As TPP NEARS Final Agreement-[WHERE Did THAT Disappear To In The MSM News? And WHAT Happened To The LUX-Leaks Investigation?]-EU Needs A Pivot To Asia-Experts Say

Posted: September 30, 2015 in Corporate Corruption, While We Were Distracted
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Borderlex.eu in partnership with EurActiv

by Iana Dreyer (With Additional Commentary By R Andrew Ohge aka Rex Dexter) | 29 Sep 2015 

The Transpacific Partnership (TPP) involving the United States and eleven other Asia-Pacific countries might be concluded this week. 

So, here we have the Eu’s “House Organ” despairing about MAYBE being “too late to the party” to get on board with, as Euractive puts it- a Deal That Might BE CONCLUDED THIS WEEK!

WHAT were we DOING in ‘Murica this week?

1. Let’s see-we found out we might be able to get a salty drink of water on Mars-I’m sure some folks are lining up for that.

2. With some showy Lunar Eclipses we watched events for signs the “End Might Be Near/The NWO Might Be Starting/Etc.

3. We had a Potpourri of Popery at its finest-LOTS of hopeful words, but nothing of substance happened-we’d rather see Poverty ended, Small Business and Family Farms/Enterprises Boosted, Jobs Created, Education Made Free, etc in EVEN ONE SMALL PLACE, than all the promises with no activity, as yet, attached to them.

4. No Pot Smokers got out of prison-but many new ones went in.

5. The Cops were just as nasty as ever.

6. The Elite were just as EVIL AND GREEDY as ever.

7. The Government Is Threatened With A Shut-Down.

And NOW we find out this was being hammered into being behind the scenes…well hell, THANKS MSM, Congress and POTUS-Which Explains WHY ALL OF THE ABOVE held the headlines, I guess.

Trade pundits say now is the time for the EU to think big on its Asian market access strategy.

An eleventh hour decision was taken last week to hold a new round TPP talks in Atlanta, in order to conclude negotiations that have been ongoing for six years. 

Last week’s TPP move comes as an attempt to seal the deal, which negotiators say is very close to being wrapped up. 

Success is not guaranteed this week, but conclusion now only seems to be a matter of time, according to persons familiar with the talks.

The TPP was launched in 2009 by the Obama Administration as part of its so-called ‘pivot to Asia’, and as a means for maintain Washington to maintain its foothold in a region in which the economic and political rise of China is of increasing concern. 

With Japan having joined the talks in 2013, TPP is expected to cover about 40 percent of world trade. [They’re already shipping us HEAPS of Fukushima RADIOACTIVITY-Tuna, Anyone?]

The US is clearly securing preferential market access in a region that the Asian Development Bank thinks will produce more than half of the world’s output by 2050. 

China responded with its own regional trade integration initiative, RCEP, covering East and South East Asia, and potentially India.

“The TPP will change the competitive relation between European and American firms as far as access to the Asia-Pacific market is concerned,” scholars at the European Centre for International Political Economy warned in a brief published last year.

André Sapir, Senior Fellow at the Bruegel think tank, told Borderlex: 

“The more successful TPP will be in liberalizing trade among participating countries, the more likely will be the damage for EU trade with TPP countries, and the greater, therefore, the incentive for the EU to conclude bilateral trade deals with TPP members such as EU-ASEAN, EU-Japan and TTIP.”

The EU is already firmly engaged in the race for access to Asian markets. 

For instance, the EU is negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan, the world’s fourth largest economy. 

It concluded talks with Vietnam, a dynamic emerging market of 90 million people, in August this year. 

Three years ago, it sealed an FTA with Singapore, but has not yet ratified it. 

All three partners are part of TPP. 

The talk in Brussels is that bilateral free trade agreements will be sought with all TPP members in the coming years.

No strategy equivalent to TPP

But Brussels might be advancing too slowly.  

“While Europe negotiates bilaterally with some TPP countries, it has no strategy equivalent to the TPP, which could be continually employed to build a larger system for trade policy cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and to address global commercial problems,” the ECIPE paper argues.

Some think the EU needs to think and act bigger – and quickly – in response to TPP.

Patrick Messerlin, Emeritus Professor at Sciences Po told Borderlex that the biggest loss from TPP “will be the fact that EU exporters will be disadvantaged on the US and Japanese markets for all the products exported by the US, Japanese and other TPP exporters”.

In response to TPP, Messerlin believes that “the EU should accelerate the trade negotiations with Japan and amplify its regulatory cooperation with this country, develop a much more aggressive pivot to Asia, by examining seriously the option to join RCEP, and continue to negotiate TTIP”.

Shada Islam, Director of Policy at Friends of Europe, told Borderlex that after TPP, “opening talks quickly on an EU-ASEAN FTA becomes more strategically important. 

Step by step, the EU could be even more ambitious by exploring a possible EU-ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA. 

And why not reflect on a trade and investment deal as part of ASEM, the Asia Europe partnership”.

The Commission is expected publish a new trade strategy for the EU “very soon”, Cecilia Malmström, the EU’s trade Commissioner said on Friday (25 September). 

The document will indicate whether Brussels wants to be bold.

The parties to TPP are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.  

The TPP group accounts for one quarter of EU trade.

WHEN WILL WE EVER BE TOLD WHAT OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT IS UP TO. MILLIONS have signed Petitions against this monster described as “NAFTA on steroids”, as well as a WELFARE HANDOUT to the Multi-Nationals”?

When Will LUX-LEAKS Get A FULL INVESTIGATION?

This SAME Issue Of Euractive Had THIS Story. As You Read It, Realize-If TPP AND TTIP Become Reality The Whole Issue Will Be Investigated UNDER THE AUTHORITY of the very same Multi-Nationals UP TO THEIR EARLOBES in this whole scandal…talk about hiring the FOX to watch the hen house!

The Story:

According to Der Spiegel, Jean-Claude Juncker KNEW about Luxembourg’s tax rulings as early as 1997, an accusation he denied to MEPs. La Tribune reports[http://www.euractiv.fr/sections/euro-finances/luxleaks-jean-claude-juncker-t-il-menti-aux-deputes-europeens-318056]:

Der Spiegel claimed on Monday (28 September) that Jean-Claude Juncker knew about a page that was removed from a 1997 economic report, allegedly concerning Luxembourg’s tax rulings practices.

Yet in a hearing in the European Parliament’s TAXE special committee on 17 September, Juncker told MEPs he had no such knowledge. 

So did Juncker lie to the European Parliament?

A report with one page missing…

The affair hinges on a report written by the Luxembourgish Christian Social MP Jeannot Krecké, who would later become Jean-Claude Juncker’s Minister for the Economy, between 2002 and 2012. 

The Krecké report on tax evasion in Luxembourg was presented to the government of the Grand Duchy in 1997, during Jean-Claude Juncker’s time as prime minister, between 1995 to 2013.

>> Read: Juncker breaks cover on Luxleaks: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/eu-elections-2014/juncker-provides-explanations-press-over-luxleaks-309949

But according to Jeannot Krecké, one page was missing from the published report. 

This page concerned tax rulings, the secret deals agreed between the government and businesses to attract them to Luxembourg with tax advantages. 

It was the revelation of these practices that caused the Luxleaks scandal last year.

Two men, one liar

Jeannot Krecké claims there are only three “original” versions of the report. 

He has one. 

Another is held by the Luxemburgish Social Democrat Lucien Lux, and the third is in the possession of Jean-Claude Juncker.

In an email to Der Spiegel, Krecké reaffirmed his version of the story. 

The President of the European Commission knew about the page omitted from the report. 

“I can confirm that in April 1997, I gave both the official version and a private version of my report to Mr. Juncker,” he wrote.

But on 17 September, Juncker told the European Parliament’s TAXE special committee that he had never had the original version of the report and that he was unaware of the existence of the missing page.

>>Read: Grumpy Juncker: ‘Call it EUleaks, not Luxleaks!’: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/euro-finance/grumpy-juncker-demands-call-it-euleaks-not-luxleaks-317743

The content of this page is still unknown. 

Jeannot Krecké refuses to reveal it, and insists it should be up to Jean-Claude Juncker to do so.

One thing seems certain: it was not Jean-Claude Juncker, but Jeannot Krecké who ordered the removal of the page from the published report. 

The aim could have been to cover up tax practices that continued up to 2010, while as early as 1997, the Grand Duchy was keen to appear to be tackling tax competition in the EU.

A not so harmless little lie

The potential consequences of this affair are huge. 

If Juncker knew about the missing page, he should also have known about the tax practices of his country, which he helped to cover up as prime minister by his silence and inaction.

This contradicts the Commission president’s current line of defense. 

As one German MEP said, Jean-Claude Juncker has “rejected all responsibility for tax administration” in Luxembourg.

>>Read: Luxembourg tax deals weigh on Juncker: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/competition/luxembourg-tax-deals-weigh-juncker-309805

Several members of the parliamentary special committee have already asked for another interview with the Commission chief, Der Spiegel reported. 

And the nagging doubt carries over into Juncker’s current actions. 

On 17 September, the president stressed his determination to fight tax optimization, an aim he had already highlighted in 1997 in his role as Luxemburgish premier.

Mired in doubt

Once again, this affair further clarifies the fact that the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg is not the ideal man to lead the EU’s campaign against tax competition. 

His good will and his actions will always be mired in doubt.

>> Read: Luxembourg drops legal challenge to EU request for tax info: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/euro-finance/luxembourg-drops-legal-challenge-eu-request-tax-info-310968

Yet this is a major issue. 

Without the distorting effect of tax rulings, member states’ budgets, and by extension their economic policies, would be very different. 

After his strange statements at a summit this summer, and his questionable attitude towards the Greek crisis, the European Commission’s first ‘elected’ head is not in the strongest of positions.

This article was originally published by EurActiv France.

BACKGROUND

On 12 February 2015, the European Parliament decided to launch a special committee for an initial period of six months, to investigate the sophisticated tax rulings of EU member states that became the center of a media storm earlier this year. [But NOT In THE U.S. Mainstream Media!]

With 45 members and the same number of substitutes, the TAXE Committee’s role is primarily to investigate the compatibility of tax rulings with the rules on state aid and tax law.

The special committee will then draft a report, including recommendations on how to improve transparency and cooperation between member states to the benefit of the internal market, European companies and citizens.

More than 300 companies, including PepsiCo Inc, AIG Inc and Deutsche Bank AG, secured secret deals from Luxembourg to slash their tax bills, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported on 5 November, quoting leaked documents. 

WATCH THIS VIDEO-YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/DTB90Ulu_5E

[THESE ARE ALL FOLKS WHO ARE REALLY PUSHING THE TPP ANd TTIP-DO YOU REALLY WONDER WHY?]

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who was prime minister of Luxembourg from 1995-2013, has so far declined to comment. 

These revelations have been nicknamed ‘Luxleaks’.

The companies appear to have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes, the group of investigative journalists said, based on a review of nearly 28,000 pages of confidential documents.

Luxembourg has faced international criticism following the revelations. 

The leaks put pressure on European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to explain his role in the country’s tax policies.

Juncker has defended the country’s tax practices, but is now promoting a plan for a common EU system to share tax information.

For More Background:

1. International Consortium of Investigative Journalism: Luxembourg leaks: Global companies’ secrets exposed: http://www.icij.org/project/luxembourg-leaks

2. Explore the Documents: Luxembourg Leaks Database. Search more than 350 global companies to see their secret tax agreements with Luxembourg: http://www.icij.org/project/luxembourg-leaks/explore-documents-luxembourg-leaks-database

3.  Leaked Documents Expose Global Companies’ Secret Tax Deals-Tiny European duchy a “magical fairyland” for corporations seeking to cut tax bills: http://www.icij.org/project/luxembourg-leaks/leaked-documents-expose-global-companies-secret-tax-deals-luxembourg

Read More: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/trade-society/tpp-nears-final-agreement-eu-needs-pivot-asia-experts-say-318064

And: http://www.euractiv.com/sections/euro-finance/luxleaks-did-jean-claude-juncker-lie-meps-318070

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