© MARTIN BESECKE 2010 - 2023
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
- Part 2 -
The JEFTA, the free trade agreement of Japan and the EU, came officially into full force on February 1, 2019. At this time, it was the largest free trade
agreement in the world with a market of more than 650 million people.
The JEFTA treated in addition to the trade, the goods traffic and the product standards, also the entire service sector and here also all digital issues
and thus also the data protection.
The JEFTA was also completely secretly negotiated and extensive research has revealed that 89% lobbyists and only 4% civil society organizations
as well as only 7% responsible politicians and competent officials were involved in the negotiation and formulating of this treaty.
And while the CETA may (or was allowed) to be adopted by the national parliaments after massive protests, the JEFTA remained completely within
the competence and responsibility of the European Commission.
About the contents of treaty:
While in the CETA the undemocratic "Joint Committee" was installed for the treatment of legislative proposals that could affect the content of the
treaty, in the JEFTA the so-called "transparency procedure" should be practiced.
That means in practice, that in the case of legislative proposals which could affect the content of the treaty, all persons, that is, the civil society
as well as lobbyists and officials of the contracting states, are allowed to participate "voluntarily" in these legislative processes.
But this "voluntariness" means in practice, that this procedure is also excluded from democratic treatment and control, which then automatically leads
to the fact that the influence by lobbyists on legislations is significantly increased.
How investment protection should be treated is not yet clear! This will continue to be negotiated also after the entry into force.
The EU would like to establish an International Investment Court, as in CETA, but Japan refuses it. Japan wants that these issues to be resolved
by private arbitrations. And what should happen here, if there should be no agreement here, is completely unclear.
It is particularly absurd that this topic is even brought to negotiation! Because in the so-called "NAFTA 2.0", the successor free trade agreement
of Canada, Mexico and the USA, a jurisdiction over investment protection was completely deleted with the reason that "the interests of the environment
and consumers are beyond the interests of investors".
The official argumentation of the politics for such free trade agreements is that they provide more growth, more jobs and by that more prosperity for all.
And this is to bring about official political speech, of course, also the JEFTA.
But studies by the EU itself and the IMF show that this agreement can not promote growth or additional jobs, but on the contrary, the IMF study
even thinks that this agreement "could lead to job losses".
The EU Commission boasts of it proudly that for the first time ever, a commitment to the goals of the Paris Climate Adoption (COP 21) has been
formulated in this free trade agreement.
But in fact, is this commitment only pure symbolism, because there is no form of legal obligation for them!
Because this specific clause to the Paris Climate Adoption is formulated in the so-called "sustainability chapter", but which was excluded from the
state-to-state arbitration. And that means in practice, that there are no legal remedies and enforcement mechanisms in place to act against
infringements of this commitment.
In the European environmental and consumer protection law, the so-called "precautionary principle" applies. This principle is intended to ensure
that the state acts as a precautionary measure, which means, that if there is a suspicion that a product may harm the environment and humans, it is
not allowed to be allowed this product, not even then, if there is (still) disagreement about potential damage in the science.
In Japan too, the precautionary principle is one of the basic principles in the legislation.
And in this context, the European Commission claims "that no EU trade agreement can call into question this primary law guaranteed precautionary
That is a straightforward lie!
Because as in CETA, is also in JEFTA ignored this precautionary principle in the chapters on technical barriers to trade (TBT) and on health and
phytosanitary measures (SPS) by doing these issues should be treated according to the TBT and SPS agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
And the TBT and SPS agreements of the WTO do not support the precautionary principle, but the US-American practice, according to which new
products in principle always have to be approved and damage must first have occurred and whose causalities then have yet to be explicitly proven,
before a product can be banned again!
The EU Commission also claims that "this agreement sets the highest standards in the areas of labor, safety, environmental protection and
That is also a lie!
Because the JEFTA does not even require the ratification, implementation and compliance of the 8 core labor standards (freedom of association and
protection of the freedom of association, the right to organize and to collective bargaining, forced labor and abolition of forced labor, equal pay,
abolition of the discrimination in employment and occupation, minimum age and abolition of child labor, prohibition and immediate action to eliminate
the worst forms of child labor) of the International Labor Organization (ILO), they are, incidentally, part of the European Convention on Human Rights
and which in turn has been ratified by all EU member states and therefore is actually legally binding for all EU member states.
And that means in practice, that with the JEFTA purely legal the existing labor standards may be further reduced at any time.
Also the existing environmental and consumer protection standards are endangered with the JEFTA!
Because these standards are treated in the so-called "sustainability chapter", and as already pointed out, is the "sustainability chapter" is not subject
to state-to-state arbitration and thus can not be legally opposed to a reduction in these areas.
After the CETA, the JEFTA is the second trade agreement of the EU which contains a negative list for services.
This means, that all services, including public services, such as the water supply and also the education, deregulated and liberalized.
And that means, in turn, that with the introduction of this negative list, the prerogative of the public authorities to leave public services in the public
purse has been abolished.
And this can force the public sector to privatize public services, including services of general interest!
With the JEFTA, the EU Commission is beginning to soften the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR), which has been in force
since May 2018 and which is very strict. Because the EU Commission and the European national governments and especially Germany reject the
EU-GDPR, because its stand in the way of the growth and yield promises of an (unbridled) BIG DATA industry.
And so with the JEFTA European and Japanese digital companies are granted far-reaching rights, which are still curtailed and regulated by the EU-GDPR.
For example, the JEFTA especially protects the companies which bundle data, by doing e.g. they do not need to disclose their source codes.
The JEFTA also means a step backwards in the area of the corruption protection!
Because although the EU Commission itself had already made a binding decision in 2015 to include anti-corruption clauses in its trade agreements
and the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement TPP, which also includes Japan, has anchored extensive anti-corruption clauses as well as the G20 states,
which also includes Japan and some EU member states, affirm for years to fight corruption and especially Japan itself has an extensive anti-corruption
legislation, the JEFTA completely lacks an anti-corruption chapter.
The JEFTA is also written in the spirit and in the practice of the neoliberalism! It is unilaterally oriented only to the interests of the economy!
All areas of the market will be further deregulated and liberalized with this agreement, and existing labor, environmental, consumer, data and
anti-corruption standards can and may be further reduced with the JEFTA.
And there too the JEFTA was also anchored in international law, its treaty content has also a constitutional rank for all contracting states.
And thus, the project of installing of a neoliberal and in international law anchored economic constitution, from which all systemic and societal areas
are to be regulated and determined, is pushed further, which in practice, due to the anchoring in international law, means nothing other than the
further dismantling of the democracy.
Also as with the CETA, especially with the JEFTA it becomes clear that meanwhile all necessary achievements, that is, really everything that might even
stand in the way of a maximum profit striving, will be successively abolished again. As here i.a. with the abolition of the precautionary principle,
the abolition of health and safety standards, the abolition of labor and labor protection standards, the abolition or erosion of the European Convention
on Human Rights, the abolition of data protection and anti-corruption.
Here to the official website of the European Commission for the JEFTA! >>
The Free Trade Agreement of the EU, Australia and New Zealand
Since the end of 2018, the EU, Australia and New Zealand are negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement. These negotiations are still in their
infancy, the first introductory and exploratory talks have just been held (as of February 2019).
Due to the massive protests against the CETA, these negotiations should be fully transparent.
As well the citizens should be able to get involved in the negotiation process via a website.
Of course, these civil society submissions have no legal force, and whether they will even be taken into account in the contract negotiations at all
is more than questionable.
Because the example of the "New EU Copyright Reform" has already shown that the proposals, which were officially requested by the EU Commission
and which were then submitted in many forms by many stakeholders, have not been taken into consideration.
Because in order to be able to contribute anything, especially in Brussels, you need a lot of time and even more money, which usually only lobbyists
Moreover, in Brussels, as in all other parliaments, it is wonderful to see, how it gets over time more and more difficult for the Members of Parliament
and representatives to defend their own convictions when they have to fear for their future.
Here to the to date official website of the European Commission for this free trade agreement (as of July 2018)! >>
With the beginning of the presidency of Donald Trump, the negotiations on the TTIP were actually canceled. But now it is slowly starting to resume
In contrast to the free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand, the negotiations on the TTIP are again completely secretly conducted.
The fact that the free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand is being negotiated transparently is probably due to the fact that this is a rather
small market volume and therefore this agreement is, from the EU point of view, of secondary importance.
Likewise, with this approach, the goal should be pursued that the civil society, so to speak, works off about this agreement and so the TTIP as possible
stays under the radar.
Because with the TTIP would be the largest free trade agreement in the world to date, with a market with over 850 million people.
Moreover, the USA is, of course, the world's largest and most powerful economic power, a world power in which not a cultural struggle “left-wing”
against “right-wing” is led, but in which behind this "cultural struggle" in truth a fight rich against poor, elite against non-elite, established against
non-established hides. And of course, this world power does not want a transparent insight into its thinking, actions, projects and practices.
Because the power, one's own economic status and one's own position in the society can best be maintained if the existing one exists and, in principle,
everything continues as before.
To date, there are no new official publications on the new TTIP negotiations (as of February 2019).