|A. Sivarajan of the Socialist Party of Malaysia.|
With the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) scheduled to be signed on March 8, criticism of the 'corporate charter' continues to mount in the eleven signatory countries. In New Zealand a new poll has revealed the overwhelming majority of those polled want the CPTPP independently assessed.
ALTHOUGH THERE has been little mention of it in the corporate media, opposition to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is not confined to New Zealand. There is also vigorous and mounting opposition within the eleven signatory countries, all grappling with governments who intend to push the CPTPP through regardless of the popular will.
In Malaysia, the Socialist Party of Malaysia has proposed a People's Charter on trade agreements
"There is no point fighting each trade agreement, so we have decided to fight all the agreements together with our People’s Charter on International Trade Agreements." PSM secretary-general A. Sivarajan told the Malaysian media.
|Sujata Dey of The Council of Canadians.|
“These trade agreements are becoming a global phenomenon. Behind these, there is a specific corporate interest in it … We think it is not just enough to do just fire-fighting. Malaysia will continuously go to do trade. And thus, in order to tackle this, the people must come out pro-actively to have our own charter saying that if there is a trade agreement to be made, it should not sacrifice our right, welfare and benefits.”
Siarafan said that the PSM was not opposed to trade but it was opposed to agreements that "robbed the people'.
The People's Charter is based on nine fundamental 'people-centred' principles. They include protecting the government’s capacity to protect people and environment, banning the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), where corporations can sue governments, meaningful public consultation and transparency, clamping down on tax evasion and favouring poorer countries.
The PSM has expressed concern that agreements like the CPTPP will only accelerate the 'race to the bottom" with government's trying to attract foreign investors with lower and lower wage levels. To counteract this, the People's Charter also proposes a regional minimum wage.
Meanwhile Trade Minister David Parker is on his way to sign the CPTPP on March 8.
Canadian International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne is also Chile-bound, which has drawn a strong response from the advocacy group The Council of Canadians.
Trade spokesperson Sujata Dey told Radio Canada International that it was disturbing that the Trudeau government was going “head first into signing the Harper era CPTPP.”
“With very little changes, it is basically the TPP with two new letters. It erodes the system that supports farmers’ livelihoods. It sets a bad precedent for achieving anything close to progressive trade in our NAFTA negotiations and the other slew of negotiations.”
Here in New Zealand, a new independent poll commissioned by Action Station has revealed that 75 percent of those polled favoured an independent analysis of the CPTPP - something the Labour-New Zealand First coalition government has failed to provide.