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Putting Twitter Above Labor, Environmental, and Consumer Protections?

Spillovers to Central America in Light of the Crisis: What a Difference a Year Makes: by Andrew Swiston; IMF Working paper 10/35; February 1, 2010

TwitterIn January, Peter Cowhey stepped down from his yearlong stint as senior counselor at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and he may be giving us an inside look at what the USTR staff is thinking going into the first round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with Singapore, Peru, Australia, Chile, Brunei, New Zealand, and Vietnam next week. Inside U.S. Trade gives us the scoop (sorry, subscription only):

In an interview with Inside U.S. Trade, former USTR senior counselor Peter Cowhey signaled that negotiations to establish a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could be used to improve upon past bilateral trade deals the U.S. has already negotiated with Singapore, Peru, Australia and Chile, particularly on rules for advanced technologies.

Great! USTR might be looking to improve the Singapore, Peru, Australia and Chile trade agreements while negotiating the TPP!  They could amend the trade agreements to add enforceable labor and environmental protections and remove excessive intellectual property protections on pharmaceuticals and investor-state lawsuit provisions that threaten public interest legislation, all of which would be major improvements to those trade agreements.  But what was that about advanced technologies?

Historically, U.S. trade agreements have assured access for basic telecommunications services and basic data transmission networks, [Cowhey] said. But it is not entirely clear from a legal point of view whether those agreements cover new services such as Twitter and Facebook on the one hand, or integrated energy and environment management control systems for entire buildings and cities on the other, Cowhey explained.

What a let down! Twitter is nice and all, but could we be a bit more ambitious here when we reopen those trade agreements in the TPP negotiations, please?  This must be just a warm up for when the USTR announces a new trade agreement model based on the TRADE Act that a majority of House Democrats have co-sponsored, right?

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Don Juan of Austria

This kind of thing would be hilarious if it were not so sickening. Obama got elected on promises to repeal NAFTA, and now his USTR is working on extending NAFTA agreements. It sounds like the same Bush-era clowns reading from the same circus script about balancing our massive trade deficit in manufactured products with Twitter and Facebook. What a joke.

We need to go back to making things in this country, and paying our citizens well to make them. And if you're not buying those things from us, you shouldn't get to sell to us.

Made In USA

President Obama and the Democrats said what they needed to so labor and the farmers of America would support them. Of course once they are in office its forgotten and back to business as usual. Democrats always CLAIM to be the party of the worker and farmer yet the policies and legislation they pursue shows an entirely different story. Republicans are no better but at least they're honest about it. Republicans are anti-worker and anti-farmer, they'll even make a point to boast about it. Both parties when it comes right down to it, are pretty much owned by huge corporations who can buy votes with one phone call. Congress actually despises the people of America because while we can't shower them with goodies and massive amounts of cash, we still have the right and power to speak up and vote them out of office.

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