It’s come to this: China might end up rescuing Americans from a secret treaty that threatens Internet freedom and national sovereignty.
Four months ago, we tipped you off to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — one of those “free trade agreements” with hundreds of pages of devilish details. The United States is negotiating with a motley assortment of countries — New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Chile and Peru. Canada and Mexico joined up in June.
The negotiations are strictly hush-hush… but a draft proposal by the U.S. negotiators leaked earlier this year. Among the gems included…
• $150,000 fines and jail time for copyright infringement – which would be easy to violate• Foreign multinational corporations exempted from U.S. laws• Capital controls to keep your wealth trapped inside the U.S.
A new round of TPP negotiations begins next Monday in Auckland, New Zealand.
As it turns out, China is forming its own trade bloc… and New Zealand, a founding TPP member even before the U.S. got involved, is showing interest.
This bloc is called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). “You never know how these things are going to play out,” said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, “so it is always possible that TPP falters and then RECP becomes the significant trade agreement.”
To add insult to injury, Mr. Key said this on the sidelines of a summit last week in Cambodia, where President Obama was on hand. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard also declared herself open to the RCEP.
The countries negotiating the RCEP are China, India, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. To be sure, there’s no guarantee the talks will work out — a longtime dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands is heating up again.
Still, the battle lines between the U.S. and China are now drawn. Almost no one in the United States is talking about it. The Washington Analysis and Assessment Service is one of the few exceptions: “This is another example of the emerging trend in U.S.-China relations where the two countries position themselves — whether consciously or by coincidence — as competitors, rather than as partners.”
In New Zealand, the talk is more bold: “[Prime Minister] Key needs a reality check,” says TPP critic and Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey, “if he really believes New Zealand can remain best friends with both sides in the escalating face-off between the U.S. and China over the ‘most significant free trade and investment deal ever.’”
The preceding article was excerpted from Agora Finacial’s 5 Min. Forecast. To read the entire episode, please feel free to do so here.
Dave Gonigam has been managing editor of The 5 Min. Forecast since September 2010. Before joining the research and writing team at Agora Financial in 2007, he worked for 20 years as an Emmy award-winning television news producer.
Government life support…liquidity injection… or a giant Band-Aid…whatever you want to call it, quantitative easing is the keeping the global economic ship afloat – but for how much longer? Richard Duncan explores…
Ben Bernanke introduced the world to the concept of "quantitative easing" back in 2002. It was an "unorthodox plan" to save the economy from the horrors of deflation. But the monstrous economy it has actually created is in some ways far worse. And as Richard Duncan explains, it's not going to end any time soon. Read on..
While the technical details of Bitcoin may intimidate the novice, they shouldn’t keep him from getting in on a digital currency revolution that -- while taking different forms -- isn’t going away. How do you get the simplest, easiest-to-act-on tips about how to invest, safeguard and grow your digital wealth? Dominic Frisby has more…
The duality is stark. In one hand, we have an energy renaissance underway, in the other, a virus is threatening to wreak havoc on the markets and, potentially, your life. Nothing we’re currently doing to fight the Ebola virus will work in 2014, say the researchers. Nothing we’re currently doing will beat it in 2015, either. We need a new game-plan. Read on…
Lose your shirt in 3D printing stocks this year? Don’t kick yourself. You’re not alone. (Okay, kick yourself a little if it’ll make you feel better.) You need to make sure you don’t lose your 3D-printed shirt in the next tech craze. Because there will be a next time. Look, it’s really not your fault if you got taken for a ride on 3D stocks. Greg Guenthner has more...