I hope no one in @OxfamGB’s #taxhaven clip were fresh from a #TPPANoWay march?

I hope none in this clip protesting against tax havens as short changing everybody else were fresh from protesting how international economic agreements such as the TPPA infringe on the sovereignty of countries.

If you standing up for national sovereignty that includes standing up for the right of other countries doing things that you do not like within their own country.

If countries have the right to set taxes and tariffs as high as they like, they have just the same right to set them as low as they like.

All that plucky rhetoric of TPPA no way and how international economic agreements violate the sovereignty of countries and developing countries in particular is forgotten in a flash by Oxfam.

Oxfam manages the blinding hypocrisy of opposing the Transpacific Partnership on national sovereignty grounds and at the same time call for international treaties to bully small countries about their tax policies, which overrides their economic sovereignty.

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The sovereign rights of developing countries to find their own way does not extend to undermining the tax bases of the rich countries struggling to finance their welfare states.

The Pacific Islands, the once were heroes of the recent Paris climate talks, turn into pariahs once they start looking out for themselves and setting up offshore financial centres and tax havens.

Developing countries are free to impoverish themselves by embracing socialism, but if they decide to attract investment and jobs through low tax rates and offshore financial centres, a new form of colonialism is embraced by the reactionary left as embodied by Oxfam.

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.

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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