The NYTimes reported on Dec 10, 2013 that the negotiators of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement will not complete it by the targeted year end. Good news about fast tracking .
The concern of environmentalists and others is that the agreement, which is being negotiated in secret with many representatives from multinational corporations, gives the private sector the ability to challenge and overturn laws and regulations by any signatory government on the grounds that it would adversely impact the corporation’s profits. This appears to apply to national regulations to protect the environment and mitigate climate disruption and raises sovereignty issues for governments signing on.
Some particularly interesting excerpts from the article:
In public and in private conversations, officials involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks have maintained optimism that a deal might come to fruition, and emphasized their intention to see it through. But a document published this week by WikiLeaks indicates that there might be more rifts behind the scenes than they have let on, showing many areas of disagreement as of November.
… the documents gave new fuel to the trade deal’s opponents. “The negotiators’ political imperative to make a deal — any deal — resulted in a raft of dangerous decisions that would severely threaten consumers’ access to affordable medicines, undermine Internet freedom and empower corporations to attack our domestic laws,” said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
The trade pact faces one challenge from Congress before it is even completed. Legislators are debating whether to give the Obama administration fast-track authority, which many trade watchers consider a prerequisite for a deal’s eventual passage. Such authority would prevent the deal from being subject to a filibuster or amendment in Congress.
But Congressional Republicans and Democrats have indicated that they might oppose such authority, and aides said it would not come up for a vote this year.