05:32 GMT +321 July 2019
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    The flag of the USA flutters over a hall of the Hanover Fair decorated with a banner supporting the free trade agreement TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) in Hanover, Germany April 25, 2016

    US Using TPP and TTIP to Challenge 'Sovereignty of Nations' – Ex-Diplomat

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    While the World Trade Organization has failed to amalgamate the economics and trade of its various member nations, Washington is using the TPP and the TTIP to impose its intellectual property rights as well as its own labor standards.

    This was stated by former foreign secretary of India Shyam Saran, who, during his stint in the Foreign Office, pushed through a civilian nuclear agreement with the US to establish a US-led system of global trade that challenges the sovereignty of nations.

    He says that the TPP's curbs on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and indeed the state itself as an independent and autonomous dispute settlement body, curtail the sovereignty of nations.

    In fact, there is now pressure to introduce these issues to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Program, which includes the ASEAN nations, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. Considering that among the ASEAN nations, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei are also members of the TPP, they want put that kink in the RCEP.

    Saran, a veteran negotiator, thinks that the US and a ‘Coalition of the Willing' are seeking an approach that is the very anti-thesis of multilateralism. They would eventually like to migrate the mega-trade deals into the WTO.

    In February, 2016, Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, had said:

    "We hope that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership will not become competing regimes, but help in laying the foundation of an integrated economic community. I believe that yesterday's discussion in the business session on the impact of RCEP and TPP on ASEAN-India offered some interesting insights."

    Saran says that since China wants to join the TPP, this may skew the process completely against India, as the former is the largest trading nation in the world.

    He also advises that "More important than the question of India joining or remaining outside these emerging blocs is the issue of the competitiveness of the Indian economy in an increasingly challenging global economic environment." A more advisable path would be to improve the quality of Indian products and services and reduce the high transaction costs of conducting trade due to infrastructure lags; and complicated and procedural roadblocks.

    These moves are likely to be more significant in safeguarding and promoting India's trade interests rather than membership of the mega blocs, Saran holds. He believes that India would do better to join organizations like APEC and thus familiarize itself with the procedures.

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    global trade, TPP, TTIP, India, United States
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