Monday, March 17, 2008

The secret life of SPP

The term "Sub Rosa" (literally "under the rose") was coined to indicate discussions that were to be secret; not to be disclosed to anyone outside the Sub Rosa group. Today we can substitute "SPP" (Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement) for Sub Rosa because all discussions and agreements reached by government and business representatives of Canada, Mexico and the United States are too important to share with the public for whom they are acting. In the case of the United States, discussions and agreements are too important to also share with congress.

Thanks to Jerome Corsi and WorldNet Daily we now know an unreported meeting was held recently at the State Department for the purpose of discussing "integration of the U.S., Mexico and Canada in concert with a move toward a transatlantic union, linking a North American community with the European Union". The Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, or ACIEP, conducted the meeting under what are called "Chatham House" rules that prohibit reporters from attributing specific comments to individual participants. "Present at the meeting were about 25 ACIEP members; among them being U.S. corporations involved in international trade, prominent U.S. business trade groups, law firms involved with international business law, international investment firms and other international trade consultants", but no members of Congress attended the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was stated in the agenda: review the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, another name for SPP, and the previously virtually unreported "U.S.-EU Transatlantic Economic Council", or TEC. The trilateral SPP originated by declaration of government leaders in 2005 and has about 20 working groups of bureaucrats that seek to "integrate and harmonize" administrative rules and regulations of the three countries on a continental basis. Participants are said by Corsi to have based discussions on the premise that the purpose of SPP "is to create a North American business platform to benefit North America-based multi-national companies the way the European Union benefits its own". Others indicated further that the premise of the Transatlantic Economic council is to create a convergence of administrative rules and regulations between Europe and North America, anticipating the creation of a "Transatlantic Economic Union" between the European Union and North America.

An objective observer becoming knowledgeable about these important aims of the discussions would conclude that congress and the public should be kept informed of such momentous concepts which affect the lives of all American citizens but apparently our government leaders believe more can be accomplished "Sub Rosa" without the interference of public discourse or congress.

A list of participants seeking de facto, but not de jure, agreement by Canada, Mexico and the United States of SPP reads like a "who's who" of mega industry, their legal representatives and the government. A complete membership list of the current 60-person Advisory Committee on International Policy is published on the State Department website. But, for example, just a few of those present at this meeting were labor leaders, corporate officers from General Electric, Exxon Mobil, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Archer Daniels Midland, United Parcel Service, Citibank, Proctor & Gamble, Hunt Oil, CMS Energy, Boeing, 3M, Goldman Sachs and Cargill; and corporate legal advisors such as Theodore W. Kassinger, Partner at O'Melveny & Myers, LLP, (who serves as Chairman), Nancy Zucker Boswell, Managing Director of Transparency International, and Thea Lee, Policy Director of the AFL-CIO, (serving as Vice Chairmen).

It is not rocket science to realize why leaders of large (really large) businesses are interested in having SPP implemented - in a few words - bigger business and profits. However what is surprising is that our president is so fervently on board with this enormous undertaking to benefit business, and in an unpublicized way. Considering the motivation for SPP, it is perhaps easier to now understand the foot-dragging on closing out borders and stemming illegal immigration by this administration.

Currently transatlantic trade is 40 percent of all world trade. Mega business wants trade and non-trade barriers further reduced to maintain and expand their market share and this can be best achieved if a framework of SPP is put in place to advance transatlantic economic integration. Looking beyond mere transatlantic business integration to enhance business and profits, some corporations in North America have already moved beyond the continent and have focused attention on adopting a global perspective that transcends even the transatlantic market.

Corsi reports participants at the meeting as saying "Supply chains and markets are everywhere". "What's to stop global corporations from going after the cheapest labor available globally, wherever they can find it, provided the cost of transporting goods globally can be managed economically?"

Regional alliances like NAFTA, SPP and the European Union are important, if only to put in place the institutional bases that ultimately would lead to global governance on uniform global administrative regulations favorable to multi-national corporations.

Again according to Corsi, - "North America should be a premiere platform to establish continental institutions," a participant said. "That's why we need to move the security perimeters to include the whole continent, especially as we open the borders between North American countries for expanding free trade."

There are several reasons why administrative rules and regulations need to be integrated by SPP in North America and by the Transatlantic Economic Council, bridging together European Union and North American market to enhance international business:

o "Standardization - to keep prices low and productivity high;

o Investment - for every $1 traded, $4 is invested; right now 75 percent of investment in the U.S. comes from the EU, and 52 percent of the investment in the EU comes from the U.S.;

o Productivity Improvements - to lower production costs and stimulate trade; and

o Open Borders - to facilitate the free movement of labor to markets where employment opportunities are available. The discussion pointed out the SPP trilateral working groups and the Transatlantic Economic Council was being supported by top-level Cabinet officers and the heads of state in both the EU and in North America".

Those seeking advancement of SPP have some concern that the next president may not have the same sympathies and loyalties to mega business that George Bush has. Clinton, Obama and McCain have indicated some protectionist tendencies despite the Democrat's reliance on support from unions. In particular, participants at the ACIEP meeting are worried that both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have mentioned renegotiating NAFTA, for example. Furthermore, political candidates could be expected to argue "protectionist themes opposed to global economic integration" and are not, at least at this point, committed to take what they regard as "aggressive steps once in office" as has George Bush.

However, at least a few union leaders are part of the insider group of SPP supporters. It appears that their long term vision is to increase union membership by forming global worker unions, with them in charge of course. One can imagine the economic havoc such international unions can reek under threat of global strikes. Therefore, it is certainly a realistic possibility union leaders will be able to convince the Democrat candidate, and a future Democrat president, to follow in the Bush footsteps and support the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement and its implementation on a global basis after successful achievement of the North American Union SPP envisages.

Success of SPP hinges on convincing the people in the three countries of North America to subvert nationalism to regionalism. This may be more difficult in the United States perhaps than in the other countries but we cannot underestimate the power of the SPP supporters in and out of government. There are concerns that national regulators in North America and Europe may be too reluctant to abandon "provincial regulatory advantages". As Corsi has noted regarding one participant's comments, "Regulators by nature are advocates, and they are hard to move," one participant grumbled. "What we need is more diplomats and negotiators to identify solutions, otherwise the bureaucrats will bog down the progress we need to see coming out of the SPP and TEC"; more "diplomats" indeed, that's just what we need, say I sarcastically.

If this isn't bad enough, also said at the meeting again according to Corsi, "North America is already an integrated continental economy and a continental-wide business platform," and "What we need now is more regulatory convergence. Harmonized mean that once approved the same set of administrative regulations and procedures ought to be ready throughout NAFTA, SPP and the TEC". If we start with "regulations and procedures", can harmonizing laws be far behind - and what happens to our constitutional rights?

Do you see where this is heading and what these people have in mind? Should this be something to be developed in secret apart from congressional oversight and public knowledge, or do you agree with me that this has become the secret life of SPP?

No comments: