Another example of the absolute stupidity that the various "trade" treaties have inflicted on the world comes with the news that Canada can't prohibit cigarette companies from using misleading terms such as "light" or "mild". In both cases, public health officials have concluded that no cigarettes are safer or less hazardous to a smoker's health regardless of the terms used. In fact, smokers make up for any reduction in nicotine available by inhaling deeper or covering the air vents that are supposed to mix air with the lethal smoke.
Acknowledging that neither term defines actual benefits, Philip Morris instead argues that "light" and "mild" are used to help the customer to differentiate flavors and taste of the cigarettes. In other words, banning the use of such misleading labels will violate Canada's responsibilities under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"The ban would be tantamount to an expropriation of
tobacco trademarks containing descriptive terms [e.g., 'light'] as well as of
investment in and goodwill associated with those marks and the brands they represent," Philip Morris argues in it submission. The company claims that the "descriptive terms such as 'lights' are an integral part of registered trademarks" for products such as Benson & Hedges Lights and Rothmans Extra Light.
Using the power of NAFTA's Chapter 11 investment provisions, American based Ethyl Corporation sued the Canadian government for $250 million and forced the Canadian government to remove its ban of the import of the gasoline additive, MMT, a known nerve agent. The ban was reversed and Ethyl Corp. walked away with a settlement of $13 million.
UPS has filed suit against the Canadian government because, the corporation alleges, the government favors the public postal service.
In suits against the United States, first up is Methanex Corp. who is suing the U.S. government over a California state decision to phase out the chemical MTBE, a gasoline additive and known carcinogen. This suit, very similar to the one above, is meant to force California to continue to pollute its air and water and soil in order that Mathanex can continue to profit from the sale of that pollutant.
Various countries have sued the U.S. over tariffs imposed on steel imports. The particular law in question was the Anti-Dumping law which was meant to prohibit other nations from dumping their surplus products below cost in the United States. The law even has actual penalties, from simple fines all the way to prison terms for offenders.
The WTO (World Trade Organization - remember Seattle?) ruled that we can keep the law but that the penalties acted as a barrier to "free trade" and must be abolished. In other words, five anonymous people on the WTO's board forced the United States to nullify a long standing law because it kept other nations from driving our manufacturing facilities out of business by selling goods far below cost. Of course, as soon as the "supplying" nation destroyed our nation's ability to produce that product (in this case steel), then the price would rise astronomically in a very short period of time.
As we all now know, any nation that creates an situation that "expropriates" profits from any corporation anywhere in the world must either repeal the law or regulation or pay millions if not billions of dollars in penalties to the aggrieved corporation.
Folks, think about that claim for just a moment. Due to the regulations handed down by a secret panel empowered by your government, you have absolutely no recourse should a major polluter decide to build a waste facility next door to your home, as long as it is built by a foreign corporation. You have no right to vote for any law that any corporation anywhere in the world dislikes. Your government cannot protect your health or your safety or any other aspect of your life as long as any foreign corporation disagrees with the parameters and proclaims them a barrier to profits.
Your government has negotiated treaties that completely and forever negated any form of democracy anywhere in the world and made all of this planet's people subject to the whims and abuses of any corporation anywhere in the world. You have no particular rights, only those that the Global Corporation hasn't found its way around to abolishing, yet. ( 1 & 2 )
Return To Front Page
Visit Our Unique Shops At:
The Progressive Mind
Impeach The Moron
Rosetta Stone - Your Name In Egyptian Hieroglyphs
Signs of the Zodiac Gifts