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India and the U.S. resolved their differences over India’s food subsidy program, paving the way for a landmark global trade deal at the WTO.
The main hurdle to emerge in Bali is India's insistence that it be allowed to stockpile and subsidise grain for its millions of hungry poor.
…The United States and others say India's policy violates WTO rules on subsidies and fear the grain could enter markets, skewing world prices.
Spooky Business: Corporate Espionage
…The American Civil Liberties Union is concerned about the special advantages granted to corporations under InfraGard. According to the ACLU’s Jay Stanley,
“‘The FBI should not be creating a privileged class of Americans who get special treatment....There’s no ‘business class’ in law enforcement. If there's information the FBI can share with 22,000 corporate bigwigs, why don't they just share it with the public? That's who their real ‘special relationship’ is supposed to be with. Secrecy is not a party favor to be given out to friends....This bears a disturbing resemblance to the FBI’s handing out ‘goodies’ to corporations in return for folding them into its domestic surveillance machinery.’”159
12 Corporate Espionage Tactics Used Against Leading Progressive Groups, Activists and Whistleblowers
Posing as volunteers. Stealing documents. Dumpster diving. Planting electronic bugs. Hacking computers. Tapping phones and voicemail. Planting false information. Trailing family members. Threatening reporters. Hiring cops, CIA officers and combat veterans to do all these dirty deeds—and counting on little pushback from law enforcement, mainstream media or Congress.
...author Gary Ruskin says most of the information was obtained “by accident.” It wasn’t freely given. It was the result of lawsuits, a handful of whisteblowers, mistakes by those hired to do the corporate espionage, boasts in trade press and other somewhat random sources.
But even so, there is a dark playbook that comes into view. Nonprofits are scrutinzed for vulnerabilities. Computers are hacked. Documents are copied or stolen. Phone calls and voice mail are secretly recorded. Personal dossiers are compiled. Disinformation is created and spread. Websites are targeted and taken down. Blackmail is attempted. Just as bad, Ruskin says, the Justice Department and Congress look the other way.
“The entire subject is veiled in secrecy,” his report says. “In recent years, there have been few serious journalistic efforts—and no serious government efforts—to come to terms with the reality of corporate spying against nonprofits.”
What is Harmonization?
Harmonization is the name given to the effort by industry to replace the variety of product standards and other regulatory policies adopted by nations in favor of uniform global standards. The harmonization effort gained a significant boost with the approval of several new international agreements, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which established the World Trade Organization (WTO). These pacts require or encourage national governments to harmonize standards or accept different, foreign standards as "equivalent" on issues as diverse as auto, food and worker safety, pharmaceutical testing standards and informational labeling of products. These trade agreements have also established an ever-increasing number of committees and working groups to implement the harmonization mandate. The WTO alone established over 50. Unfortunately, most of these working groups are industry dominated, do not provide an opportunity for input by interested individuals or potentially-affected communities, and generally conduct their operations behind closed doors. Yet, under current trade rules, these standard- setting processes can directly affect our national, state and local policies.
Fast Track Trade Authority: An Undemocratic Route to Damaging “Trade” Agreements
Fast Track was an extreme and rarely-used procedure that empowered executive branch negotiators, advised by large corporations, to bypass Congress and use “trade” agreements to rewrite policies, with sweeping impacts on our daily lives – from promoting job offshoring to undermining the safety of our food. As a candidate, President Obama said he would replace this anti-democratic process. But now he is asking Congress to grant him Fast Track’s extraordinary authority with the goal of railroading into effect two damaging agreements facing growing public opposition: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is supposed to write the laws and set trade policy. If Americans do not like the results, they change the Congress and the policies. And so it was for 200 years. But since the mid-1970s, Democratic and GOP presidents alike have tried to seize those congressional powers through Fast Track. Hatched by Richard Nixon and only used 16 times since, Fast Track ripped up vital checks and balances. It allowed presidents to “diplomatically legislate” a vast array of policies having nothing to do with trade to which all of our domestic laws must conform.
How Constitutional is NAFTA?
“This is an important decision for American businesses and it supports the Coalition’s belief that the NAFTA Chapter 19 system is unconstitutional,” Steve Swanson, chairman of the Coalition and president of the family-run Swanson Group in Oregon, said in a press release.
The USCFL has fought for the elimination of the binational panel review system and called it “a charade designed to provide the appearance of due process without any of its substance.”
The provision allows Canadian and Mexican businesses and individuals to challenge U.S. trade regulations while circumventing Article III courts, such as the U.S. International Trade Commission, which are the typical venues for such matters.
“The system deprives U.S. industries and workers of their right to seek a fair and impartial hearing in trade disputes,” the groups website says.
International trade deals override national laws
Sofi for years I have said that America is run by a private interest corporate dictatorship, ...
They can call what they do "trade agreements", "laws" "bills" or anything else but every thing done is only for the benefit of those that now has gotten themselves in positions to control entire countries and their populations.
We have seen how certain countries are able to used their power over other countries to control economies, food is just part of the list, starve a country's population and you got yourself willing slaves.