means the opposite of Putinism- she would not normally keep her job.
But these are not normal times in Russia- it may run out of money by mid -2017.
Putin’s cronies have no knowledge of economics- he has no choice but to employ technocrats even though they fundamentally disagree with him.
All the cockroaches love to operate in the dark. With the American branch plant country of Canada, the Europeans would be dead stupid to conclude a deal- effectively giving the USA access.
The Walloon govt refusal to go along with 27 governments including Belgium’s was all planned? The shock and dismay of the EU leadership is play acting?
I’ve never heard so many conspiracy theories.
One bit of advice from Hippocrates about diagnosing illness and useful when probing anything: ‘When you hear the sound of hooves, do not think of zebras’
If I told you what I’ve seen during my brief dabbling in politics, this would seem perfectly rational.
And I’ve never seen what goes on above town council level.
The good news [so to speak] about all these trade deals, aka corporate takeovers is that even if they win, they lose. The whole raison d’etre of corporations is profit. So they depend on growth to achieve a profit. But we cannot have growth in our little blue marble forever. It’s finite.
This crunch time is already happening. One only has to look at the stream of woeful news on this site to see our economies are in trouble. It’s never going away now. So by the time the corporations achieve their goal, it will all be for nothing.
Economies of scale, always run into Diminishing returns.
The game is solely Market Dominance. Look at Warren Buffet- he doesn’t believe in free markets- he buys control of corporations that dominate their market. Just like all these so-called “free-trade” deals- made to benefit political whores’ benefactors.
“But we cannot have growth in our little blue marble forever. It’s finite.”
Hence the growing need to plunder the general population. But TPTB are aware of the problem and naturally have plan:
Most people don’t make TPTB any money and are expendable. Once the masters of mankind have subjugated the world they can get on with the task of reducing the herds and conserving planetary resources. They can always hire half the population to exterminate the other half, rinse and repeat.
What should be done with Politicians that sign away your countries rights and freedoms and our childrens future? Soldiers fight and die for the country but what do politicians do?
What should be done with them? It would be great to get some sensible responses. These deals that are be signed sound terrible.
Political parasites sell out their peoples birthright for 30 pieces of silver.
Over and over lately, I am reminded of George Orwell’s concept of “newspeak”.
Here we see the word “free” (as in “unfettered”) applied to a secret agreement to strengthen the corporatocracy’s centralization of authority over trade, worldwide.
Corporations have become the enemy of every countries workers and peoples including their own workers. The corporations are inciting a war that they can never win. Not that that will stop their megalomaniacal pursuit of total power. They are rapidly becoming the most hated people on the planet. Corporate leaders better hope that they have very secure bunkers for themselves and their families both at home, at work and in between.
Who built the computer and software you are using to comment?
A computer that would have cost a million dollars 30 years ago- but thanks to the efforts of the companies of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc. etc. is now available to you.
Which hardly excuses their rapacity.
the age old question for some people who don’t know better: how much is enough?
corporations are people too, so to speak.
“corporations are people too, so to speak.”
Corporations are the mechanisms by which the ambitious acquire wealth, power, and dominion, not only over people and markets but over governments and laws. As we have seen. Some admit no limit. None at all.
A few million people in Brussells will slow them down slightly, just enough to make it look good.
I remember 17 years ago when this took place. I still bring it up when talk turns to free trade.
“Canadian Firm Sues California Over MTBE / $970 million suit seeks to end gas-additive ban”
These trade deals are frightening.
Wow – inept Gray Davis and MTBE, talk about toxic combo. All thes trade deals probably just enrich the lawyers for years to come…
EPA … ” water would taste and/or smell like turpentine if MTBE is present at levels around or above 20-40 ppb”
I hope you aren’t saying because it was a governor you don’t like it shouldn’t have been banned.
As long as people put money ahead of protecting the life sustaining ability of the earth there is never a good time to propose these actions, no right governor, no better political party, no state of the economy ….this is work that just needs to be done.
This was ruled against Methanex in 2005 I believe, the NAFTA treaty failed to support this persistent enviro hazard.additive use.
So I guess I don’t get your point. The other poster must think Davis wanted to or did support the use? I don’t get his point either.
TPTB have been at this since the 19th century. They can elect, coerce, and blackmail any person they may require to succeed:
Present course, it is only a matter of time. And that, as they say, will be that.
Free trade is neither.
I don’t know quite what to make of half these comments that sound like a reunion of old Bolsheviks.
Look- killing all the bankers, businessmen, landlords, rich people etc. etc. and forming a People’s Republic has been tried at least 30 times and has always lead to disaster.
Within a few years of being ‘liberated’, the Russian kulaks, the peasants, began to find out what exploitation REALLY meant.
Only Lenin could bring about Russia’s first true Asiatic- type famine while exporting grain.
So for God’s sake sing another tune -that one is old.
Your comments iare not close to sensible. No one in here is saying or even implying kill the bankers, rich, businessmen/women nor landlords. I think generally people are fed up of bad backroom sneaky corrupt deals that harm the general good of the people while selling it as something good. I guess some people don’t know how to make money hoestly so they have resort to fraud, deception and theft to do it.
No one in here is avocating being a communist either. There is so much room for improvement that a handful of good women and men in leadership could help to bring about. People that are comfortable, complacent and lack compassion can’t see the challenges until they are directly affected by it!
October 22, 2016 at 9:34 am
‘Corporations have become the enemy of every countries workers and peoples including their own workers. The corporations are inciting a war that they can never win. Not that that will stop their megalomaniacal pursuit of total power. They are rapidly becoming the most hated people on the planet. Corporate leaders better hope that they have very secure bunkers for themselves and their families both at home, at work and in between.’
Note last sentence
“Only Lenin could bring about Russia’s first true Asiatic- type famine while exporting grain.”
Only Lehman could go bankrupt and start a permanent global economic catastrophe within weeks of reporting record profits.
The catastrophe had begun much earlier, called elitist globalism. You can only fake it till you can’t, NINJA home loans was their last hurrah of the inning and major bluff.
I would venture to guess things aren’t now, quite what they were then?
Right cause, wrong hero in this case. The Parti Socialiste in Wallonia is one of the most corrupt political parties in Belgium (and that’s saying something unfortunately). Its leaders are plainly power hungry and their resistance against CETA is mainly driven by bad election polls, showing that PTB-Go (a left political party in southern Belgium with an outspoken marxist approach of economics) is rapidly stealing a growing number of their traditional voters.
It bugs me no end that this party now gets to shine over CETA, because it has proven very succesful in running the Walloon economy into the ground for almost 50 years now: it was always too busy to defend its own interests firt and the interests ot Walloon workers in dying old industries second to think about economic conversion and attracting new investments. The result? A dead broke region with a dramatic percentage of people on the dole. Consequently, Wallonia has become heavily dependent on the more entrepreneurial Flanders in northern Belgium.
Just when I had given up!
I thank both HD and Wolf Street for this quick and responsible send of valuable info. But the fact remains that inclusion in CETA, TPP, and TTIP agreements of any corporations right to sue any national signatory government over any regulations that reduce their profit, is another step away from ‘democracy’.
As if that wasn’t enough, any suit by non-elected corporations against any democratic government would be heard in a private closed court. Reluctantly, I side with a corrupt socialist Belgian regional government because of the inclusion of corporations right to sue over any regulations they dislike in what amounts to a ‘Kangaroo Court’, away from public view.
The only way that huge pending Atlantic and Pacific agreements can avoid collapse, is to remove that corporate right from agreements. Today’s NYTimes has an excellent article on this issue, warning that the model for global trade since WWII is now dead.
“The Parti Socialiste in Wallonia is one of the most corrupt political parties in Belgium (and that’s saying something unfortunately).”
Yeah, the corporatist parties are even worse, and have proven themselves to be a bad influence on the socialists besides.
Once you’ve achieved corporate totalitarianism and have blown up the economy again, who’s going to bail you out after you’ve exterminated the socialists? The economy never recovered, you know, after the last time you pillaged it to save yourselves.
Socialism has proved essential to the survival of rabid corporatism. Maybe you just need to think this through.
As for the economy of Wallonia, Socialism has had a great deal of difficulty restoring it after decades of plunder by industrialists. Blaming the victim is more than a bit disingenuous.
It’s probably just a shakedown for their vote.
This confirms my suspicions about the Socialists merely playing a part.
So Wallonia finally awoke to smell the coffee or got it right for once, this doesn’t absolve CETA though, no?
Another Canadian perspective:
“much like the potential death knell for CETA — isn’t about Europe’s ability to conclude deals or how nice Canada is. It is about the expansive approach to traditional trade agreements that it is increasingly out-of-step with local regulation, the balance between government and corporate rights and public opinion. [Tyee] ”
Thank you Wallonia!!!!
Why does everyone assume that Wallonia is right and the other 27 governments, including Belgium’s national government and its two other regional governments are wrong?
Extend this principle to the rest of the world and no agreement on anything is possible.
The US for certain could never enter a treaty about anything- it not only has a divided system of government, it has 50 state governments.
I might buy your point IF these euro regulators had been elected. How can it be acceptable for self-appointed officials negotiate on behalf of citizens?
Have you read “The Rotten Heart Of Europe”?
Another leading economist condemnation of the TTIP, TTP, CETA Jeffrey D Sachs
All the same old baseles canards. TTIP will take American jobs BS BS BS TTiIP will make corporation to strong, more BS BS BS.
We have got from the TTIP negotiations what we wanted.
Japan to agree to further open its agriculture markets, to us.
FYI America bullied its way into TTIP. Then changed a lot of it, to suit and advantage America. As usual.
So from the rest of the TTIP nations to America.
Sign it, and ratify it. Or shut up and go away, And STAY AWAY. As we really dont want or need you.
We dont want or need china in TTIP either, but they are panting to get in. if the US dosent sign. We probably wont let them in.
The unfair free trade deal with china, is what started the development of the agreement that became TTIP. There was no point in crying to china about the unfair way the deal with them was working. No point in crying that they wernt upholding their end of the bargain, they are the bigger partner, like all bullies, when you question them, the first reply is generally, so what. So we simply went out and did something about it.
The US has a problem. It is not a case of do we sign it, or tell them to change many thing to what congress says, before we sign it.
It is a case of how much will the USA loose out on, for ever. if we dont sign it, and ratify it, as it stand’s.
Mexico, Japan, are already in. all the way.
The US sign’s as is, or the US looses, a lot. The US shoulld not expect a second chance if it turns this one down.
Our region has unfairly been locked out of and discriminated against by US and European markets for so long, that guess what, we have learnt to live without them.
Ford and GM are no longer making cars in Australia, if the US dosent sign TTIP one of the next things to happen, is that ford and GM product will be tarriffed off the market in both ANZAC states, as Japan has already signed. The Japanese now that ford and GM are gone may even start building cars in Au again, if the tariff structure against ford an GM is strong enough.
That is just the beginning of what America will loose, if it dosent sign TTIP as is, very soon..
I think you mean TPP. The TTIP is across the Atlantic. The TPP is across the Pacific.
Beat me by second’s
you are correct also.
Ther is an error in the other post TTIP should read TTP
“As Tusk said, “to have the deal between over 500 million EU citizens and 35 million Canadians fall apart over the objections of a region of 3.5 million”
Tusk is being disingenuous by re-framing the argument, in fact 0 EU citizens want or have voted for CETA, which puts the 3.5m objectors into sharp relief as the majority group.
We’d have thought that Belgium would rescue the EU and the european way of life from the greed and avarice of the global corporations ?!!?
Did the 3.5 million in Wallonia vote on this or did their democratically elected leaders.
I just checked- why didn’t you?
Zero citizens of Wallonia voted against the deal.
It was rejected by their democratically leaders- who by the way are never on good terms with the national government.
So the question is: why is the opinion of 42 people right and the thousand or so other democratically members wrong?
Forget the anti-trade hobby horse for a minute and stick with the point you brought up- they aren’t the majority group.
Wake up its another Eu game of. GIVE ME, LOTS AND LOTS, MORE.
15 days and this election madness will be over. The anti-globalist isolationists must be defeated. Canada with Trudeau, America with Clinton; the next few years will see pivotal change.
Like, all the Capitols will be moved to Astana?
Pivotal? Why do I get the feeling it won’t be to the upside.
If “more of the same” is change, I agree.
As long as we remain democracies. Canada and mostly Europe still are democracies; the US is not. The respective governments can unilaterally withdraw from trade agreements like CETA. Just like the Brits divorced themselves from Europe. Once these trade agreements are relegated to the dustbin, I would like to set our sights on doing the same thing to NAFTA.
HRC will be elected and NAFTA will expand south; just give it a few years.
More of the same hasn’t worked, hopefully the majority can see that..
Carry on like this and we are all going to need another Magna Carta moment to regain control of our own lives.
What was really in the 911 victims act that congress over road the veto?
It must have been a bigger game changer for more countries than Saudi Arabia?
I remember the day after outcry about congress not knowing what was in it and than static!
Something about a sitting president can supersede negotiations when progress is being made and keep lawsuits out of the courts? Doge type control over trade deals is how it sounded.
It still hasn’t passed into law last I checked, don’t get your hopes up.
Ah. Good old Pierre Pettigrew. Minister of F**king Shit Up. Guy was an absolute disaster in every portfolio he ever had. Not sure why, but always bailed out so that the next person gets the rap for sh*t he did.
Couple comments to writer “nick kelly”
I’m middle-aged Finnish male, born and bred, and since i have had my take of around 30 adult years on our dear eastern neighbor i can tell You sir that there’s nothing unusual going on there, just another normal day at the office as the saying goes, normal noise from neighbor.
I was doing my “military service” back in early 90’s when there truly was something going on behind our border and we got two cases when we were told to have our full equipment ready to go 24/7 in 15 minutes warning. Took some days and things cooled down. Just normal noise…
And much of what you said rings other bells too.
“Russia itself is made up of many conquered peoples.”
True with almost every contemporary sovereign, even USA. Even Finnish people have migrated and conquered this little lot of god forsaken forest. Should we just disband and move back to Sweden, Baltics and Russia, leave the land for Sami people? So how to determine who we’ll let have their sovereign mandate?
“It was the Putin orchestrated blowing- up of Moscow apartment…”
Maybe it was, maybe not, likely it had lots to do with Putin. But this has been going on with all major global powers for hundreds of years now and counting. What makes Russia different?
“Cool heads? They are violating airspace weekly.”
Yes they are and as far i have got information the airspace is just one of the violated spaces. And that’s just the way it has been a long time. But cool they are, the way they are acting is exceptional and one might say even elegant compared to their old ways of pushing the agendas.
Figuratively, they’re cool heads when the leader of state says jump and everybody jumps immediately. The day when not everybody jumps is the day to get concerned. We’re not there just yet, but i remember that kind of a times too.
“But these are not normal times in Russia- it may run out of money by mid -2017.”
Bankruptcy coming, major “elections” around corner, NATO knocking on backdoor, China demanding humiliating oil deals. Perfectly normal times in Russia, that’s exactly the way it has been since WW2 and that’s just the normal russian way. The Russian economy seems to be crashing soon, maybe next year, but to this day it has mainly marked start of new era, usually with new leaders.
Putin’s been playing his cards as one would expect as internal problems have always made global majors to point out foreign problems they absolutely have to go and solve immediately, were the help even needed or wanted. And maybe that is the reasoning behind late Russian acts, Putin knows his time is nearing its inevitable end. Sooner, not later.
Thanks for reply. I am a great admirer of Russian grit in WWII, and an admirer of Russian literature.
I would like to see them get a better deal- the country seems to have one disaster after another.
WWI, the Bolsheviks overthrowing Socialists, famine, Stalin, the liquidation of the kulaks ( peasants) WWII, the Great Terror…
Then with the fall of the Soviet Union, maybe hope.
Of all the things that amaze and depress about Russia since Putin it is the expansion of State Owned Enterprise from 35% to 70%
Was nothing learned from the Soviet Union?
Looks like they got the deal signed under the deadline. Kudos to Freeland..
“Looks like they got the deal signed under the deadline. ”
The fine print says this Belgian cave in to further french extortion, now has to be approves by the other 27 EU States.
Then Canada will also possibly have to agree to something.
so I would have to say your public elation, is early.