Not one but two trade deals, the TPP and TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) are percolating over the holiday period. The TPP will allow corporates to set the rules for over 40% of world trade. TISA will break open financial and other services, even essential infrastructure and social services, to make it easier for corporates to come in and take control, profits, and our privacy off to whatever tax haven they are registered in.
In the US we are told corporates are already mobilizing to put pressure on elected officials to fast track the trade deals. They know that the more debate there is, the more opposition will grow.
There has been talk in New Zealand of businesses establishing a fighting fund to persuade politicians to get on with it and sign us up. Never mind that once signed by one government, a new government cannot break the agreement – no matter how rotten it turns out to be.
Will these ‘free’ trade agreements mean more export opportunities for New Zealand? Not enough to compensate for the layoffs, increased charges, draconian contracts, and lower wages that always happen when corporates take control. The free bit refers to free labour, free use of resources, freedom from taxes and regulations – or as near to it as possible.
Opposition is mounting in all countries that are negotiating these deals. People can see that they are not about trade. They are about corporate control of… pretty much everything. Why? So they can maximize the profits for a few already wealthy people.
‘Free’ trade agreements: don’t need them, don’t want them. Make 2015 the year we see them off for good.