German judges dealt a blow to EU-US free trade agreement talks after declaring a proposed arbitration court illegal.
The European Commission last September proposed setting up an investment tribunal court that would allow firms to challenge government decisions as part of its larger Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Critics says the new court, which is intended to replace a much loathed investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system, will pressure governments into clawing back consumer protection rights and environmental standards in favour of corporate interest.
Earlier this week, the German Association of Magistrates, a Berlin-based judicial umbrella organisation, said it "sees neither a legal basis nor a need for such a court".
It says existing national courts are good enough and that efforts by the Commission to create a new court undermines jurisdictions across the Union.
"The German Magistrates Association sees no need for the establishment of a special court for investors," it states.
It says the new investor court would alter national court systems "and deprive courts of member states of their power."
The European Commission is broadly relying on promises from the US authorities that they will protect the fundamental rights of EU citizens on a data transfer deal that has no legal text.
Details of how the new EU US Privacy Shield will work in practice remain vague as threats emerge of a possible legal challenge in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg.
The deal, announced after two years of talks, replaces a loophole-riddled Safe Harbour agreement that was declared invalid by the EJC last October following media revelations of a US-led global digital dragnet.
Some 4,000 US firms had relied on Safe Harbour for 15 years, with hundreds having made false claims they adhered to the pact.
It will take weeks before the new deal launches, meaning the companies will now have to sign up to other transfer regimes or face possible fines.
The chair of the EU's main privacy regulatory body, the article 29 working party, Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (3 February) it was unable to give any preliminary assessment of Privacy Shield.
One of the remaining issues is how to establish clear rules on data processing. Another is how to determine whether US intelligence access to personal data is necessary and proportionate.
Despite moves by the US administration to prevent mass surveillance and boost privacy rules, its current laws remain substandard for EU data regulators.
"We still have concerns of the US legal framework", said Falque-Pierrotin.
She called for independent oversight of US intelligence and the ability for EU citizens to defend their rights.
Obama just quietly signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of the biggest multinational trade deals in history that aims to break down trade barriers between countries comprising 40 percent of the global economy, in New Zeala
Yep. It’s done.
Obama didn’t even sign it in person. He sent sent U.S. trade representative Michael Froman on his behalf.
Senator Jeff Sessions said the White House downplayed the news because the administration realizes how unhappy the public will be when the realization hits.
A Tufts University study found the TPP will cost nearly 450,000 American jobs in the next nine years.
The core narrative of central bank/cartel capitalism is centralized agencies have the power to limit downturns and extend credit-based “good times” almost indefinitely. The centralized power bag of tricks includes fiscal policies such as deficit spending to boost “aggregate demand” in downturns and monetary policies such as lowering interest rates to zero and buying assets, a.k.a. quantitative easing.
If we crawl under the barbed wire and escape the ideological Keynesian Concentration Camp, we find thinkers such as Ugo Bardi, John Michael Greer andDimitry Orlov, whose work explores the dynamics of collapse, resilience and sustainability.
All three have added a great deal to my own (emerging) understanding of the many dynamics of collapse.
We can summarize the dynamics of collapse in many ways; here’s one:collapse is latent fragility manifesting. A familiar (and tragic) health analogy offers an example: a middle-aged man doesn’t appear ill, a bit thick around the middle perhaps, but neither he nor his intimates can see the fragility of his clogged arteries and blood-starved heart. Seemingly “out of the blue,” the man has a massive heart attack and passes from this Earth, to the shock of everyone who knew him.
Financial collapse isn’t “out of the blue,” any more than a heart attack is “out of the blue.”Actions and choices have consequences, and as resilience and redundancy are slowly stripped from complex systems, systemic fragility builds beneath the surface. At some difficult-to-predict point, a threshold is reached and the complex system fails.
In the financial realm, fragility builds as the system relies ever more heavily on marginal lenders, borrowers, buyers and investments for its “growth.” The current “recovery” (smirk) is completely dependent on marginal lenders (China’s shadow banking), borrowers (auto buyers taking subprime 7-year loans), buyers (corrupt Chinese officials buying $3 million homes in Vancouver B.C. with their ill-gotten gains) and investments (empty malls, empty factories, stock buy-backs, etc.).
The problem for “growth” based on the fragile margins is that the entire system becomes fragile as a direct result of this dependence on fragile margins. The current global real estate bubble is predicated on one condition: that the supply of corrupt Chinese officials fleeing China with ill-gotten millions to invest overseas is endless.
But no supply of corrupt officials, even in China, is truly endless, and markets based on this thin edge of corrupt capital will collapse once the corrupt capital dries up.
The same can be said of marginal oil production, marginal auto/truck buyers, marginal cafes, marginal malls, etc. When fragile (i.e. highly risky) shadow banking becomes a dominant force in credit, the system itself becomes fragile.
Conventional economists are entirely blind to system fragility. There is no ready Keynesian Cargo Cult econometric formula that measures systemic fragility, so it simply doesn’t exist within conventional economics.
This is why financial panics and collapses always appear (like fatal heart attacks) to be “out of the blue” to conventional economics.
I propose that the Global Recession of 2016 will trace the Seneca Cliff as described by Ugo Bardi. This application may not align with Bardi’s own work, and I want to make it clear this application is my own, not Bardi’s. But I think a strong case can be made that the global financial/economic system is primed for a ride down the Seneca Cliff:
But, don’t take our word for it. Here’s the reality of the situation, as reported by Zero Hedge. Pay special attention to the “red” lines.
We have previously shown just how bad the situation in the US heavy trucking space – trucks with a gross weight over 33K pounds – was most recently in “US Trucking Has Not Been This Bad Since The Financial Crisis” in which we looked at November data and found, that “Class 8 truck net orders at 16,475, were 59% below a year ago and the lowest level since September 2012. This was the weakest November order activity since 2009 and was a major disappointment, coming in significantly below expectations. All of the OEMs, except one, experienced unusually low orders for the month.”
For those who missed the proverbial wheels falling of the heavy trucks, so to speak, the charts below do the situation justice:
So with 2015 in the history books, and as we start 2016 where the base effect was supposed to make the annual comps far more palatable, we just got the latest, January data. In short: the drop continues to be one of Great Recession proportions, manifesting in yet another massive 48% collapse in truck orders in the first month of the year as demand appears to have gone in a state of deep hibernation.