Jane Kelsey opposes handcuffs on the democratic choices of future governments! Does she oppose labour and environmental standards in trade agreements too?

Jane Kelsey in a television interview said she opposes the reductions in sovereignty in trade agreements that result from investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions because they limit the democratic choices of future governments.

If so, she must oppose environmental and labour standards in trade agreements and, more importantly, binding the hands of future governments with climate treaties. All international treaties are about restrictions on sovereignty.

Environmental and labour clauses in trade agreements and climate treaties all limit the powers of governments to legislate on environmental and employment law in accordance with the will of the people as expressed in the most recent election and change of government. Power to the people.

https://twitter.com/rorymccourt/status/625540621457960960

Jane Kelsey would do better focusing on those parts of the TPPA deal that lowers the net value of the deal such as those extending the term of patents over the drugs. All international treaties are about trade-offs.

The most important reason for focusing on intellectual property law in trade agreements is Kelsey is likely to actually win people over that are not on the far left, including many on the right of politics over to her cause. Kelsey is too busy rounding up the usual suspects.

Ranting about big corporate conspiracies and the investor state dispute settlement clauses puts people off.

These gusts of paranoia lose support on issues where there is common ground to be suspicious about the growing scope of trade agreements and their reach behind borders.

Regulatory harmonisation is advisable only when there are compelling reasons such as the prevention of hazards or technical compatibility of products – do the plugs fit into each other? As Sykes argues:

as a normative matter, harmonization is inferior to a legal system that tolerates regulatory differences subject to legal constraints, and that relies on mutual recognition where appropriate (the exception to this claim being matters of technical compatibility between products).

Related, as a positive manner, harmonization will often lack any political constituency and thus instances of true harmonization will be rare.

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