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De vrijhandelskomedie van de Pacific

NEW YORK – Nu onderhandelaars en ministers uit de Verenigde Staten en elf andere landen van de Pacific Rim in Atlanta bijeen zijn gekomen om de details van het radicaal nieuwe Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) uit te werken, is een sobere analyse gewettigd. Het grootste regionale handels- en investeringsakkoord uit de geschiedenis is niet wat het lijkt.

U zult veel horen over het belang van deze TTP voor de “vrije handel.” De werkelijkheid is dat dit een overeenkomst is om de handels- en investeringsrelaties van de lidstaten te managen – ter wille van de sterkste zakelijke lobbies van ieder land. Vergis u niet: uit de laatste kwesties die de onderhandelaars nog moesten oplossen is duidelijk gebleken dat het TPP niet over “vrije handel” gaat.

Nieuw-Zeeland heeft gedreigd weg te lopen uit de onderhandelingen, vanwege de manier waarop Canada en de VS de handel in melkproducten managen. Australië was niet blij met de manier waarop de VS en Mexico de handel in suiker wilden inrichten. En de VS waren niet blij met de manier waarop Japan zich heeft opgesteld inzake de rijsthandel. Deze sectoren worden in hun respectievelijke landen gesteund door belangrijke kiezersblokken. En zij vertegenwoordigen slechts het topje van de ijsberg als we willen weten hoe het TPP een agenda bevordert die feitelijk in strijd is met de vrije handel.

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