International

Partnership or Putsch?

In 2010, Gordon Lafer sat across the table from Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel, who was responsible for negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the mega-regional free-trade treaty among Vietnam, Malaysia, and ten other Pacific Rim countries that President Barack Obama's administration wants to conclude in the coming weeks.

Scaife-Funded Network Works Hard to Kill Immigration Reform

-- By Katie Lorenze

With immigration reform advancing through Congress, an anti-immigrant network funded by a small group of right-wing foundations is trying to kill reform by pressuring moderate Republicans and appealing to the party's xenophobic wing. The groups could stymie efforts by some Republicans to appeal to the country's growing Latino population by moving to the center on immigration.

Big Oil and the U.S. Chamber Fight to Keep Foreign Bribery Flourishing

by Sara Jerving and Mary Bottari

American Petroleum Institute logoIn a new lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), big energy extractors are pushing for carte blanche in their interactions with foreign governments, making it harder to track whether their deals are padding the coffers of dictators, warlords, or crony capitalists. The United States Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the National Foreign Trade Council filed a lawsuit on October 10, 2012 against a new SEC rule, which requires U.S. oil, mining and gas companies to formally disclose payments made to foreign governments as part of their annual SEC reporting.

WTO Not So COOL: Rules Against Popular U.S. Meat Labeling Law

The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling today against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. This popular pro-consumer policy, which informs shoppers where meat and other foods were raised or grown, enjoys the support of 93% of Americans, according to a 2010 Consumers Union poll. Now Congress must gut or change the law to avoid the application of punitive trade sanctions.

Senegal's Democracy in Jeopardy as Runoff Election Looms

Senegal electionsDemocracy is on the rocks in the West African nation of Senegal, where the streets have been the scene of violent clashes between police and protesters over a controversial presidential election. The riots, which have engulfed the nation over the past few weeks, erupted in response to incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade's quest for a third term -- which his opponents deem unconstitutional.

Industry Documents Expose Nordic Tobacco Companies' Conspiratorial Behavior

No SmokingIn the 1970s, Nordic countries were among the first to adopt policies against tobacco, like bans on cigarette advertising, health warning labels and smoke-free laws, but U.S.-owned tobacco companies, and particularly Philip Morris, makers of Marlboro, became concerned such polices could spread to America and other developed countries where they sold cigarettes. Also, Europe's first product liability case against the tobacco industry occurred in Finland in 1988, when a smoker sued several companies claiming their products caused his illness, causing even more concern for global tobacco companies. To help escape product liability claims, Nordic tobacco companies -- like Amer Tobacco and Rettig, which distributed Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds brands, respectively -- long claimed to be ignorant of, and denied participation in the multinational tobacco companies' global strategies to undermine anti-tobacco policies, but industry documents reveal the truth -- that smaller Nordic tobacco companies did, in fact, participate in the multinational companies’ long-time conspiracy to deny the health dangers of smoking and undermine anti-tobacco policies, helping delay key effective tobacco control measures, and particularly smoke-free laws, for years.

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