International trade agreement akin to asset salesPublish By Richard C. Huggins Updated 22/03/2012 1:02 pm in World / no comments
New Zealanders have spoken out against the sale of our assets recently, saying some things are too valuable to give away to companies to make profits off them.
But secret talks underway between New Zealand and eight other countries could have a much bigger impact on our ability to hold on to things that are important.
If negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) succeed, it would give corporations new powers and special rights, and make it much harder for us to have a say in how we run the country.
Actor Martin Henderson says the deal would put at risk the best of New Zealand, to give more power to foreign corporations.
“We have so much to lose with this shonky deal: control of our land and natural resources, affordable medicine, cultural diversity.”
Corporations would have the ability to sue a country for millions of dollars if the government went ahead with new policies or laws that affected the firm’s profits.
Many New Zealanders support plain packaging of cigarettes to bring down the thousands of smoking related deaths each year.
But under the TPPA a tobacco company could complain that this hurt their profits, and sue for compensation – exactly what the makers of Marlboro cigarettes are trying to do to the Australian government right now under another trade agreement.
The TPPA would also affect other things like keeping medicine affordable, restricting land sales and regulating the kinds of financial practices that led to the Global Financial Crisis.
Thanks to First Union for the story