2012/11/16 Minutes Economics Working Group
1. International trade agreements: WTO, GATT, NAFTA – neo-liberalism agenda gets hardened into law. Trade in goods and services (including financial services). Liberalisation is the agenda, removing tariffs to open opportunities to for multi-national corporations to take over the world. Doha round failed. EU switched to bilateral trade agreements with the rest of the world. US – EU trade agreement to be initiated in the spring 2013 – announced in 2011 in Brussels; in normal times would be difficult to achieve but using the crisis to force it through. First area to be harmonised will be health – preparing NHS for US healthcare industry. Although agreements are inter-state to benefit corporations. Bi-lateral agreements are secret until they are completed and consequently they’re off the radar. NGOs can’t intervente Categories: Business, communications, construction and industry, engineering, environment (energy, water, toxic and nuclear waste, financial services, recreation, transport, tourism, culture and sports. Goes against the economic orthodoxy of competition.
2. Linda – Seattle 1999- NGOs alerting people to the importance of trade and impact on development. Domestic effects in the UK. EU/India agreement demands on India to liberalise banking, financial services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, supermarkets, dairy etc. Generic medicines dealt with by side agreement. Indian firms to send cheap labour into the UK; TUC measure to oppose “temporary movement of labour” Mode 4 (skilled labour) in parallel to outsourcing; permanent move. Immigration control? Existing agreements under WTO Inter corporate transfer agreements; Tier 5 any firms; Coalition Cap is “bullshit”. Left is reluctant to address this because of racist implications; wage differential. Minimum wage impediment? Union agreements no longer hold in terms of rights and wages. Requirement of £40,000 is only for full year; whereas in actuality it is £24,000. Needs to be documented. Indian demand $25,000. South American trade agreement MERCOSUR; Public procurement – global push to get access to public procurement; Plura-lateral agreements to open up procurement; tax money; EU trade policy and internal directives are on the same continuum; EU regulation to force opening up procurement; the UK is the only country to fully comply; valuable EU contracts up for grabs and used to pressurise EU members to open up their economies. Subverting national sovereignty; fascism. International trade agreements; Investor protection – company can sue the country for impairment of their trade. Introducing Investor protection into EU agreements with Canada, India, Singapore. Limits the state’s right to legislate. Thousands of agreements in effect which WTO is supposed to be adopting;
3. Exactly the same as EU – need to inform people at all levels; think tanks way ahead of us with their agenda. Malaysia and Chile reintroduced exchange controls.
4. Canada good border controls on labour migration; temporary agricultural workers; immigration policy was rigid on the basis of race; Trudeau moved to points basis but can’t get employment; declining Caucasian population is an added dimension;
5. Trade is good; trade in what; not trade in basic human needs? Basic food for survival shouldn’t be subject to trade; Commons approach would be based on sustainable supply rather than current economic system demand; trade agreements looking at it back to front; grasping the reality of the current situation; Mike strategy will help focus us. International trade is good for ordinary people and basic food staples are essential for survival. American harvest – cutting down the Amazonian forest. Trading in human needs. Global trade is contaminated. Africa – rice growing capacity decimated by “free trade”. No longer self- sufficient; stick to basic principles – Adam Smith: producer takes surplus to the market; baker, candlestick maker; trade agreements are a weapon; fair trading for human and ecological need. Fairtrade bananas. Trashing the planet for profit. Juliana Rynikar exposed dirty stuff in fair trade. Food security as in the war. GMO food is a progress trap. Trade as a weapon or means of control. LBOI missing international trade although it contains many references. Prioritise air for our lungs or food for our bellies. Topics trade as a weapon/for profit/not for profit/GMO food; publicising Linda’s knowledge; International trade; trade for the benefit of the 99% not the corporations; make the current situation far more public. Lack of democratic process governing trade. Themed session what is the purpose of work; OWS buying debt;