The predictable consequence of unleashing do-gooders in least developed countries

From “Where Sweatshops Are a Dream” https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/opinion/15kristof.html

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.

#TPPA The first Paul Krugman on trade agreements that level the playing field behind the border

via WHAT SHOULD TRADE NEGOTIATORS NEGOTIATE ABOUT? A REVIEW ESSAY.

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When I worked at Marxism Today, my desire to earn a living proved to be somewhat déclassé.

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via When I worked at Marxism Today, my desire to earn a living proved to be somewhat déclassé.

Nicholas Kristof – Where Sweatshops Are a Dream

Before Barack Obama and his team act on their talk about “labor standards,” I’d like to offer them a tour of the vast garbage dump here in Phnom Penh.

This is a Dante-like vision of hell. It’s a mountain of festering refuse, a half-hour hike across, emitting clouds of smoke from subterranean fires. The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn.

Then the smoke parts and you come across a child ambling barefoot, searching for old plastic cups that recyclers will buy for five cents a pound. Many families actually live in shacks on this smoking garbage.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad.

But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough.

Talk to these families in the dump, and a job in a sweatshop is a cherished dream, an escalator out of poverty, the kind of gauzy if probably unrealistic ambition that parents everywhere often have for their children.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Where Sweatshops Are a Dream – NYTimes.com.

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