Sovereignty For International Investors (Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP))

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Yves here. This post provides another vantage on one of the very worst features of the pending, mislabeled trade deals, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Both are up for what is the critical vehicle for their passage, so-called Fast Track Authority, this week. The Senate vote is scheduled for today, May 12.

If you have not done so yet, PLEASE call your Senators as soon as you can to voice forceful disapproval. E-mail friends and post reminders on Facebook (one readers suggested alumni groups, an option to add if you’ve neglected that route so far). You can find your Senators phone numbers here. After you’ve given them a piece of your mind, be sure to call your Representative (numbers here).

It’s been striking to see how the Administration and Obama personally have stooped to personal slurs and failed to make substantive responses to criticism. Even the normally measured Robert Reich and Dean Baker have come as close to calling Obama a liar as card-carrying members of the elite dare to in public discourse.

While this may be Obamas’s of entitlement getting long in the tooth, it may also result from his team recognizing all too well that any honest discussion on the merits will not go well for them.

This post provided a good overview of the dangers of the so-called investor state dispute settlement panels, which might more accurately be called “turn over America to multinational rule” panels.

For additional background, see these posts:

Gaius Publius: What’s Wrong with Wyden-Hatch-Ryan’s Fast Track Bill – The Specifics

The Administration’s Dishonest Response to Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Secret Investor Arbitration Panels in Trade Deals

Thoughts About the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Wikileaks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Environment Chapter: “Toothless Public Relations Exercise”

By Patrick Durusau, who consults on semantic integration and edits standards. Durusau is convener of JTC 1 SC 34/WG 3, co-editor of 13250-1 and 13250-5 (Topic Maps Introduction and Reference Model, respectively), and editor of the OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard at OASIS and ISO (ISO/IEC 26300). Originally published at Another Word for It.

Elizabeth Warren makes a compelling case against the Trans-Pacific Partnership in The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose, where she says:

ISDS [Investor-State Dispute Settlement] would allow foreign companies to challenge U.S. laws — and potentially to pick up huge payouts from taxpayers — without ever stepping foot in a U.S. court. Here’s how it would work. Imagine that the United States bans a toxic chemical that is often added to gasoline because of its health and environmental consequences. If a foreign company that makes the toxic chemical opposes the law, it would normally have to challenge it in a U.S. court. But with ISDS, the company could skip the U.S. courts and go before an international panel of arbitrators. If the company won, the ruling couldn’t be challenged in U.S. courts, and the arbitration panel could require American taxpayers to cough up millions — and even billions — of dollars in damages.

If that seems shocking, buckle your seat belt. ISDS could lead to gigantic fines, but it wouldn’t employ independent judges. Instead, highly paid corporate lawyers would go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next. Maybe that makes sense in an arbitration between two corporations, but not in cases between corporations and governments. If you’re a lawyer looking to maintain or attract high-paying corporate clients, how likely are you to rule against those corporations when it’s your turn in the judge’s seat?

The use of ISDS is on the rise around the globe. From 1959 to 2002, there were fewer than 100 ISDS claims worldwide. But in 2012 alone, there were 58 cases. Recent cases include a French company that sued Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage, a Swedish company that sued Germany because Germany decided to phase out nuclear power after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, and a Dutch company that sued the Czech Republic because the Czechs didn’t bail out a bank that the company partially owned. U.S. corporations have also gotten in on the action: Philip Morris is trying to use ISDS to stop Uruguay from implementing new tobacco regulations intended to cut smoking rates.

I understand Senator Warren’s focus on the United States, but it diverts her from a darker issue raised by the TPP.

The TPP gives international investors sovereignty equivalent to national governments.

Without the TPP and similar agreements, an international investor with a dispute with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore,United States, Vietnam, or New Zealand, has to sue in the courts of that country.

With the TPP, international investors being equal sovereigns with those countries, can use Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to bring a national government before privately selected arbiters, in possibly secret proceedings, because of laws or regulations they find objectionable.

Is that scare mongering?

Why don’t you ask:

Australia. Phillip Morris is suing Australia over legislation to regulate tobacco packaging. The Australian government has assembled all the public documents from that process at: Tobacco plain packaging—investor-state arbitration. The proceedings are based on: (Hong Kong – Australia treaty) (I have read predatory agreements before but nothing on this scale. There are no limits on the rights of investors. None at all.)


Uruguay. Phillip Morris is suing Uruguay because of laws that has been reducing smoking by 4.3% a year.

(Philip Morris Sues Uruguay Over Graphic Cigarette Packaging) Not in court, a Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) proceeding. This proceeding is based on: (The Swiss Confederation – Uruguay Bilateral Trade Agreement)

The Uruguay agreement provides in part:

Article 2 Promotion, admission

(1) Each Contracting Party shall in its territory promote as far as possible investments by investors of the other Contracting Party and admit such investments in accordance with its law. The Contracting Parties recognize each other’s right not to allow economic activities for reasons of public security and order, public health or morality, as well as activities which are by law reserved to their own investors.

That sounds like a public health exception to me.

If the United States and the other countries are daft enough to confer sovereignty on international investors, are there any limits to their rights?

From the TPP:

3 (b) Non-discriminatory regulatory actions by a Party that are designed and applied to protect legitimate public welfare objectives, such as public health, safety, and the environment, do not constitute indirect expropriations, except in rare circumstances. [TPP Annex II-B]

I don’t know what “rare circumstances” might mean in this context so I wrote to the Office of the United States Trade Representative at:, on March 28, 2015, saying:

I am trying to follow the discussion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement 
and have a question about Annex 11-B paragraph 3, sub-point (b), which reads:

Non-discriminatory regulatory actions by a Party that are designed and applied
to protect legitimate public welfare objectives, such as public health, safety, 
and the environment, do not constitute indirect expropriations, except in rare

My question is: Have there been any cases of "rare circumstances?"

I assume from the wording not many but that it is mentioned at all 
implies it isn't unknown.

Is there are source for decisions that would include those "rare 
circumstances" that is available online?

Or other sources though those would be difficult for me to consult 
since I don't travel. Perhaps I could request copies of such decisions.


I can quote the response of the Office of the United States Trade Representative in full:


That’s right, no response at all.

The Phillip Morris cases are concrete evidence of how investment treaties as used in fact to over turn public health laws passed by a sovereign government.

Why should the United States, or any other country need confer sovereignty on international investors, so they can have a very private court between themselves and nation states?

The United States has fine courts open for litigation. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the NSA bulk collection of domestic calling records to be unconstitutional. I don’t think anyone can truthfully say that the U.S. government has an unfair advantage in U.S. courts.

As a matter of fact, there is a free trade agreement with Australia Section 11 Investment, that has no Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) language at all.

The most it says is found in Article 11.5 Minimum Standard of Treatment, 2. (a):

“fair and equitable treatment” includes the obligation not to deny justice in criminal, civil, or administrative adjudicatory proceedings in accordance with the principle of due process embodied in the principal legal systems of the world; and

If investors from either country has a problem, they can sue in the courts of the other country. That was at the instigation of Australia as I understand the back story on that agreement.

Adoption of the TPP will mean that six hundred and forty five million (645) people (estimates for 2015), who produce forty (40%) percent of the world GDP, will be ruled over by their governments and an unknown number of unelected international investors.

Other resources to consult:

United Nations Conference on Trade and Agreement

Investor-state dispute settlement: A sequel (UNCTAD Series on Issues in International Investment Agreements II)

At page 52 it comments on non-discriminatory regulations (public health for example), saying:

IIAs’ substantive obligations can be delineated by general exceptions. The latter allow States to derogate from the IIA obligations when such derogation pursues a policy objective included in the general-exceptions clause. Such policy may include public health and safety, national security, environmental protection and some others. A number of treaties now contain general exceptions, but how they will work in practice is yet to be tested.

Claims by TPP supporters that the TPP will not impact national laws is at best disingenuous and at worse an outright lie. No one really knows how far sovereignty granted to international investors will go under the TPP language.

Issues in International Investment Agreements (First series)UNCTAD

Thirty five (35) documents that cover investment agreements in great detail. This is part of the second series referenced in Investor-state dispute settlement: A sequel (UNCTAD Series on Issues in International Investment Agreements II).

One volume of particular interest: Expropriation, at pages 57-109.

II. Establishing An Indirect Exprorpriation and Distinguishing It From Noncompensable Regulation.

The matter of establishing an indirect expropriation without impeding the right of States to regulate in the public interest has been one of the more challenging problems in recent years. This section aims to review the relevant treaty and arbitral practice and contribute to the development of an appropriate analytical framework.

Section A examines the factors used to evaluate whether an indirect expropriation has occurred. These include assessing the impact on the investment, interference with investor’s legitimate expectations and the characteristics of the measure at stake.

Section B discusses how IIAs have singled out noncompensable regulatory measures and distinguishes them from cases of indirect expropriation. Such measures do not require compensation even where they produce a significant negative effect on an investment.

Section C concludes the preceding discussion by providing a framework for analysis of whether a certain governmental measure constitutes an indirect expropriation.

I lack the author’s confidence that the police powers of the state will be respected, particularly in light of the “practice” of international investors as shown by Phillip Morris.

International Investment Agreements Navigator A very useful resource for finding international investment agreements.

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  1. Jesper

    On a related note here is the official US position on the ISDS for the TTIP:

    A quote from it:
    “However US Undersecretary for International Trade at the Commerce Department, Stefan Selig, noted Monday that some so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanisms already exist in international trade agreements and had not resulted in a loss of sovereignty for countries.”

      1. susan the other

        and the vote was 54 to 45; McConnel voted no. Is that the same McConnel? What an historic day. We really do have a representative Senate.

        1. Kathy

          According to an article I read, McConnel changed his vote to no. Apparently, this allows him to bring it up later. Must be a procedural thing.

  2. Tom Hammett

    I don’t know how much good it will do but I am in an e-mail battle with Senator Bill Nelson (Democrat Florida). I know that I will have very little effect on his vote, but I still try.. I have sent 3 and received 1.

    The first on this issue was on April 24 when I sent the following (minus the links):
    Dear Senator Bill Nelson:

    I was appalled to find out that you voted in favor of the Trade Promotion Authority (fast track) in the Senate Finance Committee.

    President Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, have a major creditability problems when it comes to Trade Agreements. I refuse to call them free because they are anything but free.

    President Barack Obama claimed in a White House fact sheet that the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement (KORUS) would “increase exports of American goods by $10 to $11 billion…” and that would “support 70,000 American jobs from increased goods exports alone.” Well the facts are that the growing goods trade deficits with Korea have eliminated more than 75,000 jobs between 2011 and 2014. Also, “increase exports of American goods by $10 to $11 billion”; in the first three years after KORUS took effect, U.S. domestic exports to Korea increased by only $0.8 billion, an increase of 1.8%. Imports from Korea increased $12.6 billion, an increase of 22.5%. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit with Korea increased $11.8 billion between 2011 and 2014, an increase of 80.4%, nearly doubling in just three years. Let us see the results of your trade agreement Mr. President. Increase exports by $10 to $11 billion, wrong, increased by only $0.8 billion. You did increase the trade deficit with Korea increased $11.8 billion between 2011 and 2014. Would support 70,000 new American jobs, wrong again, the increased imports that caused the trade deficits eliminated more than 75,000 jobs. Real good job Mr. President! Why should we believe you now?

    Then there was President Bill Clinton with NAFTA and getting China membership into the WTO. The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) shows that the 2013 U.S. goods trade balance with the NAFTA countries was a deficit of $177.2 billion. The combined U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Mexico and Canada rose (in real, inflation-adjusted terms) from $9.7 billion in 1993 to $132.3 billion in 2013. The NAFTA deficit increased $122.5 billion, or 1,258 percent. On September 19, 1993, Bill Clinton said “NAFTA will create 200,000 American jobs in two years” and “create a million jobs in the first five years of its impact.” Clinton said “NAFTA will generate these jobs by fostering an export boom to Mexico.”

    Ross Perot’s statement during the 1992 presidential campaign that if NAFTA was not a two way street it would create a “giant sucking sound” of jobs going south to the cheap labor markets of Mexico was absolutely correct. NAFTA has displaced more than 850,000 U.S. jobs.

    Then there is the matter of China and the WTO. In 2000, President Bill Clinton claimed that the agreement then being negotiated to allow China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) would create “a win-win result for both countries.” Between 2001, when China came into the WTO, and 2013 the U.S. trade deficit with China increased $240 billion. These growing trade deficits eliminated 3.2 million U.S. jobs.

    Between NAFTA and getting China into the WTO Bill Clinton gave the shaft to the U.S. middle class for the benefit of Wall Street and the large multinational corporations.

    The United States already has a large and growing trade deficit with the 11 other countries in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which reached $265.1 billion in 2014. In contrast, the United States had a small trade surplus with Mexico in 1993, before NAFTA took effect. In other words, outsourcing to the TPP countries is a much greater threat than it was under NAFTA with Mexico.

    More than 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost between 1997 and 2014. Most of those job losses were due to growing trade deficits with countries that have negotiated trade and investment deals with the United States.

    The preceding data is from these documents:
    Fast Track to Lost Jobs and Lower Wages
    By Robert E. Scott, Economic Policy Institute, April 13, 2015 10:01 AM

    U.S.-Korea Trade Deal Resulted in Growing Trade Deficits and More Than 75,000 Lost U.S. Jobs
    By Robert E. Scott, Economic Policy Institute, March 30, 2015 2:31 PM

    Debunking USTR’s Absurd Assertion that the U.S. Has a Trade Surplus with NAFTA Countries
    Public Citizen Report, January 13, 2015


    Tom Hammett

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Great letter! You say you received 1 back; was it a form letter (thank you so much for bla, bla, bla, we take pride in doing the right thing for America bla bla bla) or did it try and address any of your concerns?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Here’s the response I guess you would call it that which Nelson’s mailbot sent me:
        Please do not reply to this e-mail. If you need to send another message to Senator Nelson, please use the form on his Web site:

        Dear Mr. McPhee:

        Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation that would renew our country’s Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.

        This legislation renews the President’s authority to negotiate and expedite free-trade agreements as long as they meet strict standards set by Congress, standards that ensure compliance with strong U.S. labor and environmental protections.

        I believe such agreements are a necessary component of keeping our economy strong. And under the bill I supported in the Senate Finance Committee, Congress still maintains its authority to reject or approve such an agreement.

        I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of your views on this issue.

        Senator Bill Nelson

        Another love note from the Department of Redundancy and Futility Department. I’m sure Nelson looks forward to a soft and comfy future…

        1. hunkerdown

          With due respect, Mr. Nelson, your economy is not my economy and is therefore of less than no concern to me.

  3. greg kaiser

    The Obama administration and the conservative supporters of TPP fast track including Ted Cruz of Texas [born in Canada but birthers remain silent] continue to pretend the ISDS [ ] will not result in loss of sovereignty. Apparently they haven’t heard of Murphy’s Law.

    If corporations can sue for lost profits due to environmental, safety or other states’ laws that protect the public, will they not do so? Anyone who believes the treacherous ruling class and their corporate minions will act in a way that benefits all is out of touch with past and present reality. TPP, like NAFTA before it, will help the elites to protect their fortunes from entrepreneurs* at home and abroad.

    * That seems an exaggeration? Entrepreneurs may find a niche where externalization of costs has been outlawed by a protective state. If the de facto subsidies – allowing unbridled environmental damage – are restored by the ISDS, market opportunities disappear.

  4. Ignacio

    Non-discriminatory regulatory actions by a Party that are designed and applied to protect legitimate public welfare objectives, such as public health, safety, and the environment, do not constitute indirect expropriations, except in rare circumstances.

    Even wholly discriminatory regulatory actions can be justified to protect public objectives. When you use the adjective “legitimate” before public welfare (why not public interest?) you are giving room to interpretations. If it has been legislated it is legitimate. End of the story.

  5. ecologic

    Not just public health measures, but entire healthcare systems will be up for grabs. For instance, US health insurers have said they will show the UK National Health Service “no mercy”, post-TTIP.

    1. Another Gordon

      Do you have a reference for that “no mercy” remark? We need all possible ammunition this side of the pond.

      1. ecologic

        Search “no mercy” in here.
        The government has refused to exempt the NHS from TTIP, so it’s open season.

        In parallel, I wondered why Monsanto declared a year ago that they giving up trying to get the EU to accept GMOs. In fact, they were just waiting for TTIP to come along.

  6. Tom Hammett

    I was wrong, I sent 4, 3 before I received a response. Here are E-mails 2 & 3. Next will be Senator Nelson response and my response to his response.

    Dear Senator Bill Nelson:

    NO on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Fast Track!

    From the New Economic Perspectives site posted on April 24, 2015: “Passing the TPP would compromise the monetary sovereignty of the United States and subject us to the influence of currency markets on the prices we may have to pay for foreign currency under a plausible scenario allowed by the Agreement. Specifically, I don’t see anything in the TPP investment chapter requiring that damages be awarded by the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) tribunals in the sovereign currency of nations incurring damage awards for lost profits, but only that they be awarded in a “freely usable currency” as specified by the IMF. So, complainants in these tribunals could ask for and win damages payable in foreign currencies, rather than US dollars, which the US would then owe in that foreign currency.”


    Tom Hammett
    Dear Senator Bill Nelson:

    NO on Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Fast Track!

    From the New Economic Perspectives site posted on April 25, 2015 by William K. Black, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law.:

    TPP is the legal system designed to authorize plunder with impunity. Economists are the priests that glorify the CEOs’ plunder. When you allow CEOs’ lobbyists to secretly draft a deal and then make it impossible through “fast track” for the public or our representatives to vote down even the most despicable of these acts of CEO plunder you make it certain that the law will bring plunder rather than “free trade.”

    There are five aspects of Obama’s deal that are indefensible and will cause immense damage to the base and the public at large – and Obama’s efforts to smear critics of these indefensible provisions adds a sixth aspect that cries out for rejection. It is indefensible to:

    ■ Draft the deal in secret from the public – through classifying the TPP drafts as purported “national security” information. There was, and is, zero basis for classifying the drafts.

    ■ Allow CEOs’ lobbyists to secretly draft provisions of the deal

    ■ “Fast track” the bill, making it impossible to remove even the worst plundering through the lobbyists’ language

    ■ Give away U.S. and other nations’ sovereignty to a kangaroo (non) court dominated by lawyers for CEOs

    ■ Allow these kangaroo non-courts to destroy vital regulations and bankrupt nations at the behest of the worst corporate CEO plunderers – exposing the world to even more frequent and severe financial crises. I have explained these last two points in more detail in the past. These provisions of TPP are so bad that they are depraved – and we have abundant, terrible, and global experience under past, more limited Faux Trade deals with the same provisions to know that the word “depraved” is the appropriate description.


    Tom Hammett

    1. TedWa

      Very nice letter Tom Hammett. I’ve written 8 to Sen Maria Cantwell who voted TPA out of committee. They’re voting on cloture today and when I called her aide said she wasn’t sure how she was going to vote. Let’s hope they’re listening.

    2. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

      Good letters. I particularly liked the citation to my post on Monetary Sovereignty. :) :)

  7. Romancing the Loan

    Question though – in law school we used to refer to international law as “pretend law” since there really was no enforcement mechanism short of a declaration of war. So what happens when there is a judgment against a country and that country just up and refuses to pay?

      1. Romancing the Loan

        But how does that work if they issue their own currency? I’m not sure what “in the sweatbox like Greece” means in that context. Sorry if this sounded snarky – I am actually trying to figure out what the consequences would then be.

        1. Lambert Strether

          That’s a good point, thanks… And in a world where what being sovereign in your own currency was well understood, would be a very powerful one, besides being on point. To flip this over, perhaps we might see why powerful financial interests are so concerned to obscure this fact; the globalizing, sovereignty-destroying function of “the country will go bankrupt” had not occurred to me.

          Adding: “The Agnotological Sweatbox.”

        2. Joe Firestone (LetsGetitDone)

          If we didn’t pay a judgment, then we’d be repudiating the Congressional-Executive Agreement. the corporation in question would then go to court here in the United States asking the Court to compel the Executive to honor the agreement and pay the judgement, pointing out that the Agreement was the Supreme Law of the Land other than the Constitution, and that according to its terms the award from the ISDS was a legitimate debt of the US guaranteed by the 14th amendment.

          The Administration refusing to pay might then argue that the TPP Agreement was unconstitutional in the first place, because its provisions violate the sovereignty of the Federal Government of the Federal Government according to the argument given in my earlier post here: I think that’s the winning move in such a sequence. However, a President would have to be willing to challenge the Agreement, and she/he would have to have a friendly or at least neutral, rather than a corporate Supreme Court deciding on the validity of the challenge.

          We might get both if Sanders or Warren were elected in 2016.

  8. subgenius

    thats why academi xe blackwater or whoever they are today…If you have a net worth bigger than a 3rd world state, its only fair you also have a bigger military to do your bidding…

  9. vidimi

    can a tobacco company sue a country for not providing enough health care to keep their smokers alive longer?

    can a tobacco company sue a country for having a decrease in population?

  10. Clive

    Ironic, in a no it’s not really ironic at all way, that the new UK government’s first action is to prepare to repeal the Human Rights Act ( which allows non-commercial law (i.e. the bits which affect people rather than business) to go beyond the national courts in England & Wales and Scotland to the European Court of Justice. In effect, the European Court is a “Supreme Court of Supreme Courts”. The new Conservative government is doing this because it has long been a rallying call for the Conservative party that the European court is far too “soft” on human rights (which means that it often limits the powers of governments to trample over the human rights of their citizens) so it’s no surprise that the new government is going to instigate for a new justice system which will be more pliant / amenable to supressing the rights of people.

    Conversely, of course, the Conservative government sees no problems at all with big business doing its own bit of jurisdiction shopping (via the TTIP) and being able to find what it no doubt will hope is a far more “business friendly” legal system in an ISDS.

    Oh, okay then, courts which operate on a supra-national basis can’t be trusted because they exceed and step upon “national sovereignty” which is A Very Bad Thing when they uphold human rights. But an ISDS is just fine and there’s no problem at all if it violates “national sovereignty” when it upholds the rights of business against the state. There’s nothing like holding a consistent position based on applying the same logic to two different things is there Mr. Cameron ?

  11. TedWa

    I encourage all to call this morning or today if they can:
    The “cloture” vote on Fast Track is today! The Senate will vote on whether to proceed further on this economy-killing trade bill.
    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is forcing this vote today. Because of you, he may not have the 60 votes needed to even bring Fast Track to the floor for a debate.
    You emailed your Representative and Senator about Fast Track: thank you for that.

    Now, can you do something today? I am asking you for two 30 second calls, one to each of your senators. We want to flood the Senate with calls.
    Here’s what you do – twice – once for each of your senators:

    1. Call: (202) 224-3121.
    2. Ask to be connected to one of your Senator’s offices.
    3. When you are connected, say: “I am calling to request that the Senator oppose the Fast Track TPA cloture vote. We need to keep jobs in America.”
    Then: forward this action to 5 people! Let’s go viral!

    Michael Stumo, Coalition for a Prosperous America

  12. TedWa

    C-SPAN 2 is going to have the Senate vote for cloture on fast track at 2:30 PM, EST on. For those that are curious. Barbara Boxer is on now making good points, including, why are they bothering with a trade deal that will increase trade deficits when there are so many other pressing problems in America.

  13. Tom Hammett

    Great News!

    The Senate Cloture on the Trade Promotion Authority (Fast Track) was voted down 53 to 45 when 60 votes were needed. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida did vote ‘no’ on Cloture so maybe my efforts and hopefully Florida residents, and residents of other states, did send their views to their senators because of the great information presented by Yves Smith and the Naked Capitalism team. Now on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    1. Vatch

      Fantastic! Can anyone point to a list of how the Senators voted? Supposedly almost all Republicans voted in favor of fast track, and almost all Democrats voted against fast track. We often (rightly) criticize Democratic politicians here at NC, but every year there are several events, such as this one, which show that the Republicans really are worse than the Democrats.

      1. hunkerdown

        “Are worse”. Fundamental attribution error, schizophrenic splitting, or torturing the facts to fit the narrative?

        I mean, we live in a culture where, for any public purposes, actors *are* their roles. But these are businessmen, not celebutantes.

        1. Vatch

          For what it’s worth, although I was able to say that the Republicans are worse than the Democrats, I am unable to say that the Democrats are better than the Republicans. I just can’t bring myself to attribute “betterness” to either group.

      2. jrs

        If only we didn’t have a Republican in the oval office pushing this thing on us and negotiating it for 6 years. If only we’d elected a Democrat. Breakdown is now in the latest TPP thread.

      3. Tom Hammett

        Vatch, The vote was 52 to 45, I missed it when watching C-Span 2. Too see the Senators’ votes go here.

        1. TedWa

          Thanks for the link, it appears the letters and calls got through as both my senators voted nay, even though 1 voted yes in committee a few weeks ago!!

  14. Tom Hammett

    II think the security system has me marked as a spammer. This may be small enough to make it through. Tomorrow I will comment on my response.

    I am not sure which e-mail he is responding to but it dose not matter based upon his response. He won’t change his mind!

    RE: Your response from Senator Bill Nelson

    Dear Mr. Hammett:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding legislation that would renew our country’s Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA.

    This legislation renews the President’s authority to negotiate and expedite free-trade agreements as long as they meet strict standards set by Congress, standards that ensure compliance with strong U.S. labor and environmental protections.

    I believe such agreements are a necessary component of keeping our economy strong. And under the bill I supported in the Senate Finance Committee, Congress still maintains its authority to reject or approve such an agreement.

    I appreciate your taking the time to inform me of your views on this issue.

    Senator Bill Nelson

  15. RBHoughton

    I have a slight difficulty Yves. I am not American and TTP / TTIP are US initiatives passing through Congress.

    I should not have an opinion on what your legislature does except that a good part of American law these days gets extended globally through the War on Terror, money laundering offences, interception of communications and these trade deals. Shame it does not flow though UN eh?

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