Will Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses in TPP undermine Vietnamese Sovereignty?

An article titled “The Devastating Impacts of the TPP Trade Deal on Vietnam” dtd. Nov 13, 2015 by Chuck Searcy on Globalresearch.ca (http://www.globalresearch.ca/te-devastating-impacts-of-the-tpp-trade-deal-on-vietnam/5487939) explains how Vietnam is putting itself in danger of lawsuits from corporations. As per the ISDS provisions, disagreements among parties and Vietnamese government will not be settled in Vietnamese court, but a panel of judges chosen by Vietnam and corporations. The author is concerned that the threat of legal suits could affect Vietnamese laws regarding environment, health, education, military etc. and the threat of ISDS may force Vietnam to open its defense, security and public interest market (where it currently has prohibitions in place) to foreign multinationals, thereby jeopardizing its sovereignty. Is the author presenting this as a regular while this would be an extreme case? And won’t an organization using ISDS against a government send wrong signal about the organization to other TPP partners? What other grievance settling measures can be used?

 

TPP forced Labor unions a good news or bad news?

An article by Kenneth Kim titled “What the Trans-Pacific Partnership Means For Investing In Vietnam” (http://www.forbes.com/sites/kennethkim/2015/11/07/what-the-trans-pacific-partnership-means-for-investing-in-vietnam/#60ac42c97733, dtd. Nov 7, 2015) comments on the forced creation of Union rights for Vietnamese people. While agreeing that Vietnam is perhaps the biggest gainer in the deal and that the deal will fast track its economy (which is currently is a very good shape) to be among top 20 soon, he also mentions concern of some groups that by forcing creation of union rights, we are taking away Vietnamese Sovereignty. The author also mentions about the concerns that unionized labor in Vietnam will be ineffective and would be ignored in the name of profits. The author dismisses these concerns by taking example of China, which despite being a communist country, has strong provisions for unionization of workers. The author states that unionized workers in China earn more and work lesser hours than their non-unionized counterparts. Will unionization of workers have intended effects for Vietnam? And would the results seen in China be replicated in Vietnam?

 

Thousands gather in Malaysia for anti-TPP rally

According to an article posted on January 23rd, 2016 in Channel News Asia, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thousands-gather-in/2451410.html, almost 5,000 Malaysians staged a three hour protest on Saturday January 23rd against the Trans Pacific Partnership, just days before the Malaysian government is scheduled to vote on the free trade deal. The protest was led by the opposition party Parti Islan Se-Malaysia (PAS), non-governmental organizations, and student unions. Protesters were armed with banners and chanted anti-TPP slogans while they organized in Kuala Lumpur’s Padang Merbok. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has argued that Malaysia cannot afford to stay out of a trade deal whose participants account for 40% of the global economy. But opponents of the TPP say they fear that it would compromise national interests and favor foreign multinational companies over domestic Malaysian companies. It appears that some Malaysian citizens are worried about the impact of the TPP, but the Malaysian government is scheduled to vote on the trade deal this week.

Do you think the TPP will benefit Malaysia? Do you think that the Malaysian government will sign the trade deal?

Malaysia trade minister calls on parliament to pass TPP bill

According to an article posted on January 26th, 2016 in The Bangkok Post, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/840260/malaysia-trade-minister-calls-on-parliament-to-pass-tpp-bill, Malaysia’s trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed warned Tuesday that Malaysia will lag behind Vietnam if it does not accept the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal as parliament began a session to debate and vote on the free trade act. According to Mohammed, “Thirty years ago, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were at the same level of development. Today, the other three are developed nations while Malaysia is still stuck in the middle-income trap,” and “We don’t want to be overtaken by Vietnam or other neighboring countries.” He is worried that “Malaysia will regret it if we do not sign the TPPA as investors will look at countries like Vietnam as a more attractive investment destination.” Just as in some of the other member countries, the TPP has received criticism in Malaysia from some parties. Last Saturday, thousands took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in a last ditch attempt to stop the Malaysian government from signing the deal. The crowd’s contentions range from an increase in medicine prices, erosion of sovereignty, to further economic displacement of ethnic Malaysians. The members of the Malaysian House are scheduled to vote on the deal on Wednesday, and the senate are scheduled to vote on the deal on Thursday.

Do you think that the TPP will benefit Malaysia? Will the Malaysian government sign the trade deal?

Mexico, Renewable Energy, and the TPP

With the emergence of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, there has been both criticism and applause at the new reform and its current endeavors. The article, “The Future of Renewable Energy to TPP Countries” (https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2016/01/future-renewable-energy-tpp-countries) highlights one of the potential positive results from adopting the TPP. As stated in the article, “The renewable energy industry remains one of the most dynamic, fast-changing and transformative sectors of the global economy”. Per the article, it is estimated that 60% of “new generating capacity installed” over the next 25 years will be attributed to renewables. This estimation, if proven correct, could result in major economic successes for the TPP-participating countries, one of which is Mexico. While energy reforms make “projecting renewable energy exports to Mexico” difficult, it is potentially the most lucrative future prospect for US renewable energy exports. Currently, wind projects play a major role in the clean energy buildup within Mexico, they lack the full wind supply chain. Due to this, US suppliers are “well positioned to participate in this future growth”. Would it be more beneficial for Mexico to form export agreements with the US, or construct their own wind supply chain? Will labor rights end up playing an issue within this partnership?

Ford Withdraws from Japan

In a recent article in, The Japan Times, details about Ford’s decision to move out of the Japanese market was discussed. Poor market conditions were the main reason for the decision along with a bleak economic outlook. With the signing of the new TPP deal, of which Japan is a part of, Ford foresaw even tougher competition in its already uphill battle with domestic automobile manufacturers. Last year Ford only sold 5,000 cars in Japan. What negative results will Japan see with Ford pulling out of the automobile market? Where else may Ford be able to get a foothold in Asia? How does this affect Ford’s business going forward?

TPP will raise U.S. annual income by $131 billion, study shows

An article in The Japan Times (January 25, 2016) titled “TPP will raise U.S. annual income by $131 billion, study shows” (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/25/asia-pacific/tpp-will-raise-u-s-annual-income-131-billion-study-shows/#.VqY1r4UrJQI) describes a study from The Peterson Institute for International Economics, which states that the TPP will raise US incomes by 131 billion annually after 2030. The analysis highlights that one-year delay in the TPP implementation would cost $77 billion in lost income. Moreover, the agreement would boost the US exports by $357 billion annually, and by $1.025 trillion annually for all TPP countries together. Other studies suggest that there would be 53,700 US jobs that would churn annually during the first 15 years of the TPP implementation period, but it is estimated that by 2030 about 796,000 jobs will have been added in US export activities thanks to the commercial agreement. Will the US Congress approve the TPP considering this analysis and its suggestion that the benefits of the TPP outweigh its costs?