back to article TPP: 'Scary' US-Pacific trade deal published – you're going to freak out when you read it

The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been revealed, after seven years of negotiations and following formal approval last month. The text was first published by the government of New Zealand, but was swiftly followed by the United States government, which has uploaded it across a number of websites and in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jingo

    "undermine American leadership around the world."

    I'm definitely ok with undermining American jingoism around the world.

    1. Bumpy Cat

      Re: Jingo

      That's all very well when your only motivation is anti-Americanism. But, as was quoted in the article, who would you rather have writing up trade agreements - China or America? Which country allows trade unions to exist? Which country has better freedom of speech? Which country has better environmental laws, and a better environment?

      For goodness sake, people have got to stop thinking of the West and America as the only and ultimate evil. We in the West need to keep a firm leash on our politicians, governments and security agencies - but we *can*, through protests, elections and political engagement. Most other people around the world don't have that luxury, and are literally dying to get out of their countries and into the West. Even the millionaires in China want a US passport.

      So, in this case, I'd rather have the US writing the trade agreement than China. It's the Trans-PACIFIC agreement, so the EU is not involved - but if it were, I'd rather have the EU writing it than the US or China.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Jingo

        That's all very well when your only motivation is anti-Americanism.

        Or massivelySerial's objection is to jingoism, and there is an American example here to be objected to.

        That seems more likely to me, anyway (though maybe I'm just being nice today). Is anyone actually in favour of jingoism?

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          Coat

          @Rich 11 -- Re: Jingo

          Is anyone actually in favour of jingoism?

          I imagine that if you ask 'boltar' or 'x 7', they'll likely answer in the affirmative.

          1. Fungus Bob Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Jingo

            Looks like this thing has set several commentard's Jingo-Bells ringing...

        2. Muncher23

          Re: Jingo

          One person's Jingoism is another persons Community Spirit, if you want people to act with unity and sense of community you always get exclusion of those not in the community. You can try and define your way around it but that is just symantics

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Jingo

        As pointed out in the article, China is notably not a signatory, so it's not even a situation of 'the rules' being written by America or by China, and even if it were, this is a false dichotomy - there are more individual concerns here than those of China and the US.

        Personally, I'd like to see international treaties drawn up through a process of agreement from all involved, not through heavy-handedness from one, or a small group of actors. That would be inherently fairer. It concerns me that the bluster from the US appears to indicate that such heavy-handedness has been applied to produce a treaty that favours them over the other players, which in the end is nothing more than bullying on the global stage - in other words, business as usual.

      3. scrubber
        Big Brother

        Re: Jingo

        Is that the same America who illegally broke into German companies' systems and stole trade secrets and gave them to American companies?

        I trust them as far as I could nuke them into space with a stolen Ukranian ICBM.

        Wonder how the weather is in Cuba this time of year...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Jingo

          The same country that has singled out employees from my company to copy their HDDs at customs..

          They have also targeted our employees with custom viruses in banners (at leat twice they were detected), so when they got to the office with the laptop they could slurp military tech info.

      4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Jingo

        "Which country allows trade unions to exist?"

        The theory is that The Party will look out for the needs of the workers in China. In the US, the government keeps its hands off, but allows trade unions to negotiate on behalf of labor. In practice, things don't work quite that way on either side of the big pond.

    2. Green Nigel 42

      No confidence vote in TTP

      Although this is a bit to late, as a trial, I would like poll for a vote of no confidence here, in both the benefit of TTP to the ordinary citizen and Reg's advice to put away our pitch forks.

    3. Col_Panek

      Re: Jingo

      O'Bama has already achieved that.

  2. Kwll

    Old soup.

    First agreement of such magnitude for the 21th century has been realized with processes dating back to the cold war era.

    Honestly, i would not sign an agreement which is presented as "made by america, for american business and american people". What about the rest of the people involved? Guess they do not count.

    ...and by the way, if someone deem normal that a country that tries to protect his own shore from fracking needs to agree to pay 130m to a company for loss of profit, guess there are some serious issues to worry about...

    Cheers

    Alessio

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Old soup.

      No one is going to present a deal to their people saying "we gave away stuff to the other side", they are always going to say it's good for [name of nation], good for jobs, good for the people, and there will be jam for tea.

    2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: Old soup.

      Countries that attempt to 'protect his own shore from fracking' need protecting from themselves.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Old soup.

        "Countries that attempt to 'protect his own shore from fracking' need protecting from themselves."

        Sorry, wot?

    3. Laura Kerr
      Mushroom

      Horrendous in its implications

      "someone deem normal that a country that tries to protect his own shore from fracking needs to agree to pay 130m to a company for loss of profit, guess there are some serious issues to worry about"

      'zackly.

      This provision completely undermines the fundamental principles of democracy. I admit I haven't read the thing, but even Kieren points out that

      "And that in turn may make government a little more wary of passing such legislation. It gives corporations an extra bit of power in negotiations."

      Letting the Zik-Zak Corporation increase their sway over national governments is an appalling thing to do. Worse, even though the current governments may be so dumb as to think this is a good thing, this treaty ties the hands of future incumbents, as anyone with the cojones to tell a litigant to FOAD will be in breach of the whole treaty. Cue sanctions and trade wars.

      If the treaty described an arbitration process for agreeing compensation, that would be fairer. But allowing Zik-Zak to lawyer up as soon as their bottom line takes a hit is utterly disgusting. Not really surprising that the US is the prime mover behind it.

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: Horrendous in its implications

        You say that the provision 'undermines the fundamental principles of democracy'. I disagree, it is sovereignty to which you refer, and yes it does.

        Many things do. The EU undermines nation states' sovereignty by putting its legislation above theirs. All international agreements undermine sovereignty. The UN convention on the rights of the child undermines sovereignty.

        What matters is whether or not the price paid for loss of sovereignty outweighs the gains in other areas.

  3. thames

    Eh?

    El Reg - "commentators took incomplete text and fretted that the TPP would still override Canadian law. In the end, the final text shows that it doesn't."

    The reason the final text says it doesn't is because when the public pointed this out, the treaty was changed. There are expected to be many more such problems which will only be discovered later. This is the problem with negotiating these things in secret. The people who have the relevant expertise are not consulted, and so huge mistakes are made. The original clause as it was written would not have stood up to constitutional challenge in Canada, and the same is likely true for many other countries as well.

    El Reg - 'But, desperate to find something wrong with it, it has been conflated to the fear that your personal data "may be put at risk."'

    The federal government in Canada has neither the legal nor the constitutional authority to negotiate this, these powers largely reside in the provinces. If the provinces say "no", then that treaty provision is meaningless. The provinces were not consulted, and they therefore have no obligation to agree to anything.

    El Reg - "The Canadian government is also being sued by energy company Lone Pine Resources because it banned fracking as a way to protect its water. "

    The Canadian government did not ban fracking. Fracking is currently happening in Canada. However, again, that is a provincial matter. Some provinces allow it, and some don't. The federal government has zero say in the matter. Lone Pine is exactly the sort of example that undermines your argument. It's a Canadian company that re-incorporated in the US in Delaware - a state noted for its corrupt civil legal system - to attempt to win in trade "arbitration" what they couldn't win in a proper court. If your ideal of justice is "crony capitalism" as practised in Russia, Nigeria, and China, well then I guess this just your cup of tea. I would rather have democracy and honest and trustworthy courts.

    However, we just had an election here in Canada. The new party in power did not take part in these negotiations, and indeed the previous government had very questionable legal or constitutional authority to finalise those matters which took place on the past few months while there was an election campaign under way. The new government has said they are under no obligation to accept the treaty as is and they are expressing no opinions on it until they've had a chance to have a good look at it. If the treaty had been negotiated openly, it would be on much firmer legal and constitutional ground.

    I could go on to point out loads of other holes in the story, but the above provides a few good examples. Things are not all wonderful and clear, and the treaty could yet fall or countries could drop out, or it could be subject to major re-negotiation once people have had a chance to actually look at it.

    The entire process was badly, and corruptly managed, with certain private parties with financial interests in the outcome being provided access and input, while others were denied the same. All the spin from the PR companies in the world are not going to change that one bit.

    1. raving angry loony

      Re: Eh?

      Wot 'e said, guv.

      I'd also like to note that El Reg writes "Overall, it's a good deal."

      Completely and utter bullocks. It's 2000 pages of dense legal prose that's going to take people months to decipher, ESPECIALLY since it was negotiated in secret by special interests. We have NO idea if it's a good deal, a bad deal, or something in between for ANY of the countries involved. To confidently state "Overall, it's a good deal." means the author is just another fucking corporate shill, or a journalist without a single clue (or any idea of the term "investigate").

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Eh?

        I'd also like to note that El Reg writes "Overall, it's a good deal."

        Completely and utter bullocks. It's 2000 pages of dense legal prose that's going to take people months to decipher, ESPECIALLY since it was negotiated in secret by special interests. We have NO idea if it's a good deal, a bad deal, or something in between for ANY of the countries involved.

        I've been crawling over this 12 hours a day since it came out, and it's way the fuck worse than we (people who give fucks about civil liberties) originally thought. And it's doubleplus bad for Canada. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but my analysis of this directly contradicts those who believe that "overall, it's a good deal".

        Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go be violently ill.

    2. Thought About IT

      Re: Eh?

      There's nothing to preclude fossil fuel companies from using ISDS to challenge a government’s ability to ban or limit energy extraction as a way of addressing climate change and other ecological risks, although there is a special opt out for countries that don't want to be sued by tobacco companies - which led the way in developing the propaganda techniques used by the fossil fuel companies. The fact that the TPP authors think that the default option of a country allowing itself to be sued by a tobacco company is OK reveals much about what they've been up to.

      The provisions allowing drug makers to avoid competition from generic drugs, even after the original patent expires, can only make medicines more expensive.

      Ludicrously, it contains a separate agreement with Vietnam that would create a right to unionize and go on strike in the country for the first time, and the U.S. could withhold trade privileges if the accord is not implemented after five years. That from a country which effectively destroyed its own right to unionize!

      There's sure to be more nasties hidden in that woodwork to be revealed, now that it's been made public.

    3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Eh?

      "This is the problem with negotiating these things in secret. The people who have the relevant expertise are not consulted, and so huge mistakes are made."

      Even better. If any ambiguities in the treaty are disputed in the arbitration, or court, then it is permissible to consult previous versions of the text to find out the original intent of it, or in other words, "the spirit of the law". Secret versions, natch.

      Thus, discarded parts of the treaty may still have some influence in later decisions. And that's the other problem with treaties and laws developed in secret.

    4. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Eh?

      Canadians, it's up to you. Please, don't fuck it up!

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A trade deal with multiple parties should be full of trade-offs. The catch is, this hasn't been seen until now nor digested. No one but the negotiators really know what it means for the countries involved. Right now, I'd say be suspicious... and very cautious about touting this until it's been thoroughly examined. I'm sure that every country has their best interest at heart and if they don't get what they wanted, they shouldn't allow it to be signed.

    There are bullies in this world.. The US is one of the more prominent ones. As a US citizen, I hope this agreement isn't totally one-sided. If it is, the other parties involved should damn well not sign it.

    1. 404 Silver badge
      Devil

      'The most transparent administration in American History'...

    2. Tom 13

      @Mark 85

      The only question you really need to ask in the US is: If this trade agreement is so good for us, why did you have to pass a law that overturns the Constitution in order to pass it?

      I expect there are similar questions for other countries. If this was really such a great deal, it wouldn't be secret and it wouldn't be 2,000/5,500 pages long depending on whose number is correct.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: @Mark 85

        While I agree, asking the "most transparent president" for an answer will be futile in the least.

        As for the answer about overturning the Constitution, just look to what's been happening over the last 30 years or so. The Constitution has definitely been mangled.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: @Mark 85

          The Constitution has been trashed.

          Literally. As in "thrown out to the curb."

          People keep thinking they have rights. They don't.

          The US has become the very thing they fought a revolution to stop.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Source code

    No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software.

    It depends what a Party is but I think that's entirely reasonable for power stations, vehicles, or governments. Does this mean that can't happen any more?

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Source code

      Future America: "Ok, following a certain scandal, we're going to require government review of the source code for any new model of internal combustion engine for automotive application."

      Future VW: "Under the TPP, you cannot require access to the source code. We'll just hold on to that, it's commercially important."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Source code

        condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software.

        VW wouldn't come under this as it would be under illegal practices not the above. Neither would open source as it's not a condition but offered freely.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Source code

      It seems to mean that if you do want to have access to the source code then you need to go with FOSS software.

      Agreements where the source code is placed in escrow, in case the supplier goes bust, would seem to be prohibited by this statement, even if the supplier is happy to do so.

      Maybe it should have said, "You don't have to give your source code unless you want to."

      1. Vic

        Re: Source code

        It seems to mean that if you do want to have access to the source code then you need to go with FOSS software.

        Well, the text of this agreement means GPL code cannot be distributed :-

        No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software.

        The GPL requires transfer of source code as a condition of distribution. So unless you own *all* the code in your product, you can't distribute under GPL. And if you do own all the code, anyone to whom you transfer your code may not redistribute it.

        So much for this just being a benign tidy-up of the law...

        Vic.

    3. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Source code

      It depends what a Party is but I think that's entirely reasonable for power stations, vehicles, or governments. Does this mean that can't happen any more?

      No, the next paragraph deals with that:

      For the purposes of this Article, software subject to paragraph 1 is limited to mass market software or products containing such software and does not include software used for critical infrastructure.

      However: I do see that as an attack on the GPL of which a really important part is the availability of source code. Part of the trouble with a document like this is that there are some stark paragraphs that do not contain anything by way of real explanation or motivation. This makes it really hard to see the (intended) implications until it is too late.

      1. SolidSquid

        Re: Source code

        What it applies to will depend on what is considered under TPP as "critical infrastructure" and "mass market". If someone provides a piece of monitoring software for power plants which is available for purchase by anyone who wants it, rather than bespoke for a specific client, does that count as being mass market? This would probably be considered covered by critical infrastructure, but I could see cases where lawyers could leverage it to cover things which you would expect to be classed as "critical infrastructure" but technically aren't under the TPP definition

      2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: Source code @ Alain Williams

        "Part of the trouble with a document like this is that there are some stark paragraphs that do not contain anything by way of real explanation or motivation. This makes it really hard to see the (intended) implications until it is too late."

        And it is impossible to say what the implications are, even by the drafters. Lawyers are paid to get the best deal for their clients, and they will use everything available to them to do this. One of those ways is to look at the wording and find new interpretations (as a law lecturer, I love doing this, and so do the students!) It is then down to whatever arbitrator is involved to decide which interpretation carries the day. The point is, this means that even the best drafted document has room for movement because those creating it could not think of every situation in which it would apply, and so the need for interpretation of even the simplest clause can arise in real life.

        This doesn't mean to say that I think documents shouldn't be well-drafted - they should always be clear and provide as much certainty as possible - but real life will always challenge even the best agreement. The more parties there are, the more challenges will arise.

        1. DanceMan

          Re: Source code @ Intractable Potsherd

          Precisely what you wrote.

          Following labour contract negotiations for a component of Expo 86, some of us were so impressed by the negotiator we were dealing with that we subsequently took a negotiation course from his partner. One thing they told us was not to write new contract language, but to use existing clauses that had been arbitrated. They said you cannot predict how it will be interpreted until a court has ruled on it.

          It's something to keep in mind in light of this debate over source code, particularly for those assuring us the TPP is benign.

      3. Tom 13

        @alain williams

        I wasn't aware that a car was critical infrastructure, so it would apply to VW.

        Bad provision. But that's the sort of crap that happens in smoke filled rooms.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Source code

      I'm disappointed by people's inability to read legal documents properly.

      The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer cannot demand to see the source code for an executable as a precondition of importing/purchasing the product. This is aimed at protecting valuable know-how etc in code. I am sure most of Silicon Valley lobbied for this.

      It says nothing about open source whatsoever. If you *want* to circulate open source code, then nothing in this text prevents you. All it says is that a customer cannot compel you to do so if you *don't* want to as part of a commercial agreement.

      It also says nothing that prevents a review of code in a VW style criminal investigation.

      It really does help to understand what you are complaining about, even if that does take most of the fun out of it.

      1. Zolko

        Re: Source code

        "The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer cannot demand to see the source code for an executable as a precondition of importing/purchasing the product."

        No, the term basically means that if an administration or company asks for a global offering for an office suite or operating system, they cannot put in as precondition that the software must be open-source. For example, if the UK government wants to replace all MS-Office installs in all offices with something new, they cannot require open-source products. Or schools.

        This is specifically an anti-Linux or anti-OpenOffice or anti-MySQL term.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Source code

          Rather than excluding Open Source it is more like:-

          A Govt Dept: Hey MS, we think your Win10 may have a backdoor, and we won't buy it until you let us look at the source code.

          Microsoft: You agreed to buy it. TPP says we don't have to show you the source anymore. Pony up.

          1. Tom 13

            @ hplasm

            I'd say it does both. It makes it illegal for the UK to request it. And it lets MS do exactly as your hypothetical proposes.

            I find both possibilities exceedingly offensive.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ hplasm

              Much worse than simply 'offensive'.

              Without source code there is no way to detect spyware. Anybody wishing to use software, of any sort, for an important, secure application, should only use open source software. That's a minimum requirement.

              It isn't necessarily a sufficient requirement, of course, even with the source code you may not find the malware and trapdoors.

        2. teebie

          Re: Source code

          "The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer "

          Are the parties necessarily powerful? (genuine question)

          I read the term as saying (in part) that a party can't say "I will only use this if you give me the source code". The corollary being if you enter a contract with a clause requiring access to the source code (e.g. paying for 10 years of maintenance on the condition you have the option to take over maintenance afterward, or an escrow arrangement in case the seller goes bust), then that clause can't be legally enforced.

          The fact that there are so many different interpretations of the term here says something bad about either it or us commentards

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Source code

        Maybe VW does have to cough up the source code in a criminal investigation but perhaps govt testing agencies will have trouble asking for it as part of their testing regime before allowing sales in the country.

        And after the VW scandal that's absolutely what they should be bringing in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Source code

          If you think that the lying cheating engineers and management at VW and Bosch deserve some kind of protection under some law that allows them to continue lying and cheating, you are sadly mistaken.

          What they should get is to have their "software" ripped to pieces by rabid weasels. EVERYTIME they try to bring another vehicle into this country.

          Too many paranoid idiots here that think this uproar is some way to get back at VW for some reason rather than catching the people rigging the emission tests so they could sell their products as meeting our regulations.

          Lying cheaters, the lot of them. As part of any settlement we should make it clear that they will have to be tested twice as often as any other manufacturer and meet a lower ppm NOx level than they do.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Source code

        "It says nothing about open source whatsoever. If you *want* to circulate open source code, then nothing in this text prevents you."

        I thought that at first. After a few seconds consideration I'm not so sure. The principle of the GPL is that if you distribute an executable you must provide the source. There have been a few instances of companies building products around GPLed code, modifying it & then distributing binaries without source. Although it doesn't stop you circulating code if you want to it seems to give a hiding place for companies who don't want to but should under the terms of the licence.

        1. Tom 13

          @Doctor Syntax

          I'd concur that it doesn't prevent trying to distribute use GPL or GPL like OSS code and I think you are correct that it might make it more difficult to find and prosecute GPL violations.

          But those aren't the only way to undermine GPL. While I'd rather like for MS to be able to compete on an even basis for say an HHS contract, I must yield the point that it OUGHT to be within HHS's purview to require a GPL style license for the code. And frankly, any government agency buying critical software from a small company OUGHT to be able to demand an escrow account arrangement in case of bankruptcy or software abandonment. That seems to be precluded as well.

      4. Tom 13

        Re: Source code

        I'm deeply disappointed in your inability to consider positions other than your own.

        I'm reasonably sure the people arguing for that paragraph were Silicon Valley and that's what they thought they were getting.

        It isn't.

        And yes, even though I don't think it was intended to be anti-OSS the paragraph can quite clearly be used to invalidate requirements that the purchasing party can see the source code.

        And no, I see nothing there to prevent VW from saying their code is protected under the treaty. In fact, if I were their lawyers, I'd probably be looking pretty hard at that right now. It might just save the company from bankruptcy.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Source code

          "In fact, if I were their lawyers, I'd probably be looking pretty hard at that right now. It might just save the company from bankruptcy."

          I was under the impression the TPP had something to do with the Pacific, not the Atlantic.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Source code

            Why would the TTIP be substantially different from the TTP if both are about America writing the rules of the road? The US can now say to the EU that other half of the road^Wworld does it this way.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Source code

              "The US can now say to the EU that other half of the road^Wworld does it this way."

              We like to be contrary here in the UK. That's why we drive on the other side of the road!

      5. Vic

        Re: Source code

        I'm disappointed by people's inability to read legal documents properly.

        Errr - yes.

        The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer cannot demand to see the source code for an executable as a precondition of importing/purchasing the product.

        That might - or might not - have been the intention. But intentions don't matter; what matters is the wording of the treaty. And that goes quite some way beyond what you've written above.

        It says nothing about open source whatsoever

        It says "No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software."

        GPL software is invariably "owned by a person of another Party", and so - by this wording - "No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code" "as a condition for ... distribution". That means that it becomes unlawful to distribute under GPL, sinnce the licence cannot be satisfied whilst adhering to this treaty.

        One can only hope that this is an accidental by-product of some clumsy wording which will be sorted out in short order.

        Vic.

        1. Ben Liddicott

          Re: Source code

          No. Parties are governments. Persons of parties are individuals or companies. So this says:

          No government shall require .. source code owned by an individual or government, as a condition of import, sale, use or distribution.

          It just means they can't refuse to allow it to be sold, they can't refuse to allow it to be imported, distributed or used. It doesn't mean they can't make it a condition of buying it themselves. Nor does it mean that vendors can't make it a condition of selling it.

          So governments can mandate open source for their own internal use. Companies and individuals can mandate open source for their own use, and enforce open source licences. But governments cannot mandate open source for companies or individuals in their country, except for critical infrastructure.

          It doesn't ban open source. it prevents governments from banning non-open-source.

          1. Vic

            Re: Source code

            No government shall require .. source code owned by an individual or government, as a condition of import, sale, use or distribution.

            That still prevents government redistribution of GPL code. And that is unnecessary.

            It doesn't mean they can't make it a condition of buying it themselves.

            It absolutely does mean that. It might not have meant ot mean that, but it does anyway.

            It doesn't ban open source. it prevents governments from banning non-open-source.

            That is not the case, even if it were the original intention.

            Vic.

      6. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Source code

        The term basically means that you as a (powerful, e.g. state) customer cannot demand to see the source code for an executable as a precondition of importing/purchasing the product. This is aimed at protecting valuable know-how etc in code.

        No, the obligation is to each Party, i.e. each country that signs up. Nothing prevents a customer demanding source as a condition of sale, even if the potential customer is the state itself - sale is covered but not purchase. The net effect is that signatory countries can't simply say "OK if you want to sell that in our market you need to give us the source.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Source code

          ... which brings us back to VW... Countries will not be able to demand the source to the engine management software as part of the pre-sales certification process.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what i would want to know

    Is, if I were an Australian widget maker, does the treaty make it simpler for me to export and sell my widgets in Canada?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: what i would want to know

      Answer:

      Only if said widgets are sent to the USA (Say some tiny port in LA) and then trucked to Canada. Can't have those Teamster Union jobs going 'north' or 'south'....

      The real answer is no it won't, It will benfit the American maker of those widgets.

      This whole treaty is for the sole benefit of US Corps (Especially the mega corps and hollywood).

      This is just a foretaste of what is to come with the TTIP.

      I forsee a big push by the Anti-EU mob (US Megacorps) to get little old blighty out of the EU so that we will be the US bridgehead in their takeover attempt for Europe. Sounds familar? WW2 perhaps?

      Personally I hope the EU Court has the balls to nullify it outright but my plot of land on an island in the Indian Oveal suddenly looks mightily inviting.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It all depends on which direction that you are coming from.

    "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century."

    Theres the first problem right there

  8. LaeMing Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Where we're going, we don't need roads!

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Where we're going, we don't need roads!

      Just a handbasket...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet the Eu deal has similar language

    the fact that signatories must allow for the cross-border sharing of data in electronic form is in all likelihood a good thing.

    Well, the EU (as per ECJ opinion) begs to differ. I suspect this will shortly run into local privacy legislation in some of the pacific countries too, resulting to a legal challenge to the deal.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Well, the EU (as per ECJ opinion) begs to differ.

      I'm not sure how the EU charter is drawn up, but that ECJ opinion might be moot if the Treaty is adopted.

      Here in the US, once a treaty is signed by the President and adopted by the Senate, it is the Law of the Land and subordinate ONLY to the Constitution (and even that is questionable, some claim it becomes incorporated into the Constitution). So all those local regs are just some much bulldozer fodder. And if the treaty is incorporated, it could invalidate the protections as that was an interpretation which has now been superseded by the treaty.

      1. Uffish

        Re: Here in the US

        Well, here in the EU we shall no doubt be looking at how the TPP cookie crumbles before signing a possible EU - US Trade pact.

  10. drexciya
    Thumb Down

    Another site disagrees

    Well, given all the legalese and other texts that have been made intentionally unreadable by lawyers and their ilk, I'll check some other sides for their view. The following site doesn't seem to agree at all with The Register's interpretation; http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/11/full-text-of-tpp-including-annexes-and-boy-is-it-nasty.html

    Some of the highlights:

    Access to medicines will be rolled back.

    Environmental treaties of the past years will effectively be rolled back.

    Privacy concerns.

    More scope for ISDS lawsuits.

    Restrictions on food safety laws and regulations.

    Now tell me how this is just a trade treaty and this is somehow good for the world?

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: Another site disagrees

      Worth mentioning that the review wasn't done by Naked Capitalism, but rather they've based their article on a press release by Public Citizen, who actually have lawyers on staff who deal with this kind of thing and would be better placed to review it than journalists generally would

      1. drexciya

        Re: Another site disagrees

        Correct, and it's a testament to them that they manage to get out a comprehensive review of the papers in such a short period.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: comprehensive review of the papers in such a short period.

          I wouldn't count on that. I expect they've had copies of the relevant portions for a while. So they probably had time to write the review but kept it embargoed until it the TPP text was released.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Another site disagrees

      I often get the feeling that this particular Reg author gets a second paycheck from The Big 0 whenever he writes a column.

  11. alain williams Silver badge

    7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

    What is the rush ? If it took so long to agree the final version why so short a time for everyone else to come up to speed? Obama is giving reviewers 1/43 of the time that it took to cook this up. What is he hoping that we will not notice ?

    Oh, note that 60 days includes time off for Xmas; so in reality less time than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

      "Oh, note that 60 days includes time off for Xmas; so in reality less time than that."

      It better not include time off for Xmas, that's discrimination in favour of one particular sky fairy over others ....

    2. Tom 13

      Re: 7 years of negotiations, 60 days to review

      Not just Christmas, Thanksgiving too. Most of us 'Merkins treat Thanksgiving as a 4 day holiday and that's the working class. Govies tend to have the whole week off, and the politicians even more.

      Another consideration, govies tend to have "use or lose" time accumulated at the end of the year. So it isn't uncommon for some of them make the last Friday before Thanksgiving their last work day for the year.

  12. Martin 47

    Cos all those pitchforks you bought will go to waste

    I don't think so

  13. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Too many secrets

    So we shouldn't be afraid of TTIP because it's going to be a good deal for Britain?

    No offence to El Reg, but I'd rather have someone with a solid knowledge of international law and economics read and summarize this for me.

    On a related note, any bets whether Tim's next piece will be about this?

  14. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

    Tim doesn't write for El Reg any more (he was "let go" a couple of weeks ago). However, he will no doubt have some comments on his blog: http://www.timworstall.com/.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      That somehow slipped by me completely... thanks for the info!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Joke

      "Tim doesn't write for El Reg any more (he was "let go" a couple of weeks ago). However, he will no doubt have some comments on his blog: http://www.timworstall.com/."

      I suspect Tim will tell it like it is. This article smells a bit of "puff piece". And Tim was "let go" just weeks before. Coincidence? I'm investing in tinfoil!!!

      Icon because...well, someone is bound to think I was serious. Probably the same one who won't read this far.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was Tim the anarcho-capitalist one?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Aren't they all?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        I'm left libertarian, so I'm a social democrat with a strong belief in civil liberties and a massive distaste for authoritarianism, rather than anarcho-capitalist. For whatever little that is worth.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TPP and TIPP

    Just america forcing what it wants and its laws and requirements on the rest of the world.

    1. Tom 13
      Flame

      Re: TPP and TIPP

      We don't want this $hite sandwhich any more than you do.

  17. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    'From a purely US perspective, the best pitch for the deal comes from President Obama who summed it up thus: "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century.'

    From a US perspective it might sound like a pitch. From everyone else's it just sounds like pitch.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Well, I think Kissinger once said something along the lines of 'nations don't have friends, nations have interests'.

      1. Tom 13

        @allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        I sure hope you're one of my uneducated brethren giving inadvertent offense to our British friends. Because if you're Brit you need to be deported post haste for making such a hash of one of the more famous quotes of Lord Palmerston.

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: @allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          This quote ?

          "I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow"

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "so you may want to wait for others to provide summaries."

    Yes, cos your's is shite.

    1. silent_count

      Re: "so you may want to wait for others to provide summaries."

      Charming. So when can we expect to read yours AC?

  19. Green Nigel 42
    Big Brother

    TPP Point

    Read your review, so apart from Foriegn Corporations being able to run rough shot over Sovereignty and democratically arrived at environmental, safety standards, food standards, gradually force nationalised strategic services such as health care into a privatisation, energy policies that prevent unpopular power generation being built, such as nuclear and so on, the TPP looks like nothing to be upset about, can't wait for TIPP

    Right off to the hardware shop, " I want four candles please".

  20. cortland

    No Party Shall Require?

    WRT "No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software" then, if it means what it says, it prevents looking at the source code to detect (for example) BIOS malware, backdoors and other interesting stuff.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: No Party Shall Require?

      I read that as meaning the state cannot make it a requirement (and so block its use?) not that individuals can't.

      1. Tom 13

        @graeme leggett

        That so many people can read it so many different ways is the worst damnation for the paragraph.

        The worst part is, I expect all attempts to clarify this paragraph in an acceptable manner will be akin to nailing jello to the wall.

      2. Vic

        Re: No Party Shall Require?

        I read that as meaning the state cannot make it a requirement (and so block its use?) not that individuals can't.

        Generally speaking, if the lawyers have used a particular word, they have a reason for it. They could have said "state". They said "party"...

        Vic.

        1. graeme leggett

          Re: No Party Shall Require?

          A signatory to a treaty is the 'party' to it. (though I've seen the phrase "contracting power" used in the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the Treaty of Rome uses "High contracting parties")

          As the parties to this treaty are states, the meaning is close enough for general discussion.

          1. Vic

            Re: No Party Shall Require?

            the meaning is close enough for general discussion.

            When it comes to legal disputes, that sort of thinking is always problematic.

            When there is a *trivial* phrasing that removes all doubt, and another that involves any amount of ambiguity, why would someone specifically trained in contract law choose the more ambiguous?

            Vic.

  21. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Even Fox News is better than this drivel

    It is about time that Kieren McCarthy went back to one of the very right wing US "think tanks" (or kindergarten!!)

    Given that this is a 2000 page document - the only analysis that could have been done at this point is one done by the drafters who - to put it mildly - have a vested interest. This Reg article is obviously a rework of a bit of PR spin from the drafters. I would not expect to see a serious analysis in less than a week.

    As has been pointed out by another commentator, this treaty would make it illegal for a country to demand (for example) access to Microsoft source code (for the purpose of finding NSA backdoors) before allowing it to be sold. It would also make many medicines much more expensive than they should be once they come out of patent protection.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: one of the very right wing US "think tanks"

      you need to put down the water pipe filled with stuff that isn't legal in Amsterdam. Kieren would NEVER find employment at a RIGHTWING think tank. The HuffPuffer or Daily Kool-Aid drinkers perhaps.

  22. Zolko

    Simplifying ?

    "The deal is long and complex: it stretches to 2,000 pages and is written in largely technical and legal language, making quick analysis difficult."

    directly contradicts:

    "It's about simplifying trade rules between countries."

    1. The First Dave

      Re: Simplifying ?

      Have you seen/counted the pages that it over-rides?

  23. Zolko

    Intellectual Property

    "That said, if you do want to dig in, we would point you to the sections on Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property."

    so I did, to find that:

    "Keeping Generic Terms Available For U.S. Producers: The chapter helps address the potential for inappropriately “overprotecting” geographical indications in ways that shut out U.S. agricultural and food producers"

    so for example Hungary would not be able to protect "Tokai" wine - from the region of Tokai - because some US wine producer deams that too geographical overprotection, or France to protect "Champagne" or "Camambert" because they're generic terms for sparkling wine and smelly cheese. This paragraph is especially ridiculous wen thinking about "Windows" for a windowing system. Or rounded corners for a phone.

    And you want the pitch-forks to be put away ? This treaty is as bad as people have thought it would be.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Intellectual Property

      Those three examples of geographical names are European. That'll be in a different treaty.

    2. Green Nigel 42
      Big Brother

      Re: Intellectual Property

      It will also be classed as protectionism if a nation has specific regulations in place that prohibited genetically modified foods from being sold for human consumption. Of course these tend to be (but not always) from US and usually protected severely by patent & price for use cheap until the competition has been undercut & hosepiped away.

      I

  24. teebie

    "There have been a number of lawsuits"

    The article list costs to the Canadian government of at least $138million (+legal costs) without giving any indication that they have done anything wrong. If we aren't supposed to see this as a bad thing the author really should be explaining why.

  25. silent_count

    60 Days to Read the TPP

    As You Like It

    Julius Ceasar

    King Lear

    Macbeth

    The Merchant of Venice

    A Midsummer Nights Dream

    Much Ado About Nothing

    Othello

    Romeo and Juliet

    The Taming of the Shrew

    The Tempest

    If you printed out all of the above plays, at 250 words per page, you'd have a stack of almost 2,000 pages. If you had 60 days, and nothing else to occupy your time, you could read through that much text (a mere 33 pages per day).

    But if any politician says they've read through it in that time frame, and understood it all, and carefully considered the pros and cons for their constituents, and actually done their job too... yeah, they're lying.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: 60 Days to Read the TPP

      You do know the old joke about how you know when a politician is lying right?

      A: His/Her lips move.

  26. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    My perspective.

    Stephane Dion et Chrystia Freeland will present an interesting challenge to getting this tapped here in Canada. I certainly hope Dion gets a crack at it right off - and I suspect he'll be all over it - he's had the chance to manage intergovernmental relations in previous liberal governments. Including M. Chretien's "hell no we wont go" session. So -- he'll be perfectly capable of getting the provinces up to speed.

    Considering that Nestle has been quietly (and in two cases not so quietly) scheduling shutdown operations up here, Keystone XL is being dropped like a rotting potato by TCPL, and two of the larger investors in the "Sands" are planning to lay off, shut down and walk .... I have to wonder if its JUST the economy or Justin.

    I've not had a chance to read the published version and it will take me quite some time to read most of it - I'll be starting with the bits relevant to IT/Data/Information/Copyright - but since I've been such a vehement NO on the idea to start with I *have an obligation* to bring myself up to speed. I can, however, from the two quick bits I've read tell one and all that Kieren's article is utter meadow muffin, and has all the appearance of a two page spin doctor spasm.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    anonymous coward and bad english here, but

    "No Party shall require"

    translates to

    "No Party will be forced by law to require"

    while

    "No Party can require"

    like

    "Party shall not require"

    translates to

    "No Party will be able by law to require"

    begging your pardon in advance (BYPIA)

    1. Vic

      "No Party shall require"

      translates to

      "No Party will be forced by law to require"

      No it doesn't.

      It translates to "all parties are legally prohibited from requiring".

      I have a problem with this.

      Vic.

  28. zerowaitstate

    Provision against source code requirements

    Why is this not an attack on open-source licenses like GPL? The sentence plainly states that GPL licenses aren't legal. The author of the article said that interpretation is nonsense, but doesn't explain why. A plain reading of the sentence says that, unless it has been lifted out of context.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Provision against source code requirements

      "The author of the article said that interpretation is nonsense, but doesn't explain why."

      Because that's the way most garbage legislation or used cars are sold. Be dismissive. Pay no attention to the concerns of the customer*. Change the subject.

      I don't know if this particular clause is good, bad or indifferent for FOSS/GPL. People far wiser than me (the EFF, for example) have smart lawyers who can read this stuff and figure it out in the context of existing law and the overall agreement. But the questions need to be asked and the tires kicked.

      *The public, in the case of the TPP, is not the customer. This is an agreement between the major stakeholders like governments and IP owners. We are just going to be stuck going along for the ride, breathing exhaust in the back seat of this jalopy (obligatory bad car analogy).

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great reporting by El Reg agai (not)

    > Likewise Wikileaks has taken a section on source code that says the following:

    >

    > No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale, or use of such software.

    >

    > And decided that it represents a "major attack on open-source with this NSA-friendly anti-open source provision." Which is of course utter nonsense.

    It's the logical result of the text.

    See what I did? I stated a conclusion and gave no supporting argument to justify it. Clearly I am suitably qualified to be a reporter on El Reg. Can I have a job, please?

    1. teebie

      Re: Great reporting by El Reg agai (not)

      Brilliant

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great reporting by El Reg agai (not)

      " I stated a conclusion and gave no supporting argument to justify it. Clearly I am suitably qualified to be a reporter on El Reg. Can I have a job, please?"

      Are you willing to undergo a lobotomy?

  30. John Savard Silver badge

    Attack on Open-Source?

    I would have thought that this section of the TPP - not allowing countries to require access to source before imported software could be sold - was intended to ensure that no countries could follow the example of China in requiring access to the source of Windows before allowing it to be sold there.

    However, allowing personal data to cross borders is an attack on privacy as long as this includes data on European individuals being held on U.S. computers - until such time as U.S. companies are able, with full legal immunity, to refuse to hand over data on European nationals to the FBI, the NSA, the Department of Justice, or any one else if it would be in violation of an agreement to safeguard the privacy of European nationals as per the Safe Harbor agreement.

    I mean, now, European countries didn't pass privacy laws for the fun of it; they passed those laws so that actually and in fact personal data on European citizens would not be used in ways contrary to those laws.

  31. Blitheringeejit
    Pint

    Correction

    "...if America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will. And that would only threaten American _lawyers'_ jobs..."

    FTFY Mr POTUS

    Pints on me for all the commentards holding El Reg to account!

  32. AJames

    Downloading legal in Canada? You must mean the other Canada, because it's not legal in this one.

    "There is no requirement to take the material down, since Canadian law says that it is only illegal to upload, and not download, copyrighted material."

    Good grief, please take the time to check statements like this for accuracy before publishing them

    Copyright law says the same thing in Canada that it says everywhere else. It's illegal to make a copy of any copyrighted material without permission of the copyright holder, except in specifically designated "fair use" circumstances.

    You are probably misinterpreting two things:

    1. It's much more difficult to catch those downloading illegal copies from the internet because their IP address is not publicly visible the way it is when uploading or torrenting, so copyright enforcers are currently going for the low-hanging fruit. That doesn't mean that anyone should think downloading an unauthorized copy is legal. Try admitting to it publicly and see what happens.

    2. It's currently a legal grey area to be determined by the courts in some future case as to whether viewing a stream without making a local copy is equivalent to "making a copy" in copyright law. There are arguments both ways.

    1. Alistair Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Downloading legal in Canada? You must mean the other Canada, because it's not legal in this one.

      while it isn't "legal" for someone to download copyrighted material in Canada, the supreme court took a *very* interesting stand on the issue when it was presented to the court.

      Rights Holders are allowed to send your ISP a notification. The ISP is as of yet under no obligation to hand over the identity of the account holder to the rights holder. The ISP is responsible for sending the alleged violator a notification. But aren't required to enforce or follow up on said notification.

      A) privacy.

      B) IP != ID

      C) rights holders using 3rd party legal entities to pursue vague violations.

      D) honey traps

      All of these perspectives were considered by the court. The result is that - effectively - rights holders really aren't likely to get much traction on 'downloader' violations up here. The courts were especially critical due to the fact that we have not one, but three rights holders bonus taxes on various media up here. Until the rights holder communities decide that they are willing to *loose* the income from those taxes they will very likely *not* challenge the limitations of the current law.

      To be honest, considering the folks I know, they don't seem to be too bothered about pursuing the hosters either.

      1. AJames

        Re: Downloading legal in Canada? You must mean the other Canada, because it's not legal in this one.

        You are referring to the so-called "notice and notice" system introduced by the Canadian government's recent Copyright Modernization Act. ISPs are required to forward copyright violation notices to customers who are identified only by an IP address. They are further required to keep the customer IP address assignment on file for at least 6 months. If the copyright complainant chooses to launch a lawsuit, the ISP is required to turn over their customer's identity in response to a court order. As always, it's up to the courts to decide guilt or innocence and set the damages within the range allowed by the law. As nobody has yet been sued for downloading, it may be a long time before any of the legal issues surrounding it are decided in a court of law. Currently copyright enforcers have sued only torrenters, since their IP address is known and they can be shown to be distributing copyrighted material by participating in the torrent. As I said, low-hanging fruit.

        Perhaps you'd care to point to France as a model of enforcing copyright on the internet via a government agency? Here are the numbers from France in their first 5 years of enforcement:

        37,000,000 complaints received by the agency (they say they only have resources to look at about half of them)

        5,400,000 first warning notices issued

        504,000 second warning notices issued

        2900 third strike notices issued

        2336 referred for investigation

        400 referred for prosecution (only the most serious repeat offenders)

        The fine can range up to 1500 euros, but so far the maximum fine issued has been 500 euros to a few who failed to respond to the prosecution notice. The highest fine issued to those who admitted guilt for repeat uploading was 300 euros.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is it good for? WAR!

    "But it will simplify things, and that is, in the end, a good thing"

    Its a good thing if you're an American corporation wanting to expand your sales of additive-laden foods in the European market.

    Its a bad thing if you're a European citizen who is currently protected from products full of additives.

    1. Dan Paul

      Re: What is it good for? WAR!

      Somehow, I don't think you need to worry except about your paranoid behavior.

      Why don't you try reading the frigging label before you buy something.

      But hey, if you want to go to war because you are too ignorant to read the contents, then feel free moron.

      BTW, THIS treaty has NOTHING to do with Europe. You're just barking mad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is it good for? WAR!

        > THIS treaty has NOTHING to do with Europe.

        True. TTIP will be even worse. Not only will the UK bow before their USA masters, but the rest of the EU too.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: What is it good for? WAR!

        "Why don't you try reading the frigging label before you buy something."

        Because in the US there are laws preventing end users from finding out what is in some food and drink. These laws are now being exported.

    2. Col_Panek

      Re: What is it good for? WAR!

      You don't have to eat that shit. I don't.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: What is it good for? WAR!

        How do you know what you are eating if it isn't listed on the label? Are you clairvoyant? Do you mine jake's hypothetical garden before disappearing for noon tea with him in his mahogany helicopter so you can piss on mere mortals from on high?

        Remove head from sphincter, then post.

  34. matchbx
    Thumb Down

    won't convince me otherwise

    Anytime people of privilege, wealth and power negotiate anything in secret it is never about anything but more privilege, more wealth, more power and control over others.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: won't convince me otherwise

      Exactly. I see someone knows their history.

  35. Tom 13

    Somebody might want to get their basic facts correct before reporting what a good deal this is

    the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, is calling for the immediate destruction of the 5,554-page Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trans-global trade deal introduced on Thursday.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/11/05/jeff-sessions-kill-the-anti-democratic-trans-pacific-partnership-in-the-crib-repeal-fast-track-authority-now/

  36. Ralf Barnett

    TPP, TTIP, Danger! it makes no difference It's crafted to make the rich even richer

    As one of the 200,000+ at the TTIP Demo in Berlin who listend to the American and Canadian speakers among many others denouncing these trade agreements as only giving the multi national companies more power than our so called democratically elected governments. I needed to research further and found American economist and Professor called Joseph Stiglitz basically saying the same thing. Naomi Klein a Canadian writer, published a book and has also released a documentary film with the same title called "This Changes Everything". In these productions she shows how our big industries have no loyalties to anyone or anything, neither boundaries, Governments, Indigenous peoples or the Environment, only to making profit.

    If thinking logically and not being side tracked, it stands to reason that as these agreements are being compiled by big businesses from all the involved countries, and knowing that they are only driven to make profit at any costs, does anyone seriously think that they will care about anything other than maximising their bottom line. Their goals will be to divide the pie up nicely between themselves and ensuring even more control over governments and populations.

    The losers will be of course the so called normal people in all of the countries involved who have no other choice but to rely on their elected Governments to protect them. They will either lose their work, have to work for less money and worse working conditions, and/or have to pay more taxes.

    Add to this that when a company sues for "loss of profits" whether caused by Environmental legislation, work standards, or anything else that gets in the way, the process will not be held in a court of law but in a special hearing presided over by none other than "representatives of other companies". If that is the case then our children are in for a very, very, nasty time.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: TPP, TTIP, Danger! it makes no difference It's crafted to make the rich even richer

      There's an old manifesto/slogan about "one world, one government" that was resisted by a lot of people. It would seem the corporates have turned it into "one world, one hell of a lot of profit". Eventually, they will probably get their way and one government will rule the earth and transcend ideology, races, and countries. It will be the corporates... For some, this will be great as it will provide security and they'll have their shiny things and that's all that matters.

      Be afraid, be very afraid.

  37. Lars Silver badge

    A good deal

    "In short, it's a trade deal. Overall, it's a good deal. TPP will allow corporations to sue governments"

    Like employing a hore, with in short, a slight problem of her having a dick.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: A good deal

      It's fascism by any other name.

  38. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    FAIL

    A Nonsense Editorial That Is A Detriment To The Register's Reputation

    Thank you for at least pointing out, on page 2, one of the core abominations of this 'treaty':

    "The big topic that does seem to be legitimate is that the TPP will allow corporations to sue governments through so-called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), but that individuals will not be given an equivalent right to sue corporations."

    This is plain and simply corporatocracy. It overrides US law and the law of any other signatory country. It hands over rights that only belong in the hands of voting citizens into the hands of corporations. It is obviously a play by corporations to wreck any aspect of real democracy that does not suit its needs. That specifically makes this 'treaty' an abomination.

    Enough said.

    Kill TPP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A Nonsense Editorial That Is A Detriment To The Register's Reputation

      What existing rights are there for a individual to sue a corporation?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: A Nonsense Editorial That Is A Detriment To The Register's Reputation

        Less and less every year.

  39. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Fascism

    The agreement seems to be the export of a combination of US laws and overbearing rights for corporations. That is the original meaning of fascism.

    Governments must be free to regulate corporations, or democracy has failed. We're seeing this now in Puerto Rico and the British care home industry where US vulture funds are able to work completely against the public interest and the law is powerless. After the collapse of the banking system's licence to print money in 2008, we now seem to be seeing, in effect, a total deregulation of hedge funds to give them a licence to print money. I wonder how long before that causes economic collapse? Because hedge funds long ago stopped their official function of headging and just became the even more cowboy arm of trading.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Fascism

      It is indeed fascism. The US Constitution has a specific section that clearly states that Congress has a right to regulate commerce any way they see fit. There is nothing in the Constitution that says corporations are above the law.

      When a government abdicates it power to regulate commercial trade, it has effectively and in all practicality become fascist.

      Welcome the New World Order.

  40. This post has been deleted by its author

  41. Green Nigel 42
    Megaphone

    A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN TTP

    Although a little bit late but noticing the strong depth of feeling expressed here, I have placed a poll on the first page of comments, for a vote of no confidence here, in both the benefit of TTP to the ordinary citizen and Reg's advice to put away our pitch forks.

  42. xybyrgy

    Don't forget TISA

    The currently unenforced prevailing wage requirements in work visas (L-1, H-1B) are about to be gutted! https://wikileaks.org/tisa/

  43. Tom 7 Silver badge

    We need a Groklaw for this

    Though I guess it would be mega DDOS'ed and the authorities would be baffled...

  44. Sacioz

    In the end...

    Let's see who's going to follow it and who wont . Ten to one the USA wont .

  45. dan1980

    ". . . and that the deal is so broad and balanced across multiple industries that claims to know what the impact will be are wildly speculative at best."

    I don't know the author, personally, nor know any of his other work so I can't determine the tone of this statement. So, that disclaimer aside, is that really suppose to be a comfort?

    One of the most important criticisms of FTAs is exactly this: that it is very difficult to work out what the result will be. Which prompts one to wonder - if the impact of such an agreement is unknown at the time of ratification then on what grounds have the participants decided to engage in the process in the first place?

    Saying that the trying to predict the real-world impact of an FTA is "wildly speculative at best" implies that when out governments assure us that the results will be a boon for the country and its people, they putting forward a proposition for which they have no evidence - it could just as well be that Australia (e.g.) will get utterly shafted.

    FTAs are, conceptually a good thing. I have never been accused of having even a toenail on the right-hand side of the political/economic/social line but it is my strong belief that businesses are the heart of a country, just as they were they heart of small communities as we trace our social history back through time. Businesses and investment in businesses allow people to be employed and taxes to be paid which - ostensibly - allows for an overall improvement in the community/country.

    So, to the extent that FTAs have the potential to increase these measures, they have the potential to increase the quality of life for those covered by it.

    BUT, the broad nature of modern FTAs means that gains in one area can, and often are, offset by losses in another. This comes about due to the negotiating between governments and the strengths of various lobbies in each country.

    To directly address one of the author's points, however, I he talks about the role of FTAs in simplifying the laws that have built-up, piece-meal over generations. That is not incorrect. BUT, implicit in that assertion is that, as times change, so should our laws and agreements to refelct the new situation(s). Again, I agree with this underlying assumption.

    We should, however, take this further than just the the laws governing tariffs and imports and regulations. We should also apply this logic to the concept of 'Investor-State Disputes" (ISDs). These provisions were added to agreements due to the risks faced dealing with countries that had poorly-developed legal systems. And, while that was an important consideration 30 or 40 years ago, it just isn't so much anymore, and especially not when the agreements are between countries with well-developed legal systems. Say what you might about lawyers but to suggest that countries like Australia and Japan and New Zealand and the US and Canada have poor legal systems is ignorant at best. (But more accurately, grossly insulting to the detailed, exacting and rich history of these countries and their legal traditions - many of which has a shared heritage.)

    And that's one of the biggest elephants - ISDS was developed for the express purpose of protecting investors against the possibility that they would lose their investments due to the volatile nature of politics in less-developed countries. The idea being that the less stable a political system and the less independent and rigorous a judicial system, the less confidence an investor will have and thus the less likely an investor will be to, well, invest.

    That's the heart of it - investment is considered a good thing (I make no assertions as to whether it actually is good or not) so it is logically reasoned that any agreement aimed at promoting investment must address barriers to that goal. ISDS was an implemented to address this in countries with unstable political or legal systems and so there is no reason for ISDS provisions to exist in an FTA between the US and Australia.

    Why? Because the problems that ISDS solved does not exist in these modern countries. Hell - not only are the legal systems in the US, Australian, Canada and New Zealand well-developed, they share a common history in the British legal system!

  46. Jeff Lewis

    "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century."

    "If America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will."

    As someone NOT from the US and who lives in a country that has to deal with the US all the time - the first statement terrifies me. The US already mostly writes the rules of the road - and that would be fine except that they're a nation of xenophobes for whom all issues are grouped into "Things that affect our stuff directly", "Things that affect stuff we want" and "Things we don't care about".

    To me, any single nation writing the rules of the road is a bad idea. Especially one who is so completely disconnected from the rest of the world and so antagonistic to it.

    As a citizen of two countries - Canada and the UK - I'm constantly appalled at how deep into the American crevasse Brits have managed to wedge their nasal probosci. In this case, even more amused at how a nation that is angry at the EU dictating too much control on their lives can turn around and rejoice at the US doing it.

    No, It is NOT a good thing for the US to write the rules of the road. Nor is it good for China to do it. Or Europa. Or Canada. Or any one nation. "It makes things easier for business" simply isn't a good enough reason. Capitalism is supposed to be messy. It's supposed to be competition - which can only happen when there are differences. Countries also compete by offering different models for society.

    Case in point - one that got glossed over rather quickly here - in Canada copyrights are only for 50 years past the life of the creator. With the TPP, that jumps to 70. We've had many spirited and involved discussions on this topic up here and we as a whole decided we don't want copyrights extended. We also decided we don't want people punished for copying the music they've purchased the right to listen to, for their own personal use - nor for downloading copyrighted works. Harper's Tories tried VERY hard to get that changed and the force of reaction by the public caused him to withdraw his first attempt and then water down his second.

    That's what being a democracy is about: listening to the wishes of ALL the people, not just the ones who own property, run business or have great wealth.

    I'm sorry the esteemed author from Britain has lost touch with those ideals.

    1. Green Nigel 42

      Agree with you, it has to be a win win agreement for capitalism to work, and both sides must be heard for this to be achieved as near as practically possible.

      Just for clarification though, the correct term for the depth our British Government manages to wedge its nasal probosci into the American crevasse, is "Special relationship". It therefore comes as no surprise how keen Dave Cameron is to put rocket boosters on to TIPP, to rush it through (as stated in the G20 conference Brisbane) and of course his high jinks at Oxford as a student).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Zmodem

          "To summarise then, as it stands, Cameron has engaged us in a race to the bottom!"

          briton is the atlantic rim

          1. ecofeco Silver badge

            Thatcher and Reagan long ago committed us all to the race to the bottom.

            1. Green Nigel 42

              And Blair to it to a whole new depth.

      2. Green Nigel 42

        To summarise then, as it stands with TIPP, Cameron has engaged us in a race to the bottom!

        At least it's not the rim of fire the Pacific nations will have to endure with TPP!

  47. NormDP

    If it is so "broad and balanced" what is the point of it? This shows the real intent. It is a foot in the door for followup lawsuits to expand corporate power through pliant judges and interpretation.

  48. ecofeco Silver badge

    This

    The TPP and "Free Trade" <- click link. Goes to Economix Comix

  49. LaeMing Silver badge

    "The TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century."

    Max is back. And this time he is rather peeved.

  50. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I guess it's fine.

    I guess it's fine then.

    You must understand, it's rather extraordinary for these people negotiating TPP to have expected to be able to negotiate a totally secret agreement, then expect the various countries congresses/house of commons/parliaments to pass an agreement they have had almost no chance to look over. It really was almost expected that groups like Motion Picture Ass. of America, who have tried to ram through most objectionable laws but found public scrutiny made it difficult... to stick clauses into TPP -- and either hope nobody noticed them, or hope countries would not reject a 2000 page agreement over a few pages of garbage they rammed in.

    But, it sounds like things like this may not have happened, it may have merely been representatives from all these countries trying to come up with a trade agreement.

  51. bitwise

    ISDS already in use

    The Case Studies section of the wikipedia page for ISDS is interesting:

    The Indonesian government was sued in June 2012 by a London-based mining company Churchill Mining after the local government revoked the concession rights held by a local company in which the firm had invested. The government is countering the Churchill case, claiming that Churchill did not have the correct type of mining licenses.

    In October 2012, an ICSID tribunal awarded a judgment of $1.8 billion for Occidental Petroleum against the government of Ecuador. Additionally, Ecuador had to pay $589 million in backdated compound interest and half of the costs of the tribunal, making its total penalty around $2.4 billion.[19] The South American country annulled a contract with the oil firm on the grounds that it violated a clause that the company would not sell its rights to another firm without permission. The tribunal agreed the violation took place but judged that the annulment was not fair and equitable treatment to the company.[19]

    Irish oil firm Tullow Oil took the Ugandan government to court in November 2012 after value-added tax (VAT) was placed on goods and services the firm purchased for its operations in the country.[20] The Ugandan government responded that the company had no right to claim tax on such goods prior to commencement of drilling. The case also attracted criticism for Tullow's use of local legal representation, Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA); the Ugandan law firm was founded by Elly Kurahanga, the president of Tullow's operations in Uganda and concerns were raised over his impartiality in the issue.

    Tobacco major Philip Morris sued Uruguay for alleged breaches to the Uruguay-Swiss BIT for requiring cigarette packs to display graphic health warnings and sued Australia under the Australia-Hong Kong BITS for requiring plain packaging for its cigarettes. The company claims that the packaging requirements in both countries violate its investment.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Centre_for_Settlement_of_Investment_Disputes

  52. Convolute

    The issue with allowing corporations to 'sue' Pacific Rim governments is down played massively here. Most of the Pacific Rim countries can't afford to be sued, especially when any multi national company is more than likely to earn more profit that lets say, Tonga or Samoa. Corporations should not be able to sue a government because said government has changed their laws for their peoples best interests. This is a huge step backwards for many Pacific Rim countries...

  53. stevenotinit

    I really President Obama but....

    http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Free-Trade-Agreement-TPP

    The TPP gives me much pause when my country's largest union is against it.

    also, http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade/Trans-Pacific-Partnership-Free-Trade-Agreement-TPP/Labor-Rights

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