[Ip-health] [A2k] New York Times: Trump Just Signed the U.S.M.C.A. Here’s What’s in the New NAFTA.

Peter Maybarduk pmaybarduk at citizen.org
Thu Jan 30 07:04:13 PST 2020

Yes, those are the ISDS courts. 
Here is Public Citizen's statement: 

For Immediate Release: Jan. 29, 2020
Contact: Matthew Groch, mgroch at citizen.org, (202) 454-5111

New NAFTA Signed Into Law Only After Democrats Force Trump to Rewrite His 2018 NAFTA 2.0 Deal to Remove Big Pharma Giveaways, Add Better Labor and Environmental Terms

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Note: Today, President Donald Trump signed the implementing legislation for the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This follows passage in the U.S. Senate by a margin of 89-10 and in the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 385-41 with 193 Democrats and 192 Republicans supporting. The White House did not invite any congressional Democrats to the 400-person signing event. By gaslighting the Democrats central role in creating a new NAFTA, Trump has generated new attention to the reality that the revised NAFTA deal he signed in 2018 was DoA in Congress and Democrats forced Trump to reopen that deal and rewrite it so that it might actually counteract some of NAFTA’s ongoing damage. 

Donald Trump has a new NAFTA to sign into law today only because congressional Democrats forced him to reopen the NAFTA 2.0 deal he signed in 2018 to remove Big Pharma giveaways that would have locked in high medicine prices and to strengthen labor and environmental terms so a new NAFTA might counter outsourcing. 

The corporate-rigged NAFTA 2.0 deal that Trump signed in 2018 betrayed his campaign promise to fix NAFTA and was “dead on arrival” in Congress. It included new Big Pharma giveaways that would have locked in high drug prices, making it worse than the original, and labor and environmental terms too weak to counteract NAFTA’s outsourcing of jobs and pollution. 

Trump is desperate to pretend that this is his victory, but Public Citizen’s new Timeline of #ReplaceNAFTA Advocacy shows that the new NAFTA exists only thanks to relentless work by House Democrats, unions, consumer and faith groups, and activists nationwide who forced improvements to the 2018 deal Trump signed. 

The unusually large, bipartisan congressional votes for the “revised revised” NAFTA show that to be politically viable, U.S. trade pacts no longer can include broad monopoly protections for Big Pharma or extreme corporate investor privileges and must have enforceable labor and environmental standards. 

After congressional Democrats, unions and consumer groups forced Trump to remove Big Pharma giveaways and improve labor and environmental terms, the final revised deal is better than the original and might reduce some of NAFTA’s ongoing damage to workers and the environment.

But this new NAFTA won’t bring back hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs, as Trump nonsensically claims, despite U.S. auto manufacturers’ recent announcements that they plan to increase production in Mexico. This includes Ford’s decision to make its new Mustang electric SUV in Mexico. while GM has closed U.S. auto plants even as it has shifted production of its most popular vehicles to Mexico.

One important win for consumers, workers and the environment is the gutting of NAFTA’s Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) regime. ISDS empowers multinational corporations to go before panels of three corporate lawyers to demand unlimited compensation from taxpayers over claims that domestic policies or actions violate special investor privileges. The lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. To date, corporations have extracted almost $400 million from North American taxpayers after attacks on energy, water, timber and toxics policies. Largely eliminating ISDS will foreclose numerous corporate attacks on environmental, health and other safeguards and bolster countries worldwide seeking to exit the illegitimate ISDS regime. 

The new NAFTA is not a template for future agreements; rather, it sets the floor from which we will fight for good trade policies that put working people and the planet first. Trying to fix an existing bad deal like NAFTA to reduce its ongoing damage is very different from creating a truly good trade deal that generates jobs, raises wages and protects the environment and public health. 

Any new trade deals, including with the European Union and United Kingdom, must additionally include binding climate standards, even stronger rules to stop race-to-the-bottom outsourcing of jobs and pollution, and enforceable rules against currency cheating. And any new deals must not limit the protections needed to ensure our food and products are safe, our privacy is protected and monopolistic online firms are held accountable, and big banks do not crash the economy again. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Ip-health <ip-health-bounces at lists.keionline.org> On Behalf Of Benjamin Henrion
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2020 9:48 AM
To: Thiru Balasubramaniam <thiru at keionline.org>
Cc: a2k discuss list <a2k at lists.keionline.org>; ip-health at lists.keionline.org
Subject: Re: [Ip-health] [A2k] New York Times: Trump Just Signed the U.S.M.C.A. Here’s What’s in the New NAFTA.

On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 11:59 AM Thiru Balasubramaniam <thiru at keionline.org> wrote:
> https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/29/business/economy/usmca-deal.html
> Trump Just Signed the U.S.M.C.A. Here’s What’s in the New NAFTA.
> A trade agreement with Mexico and Canada revises Mexico’s labor laws 
> and encourages more auto production in North America.
> By Ana Swanson and Jim Tankersley
> Jan. 29, 2020
> WASHINGTON — President Trump signed the revised North American Free 
> Trade Agreement into law on Wednesday, fulfilling a campaign promise 
> to rewrite “one of the worst trade deals” in history.
> “Today we are finally ending the NAFTA nightmare,” Mr. Trump said 
> during a White House signing ceremony, calling the new trade deal a 
> “colossal victory” for farmers, factory workers and other countries.
> Much of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement simply updates 
> the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, with new laws on 
> intellectual property protection, the internet, investment, 
> state-owned enterprises and currency.
> <SNIP>
> Less protection for drug companies
> In a major concession to Democrats, the Trump administration agreed to 
> pare back certain protections for an advanced and very expensive class 
> of drugs called biologics. The final agreement removes a provision 
> that had offered the drugs 10 years of protection from cheaper 
> alternatives in both Canada and Mexico.
> The agreement expands other protections for intellectual property 
> rights, for example, extending the 50 years of protection for 
> copyrights in NAFTA to 70 years. It also includes new criminal 
> penalties for theft of trade secrets, including cybertheft.
> In a major win for tech firms, it gives internet companies like 
> Facebook and YouTube certain protections from lawsuits related to the 
> user content posted on their platforms. It also sets new standards by 
> prohibiting governments from asking tech companies to disclose their 
> source code or put duties on electronic transmissions.
> <SNIP>
> Ending a special system of arbitration for companies
> One of the biggest areas of contention stemmed from the mechanisms 
> that companies and governments could turn to when they believed 
> another party had violated NAFTA.
> In a major change, the U.S.M.C.A. rolls back a special system of 
> arbitration that allowed companies to sue governments for unfair treatment.
> The provision was criticized both by the Trump administration, which 
> said it encouraged outsourcing, and by Democrats, who said it gave 
> corporations too much power to challenge environmental and consumer regulations.

Those are ISDS courts right?


Benjamin Henrion <bhenrion at ffii.org>
FFII Brussels - +32-484-566109 - +32-2-4148403 "In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy.
Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators."

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