By James Corbett/International Forecaster: 6 May, 2017
You remember the SPP, don’t you? The attempt to create a North American Union by harmonizing the border controls, environmental and business regulations and security forces of Canada, the US and Mexico?
Of course you do, because sites like The Corbett Report caught wind of it, publicized its secret meetings, and organized widespread resistance to expose the plot (and expose police provocateuring in the process).
Remember SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and CISPA, the attempt by globalist corporations and totalitarian control freaks to crack down on the free and open internet under cover of copyright policing?
Remember the TPP, the attempt to create a free trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific that would have enriched the globalist corporate elite at the expense of everyone else?
Of course you do, because sites like The Corbett Report sounded the alarm in the early days of the agreement and explained the finished deal in plain English when it finally emerged from the swamp, whipping up a populist backlash that ended the deal.
Remember the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement? You know, the all-encompassing agreement between the WTO’s 164 members (97% of global GDP) that has been hailed as “the most significant multilateral trade deal concluded since the establishment of the World Trade Organisation?” The one that implements the globalists’ wet dream of harmonizing export and import processes and trade infrastructure among the majority of the world’s population?
No? Doesn’t ring a bell? Hmmm…I wonder why that is?
Don’t worry. If you’re only hearing about the agreement now, it’s not because you weren’t paying attention. It’s because almost no one was paying attention, including me. If the daily flurry of craziness that is the Trump-era news cycle has ever left you wondering what you’re being distracted from, here is one answer. It’s called the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and it just entered into force in February.
That’s right, it’s in effect as we speak. No time to familiarize yourself with this one. No time to organize opposition. No time to examine the implications. It’s already here.
For those of us who haven’t heard about the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) before, here’s the crash course:
Part of the long-fought, arduous, hotly contested negotiations surrounding the WTO’s so-called “Bali Package” trade agreement of 2013, the TFA specifically aims to reduce bureaucratic red tape and regulatory uncertainty around trade issues between WTO member nations, by, among other things, harmonizing customs procedures, removing delays on clearance and movement of goods, and reducing fees, formalities and roadblocks to legal recourse for importers and exporters.
Or, in the official gobbledygook of the WTO’s PR-ese:
“The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area. The Agreement will help improve transparency, increase possibilities to participate in global value chains, and reduce the scope for corruption.”
The WTO’s own 2015 study about the agreement shows that it will reduce the trading costs of member nations by 14.3%, reduce average import times for goods by a day and a half and export times by two days, increase global merchandise exports by $1 trillion, and make blind lepers walk on water again. Or something like that.
So what’s not to love?
Well, in the broader sense this agreement can be seen as a life-saver for the WTO, whose very raison d’être as a type of global governing body for world trade has been called into question by the fact that, before the TFA, it hadn’t actually managed to ratify a single trade agreement in its 22-year history.
That’s right, the so-called “Doha Development Round” of talks that the body began in 2001—its “ambitious effort to make globalization more inclusive and help the world’s poor,” to quote the Rothschild-mouthpiece, The Economist—has been ongoing for a decade and a half and currently remains in limbo after years of rancorous debate. Even the much-ballyhooed Bali Package was just the framework for what has now become the TFA, meaning that this agreement has single-handedly brought the WTO back from the brink of irrelevance that the NAFTA, the TTIP and TPP, and numerous other regional, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have pushed it towards.
But more specifically, the TFA is a perfect example of everything that’s wrong with globalization: Under cover of “development” and “trade,” and with a lot of flowery rhetoric about helping the poorest of the poor and facilitating global cooperation, this agreement in fact does little but penalize the poorest countries by forcing them to adopt standards and practices that are as expensive and difficult to implement as they are useless to local industries, farmers and laborers. At the same time, it further erodes local autonomy by forcing almost the entirety of the planet to adopt the same standards and regulations on imports and exports. And, to top it all off, it is the backbone upon which backdoor implementations of various unpopular policies and ideas, from regional trade agreements to the cashless control grid, will be built.
As the Business Standard notes: “This deal will not only resuscitate the WTO, whose relevance was fast eroding due to proliferation of free-trade agreements, but will also revive multilateralism in global trade. Most important, it demonstrates that trade agreements are no longer just about tariffs — they are also about making trade easier, whether through dovetailing domestic regulations, or through easing actual paperwork.”
This is an attempt not at a trade deal in the traditional sense, but at a reformulation of the idea of a “trade agreement” as an act of cross-border regulatory harmonization.
Furthermore, Article 7 of the agreement includes a mandate on electronic payments: “Each Member shall, to the extent practicable, adopt or maintain procedures allowing the option of electronic payment for duties, taxes, fees and charges collected by customs incurred upon importation and exportation.” The measure, fairly innocuous by itself, is yet another attempt to normalize the mandating of cashless payments in international trade. But it is supplemented by other unaccountable global governmental bodies like the UN’s Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, which, along with the usual Global Goals-y/Climate Change-y/Regional Coordination-y globalist mandates, also coordinates technical cooperation on trade issues, including E-payments and E-purchasing.
And when I say global, I really do mean global. There are no virtuous Chinese messiahs who are valiantly fighting off these insidious global processes, or Russian saviors who can save us from the big bad globalists, or Indian gurus who will protect us from the onslaught.