This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
How does APEC
benef|t or harm Hawa||
and other Pac|f|c Is|ands?
Im|pono Projects Pamph|et Ser|es
Moana Nui is sponsored by an independent partnership between the
International Forum on Globalization and Pua Mohala I Ka Po.
You can find out more information at MoanaNui2011.org or find us
The views contained in this pamphlet are neither the views of Pua The views contained in this pamphlet are neither the views of Pua
Mohala I Ka Po and its members, nor the International Forrum on Glo-
balization and their associates, as it is expressedly the views of Imi
1) C|arçes |o reçu|a||ors or seaoed r|r|rç |r ||e Pac|l|c are
oe|rç d|scussed ard currer||y oe|rç c|a||erçed oy 0reerpeace
ard wor|d w||d||le Furd. Tec|ro|oç|es |||e ||ose used |r ||e
recer| 0u|l-o|| d|sas|er r|s| çrave-d|sas|er |o reel ard lraç||e
|s|ard eco-sys|ers ||rea|er|rç o|od|vers||y |r ||e Pac|l|c.
2) T|e recer| rass|ve ou||d-up ol r||||ar|za||or |r ||e Pac|l|c |s 2) T|e recer| rass|ve ou||d-up ol r||||ar|za||or |r ||e Pac|l|c |s
a|ready s|ra|r|rç ||e ra|ura| ard ecoror|c resources ol peop|es
|r 0||raWa, C|eju, 0uar, laWa|| ard ||e Vars|a|| ls|ards. lr
0uar, lor etarp|e, ||e u.3. r||||ary |s prepar|rç |o rerove |Wo
r||es ol pr|s||re reel |o ou||d a par||rç |o| lor ar a|rcral| carr|er.
3) lr Rapa |u| (Eas|er ls|ard), ||e C|||ear çoverrrer| |as |||e 3) lr Rapa |u| (Eas|er ls|ard), ||e C|||ear çoverrrer| |as |||e-
ça||y so|d oll |rd|çerous |ard |o lore|çr |rarsra||ora|s. Ear||er
|||s year, C|||ear po||ce s|o| urarred pro|es|ers lor occupy|rç
||e|r |ore|ard. As lore|çr corpar|es see| |o ou||d rore
|o|e|s, ||e çoverrrer| ol C|||e |s a|r|rç |o ou||d a por| lor
|our|sr ard ||e r||||ary, W||c| W||| pu| a lur||er s|ra|r or ||e
a|ready ||r||ed resources ol ||e |s|ard ard ||s peop|e.
4) Trarsra||ora| corpora||ors are |eas|rç Wa|er ard l|s|ery
r|ç||s lror ¯coopera||rç¨ çoverrrer|s, prever||rç |oca| l|s|er-
peop|e ard corrur|||es lror ||e|r |rad|||ora| s|eWards||p over
||e ||r||ed ard lraç||e ocear lood resources. lr V|crores|a lor
etarp|e, ||e |oca| larrers ard l|s|erpeop|e |ave oeer a||er-
a|ed lror corpe||rç |r ||e rar|e| oy |arçe lore|çr corpora|e
5) T|e ellec|s ol c||ra|e c|arçe |s a Wor|d-W|de |ssue ard |r ||e
Pac|l|c ||e r|s|rç ||de ard rare Wea||er pa||errs are des|ao|||z|rç
our |urar ard erv|rorrer|a| resources. Cor||rued aouse oy
|rves|rer| reç|res W||| or|y acce|era|e ||e des|ruc||or ol our
reç|ors o|od|vers||y ard lraç||e ecosys|er W|||e lur||er a||era|-
|rç |rd|çerous lar|||es ard corrur|||es lror ||e|r |rad|||ora|
ê) As a resu|| ol pr|va|e r|r|rç |rves|rer|s |r ||e lrdores|ar
co|ory ol wes| Papua, ||e arry |as aççress|ve|y oeer l|ç|||rç
W||| ||e |rd|çerous popu|a||or ol wes| Papua W|ose |rad|||ora|
|ards are oe|rç |eased ard razed lor r|r|rç.
T|ese are ou| a sra|| etarp|e ol ||e s|ruçç|es We lace |r ||e Pac|l|c as a d|rec| resu|| ol
perpe|ua||rç r||||ar|za||or, lree-|rade ard |rves|rer| reç|res ||rouç| reç|ora| ecoror|c
ard s|ra|eç|c lorurs |||e APEC.
To get some perspective, APEC is 43% of global trade, 60% of US
exports, representing 40% of the world population.
APEC`s stated goal is the ' APEC`s stated goal is the 'promotion of free-trade and investments in
the region and whose members make commitments to liberalizing regu-
lations on trade and investment¨. As we have seen with the 2008 finan-
cial collapse, the credit market has collapsed for working families, yet
the investment regime is moving forward with huge, environmentally
destructive projects that further alienate indigenous peoples from their
Financial institutions and corporations are the largest recipients of this
ongoing exploitation of people and resources. The Pacific Ocean is
about one-third the size of the earth, and it is what many Pacific Island-
ers from across these vast distances historically call 'Moana Nui¨ (vast
This is the first time an international economic conference of this mag-
nitude is taking place in Hawaii, on the shores of the United States
Pacific Command Center. Over $45 million is being spent on funding
the security of APEC 2011 and over 15,000 people, including dignitar-
ies, business executives, government trade ministers and representatives
of financial institutions will be in attendance.
We need your help to raise raise funds and help build coalitions that will
confront the APEC forum from further economic exploitation of our
vital region. Your contributions will advance the restoration of the tra-
ditional stewardship of our land and ocean resources, a tradition that
considers the balance of people and planet, placing it above profit.
For information or to make donations, go to MoanaNui2011.org
The organizers of Moana Nui 2011 are
raising funds and building coalition
that will help to bring attention to the
present situation: the unyielding influ-
ence of dominant economic powers
surrounding Moana Nui.
This November 2011, APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation will be
holding a two-week, 21-nation forum in Hawaii.
The APEC 2011 Hawaii Host Committee is promoting this as an economic oppor-
tunity that will benefit Hawaii and increase state revenue by a projected $120 million
for 2011. Considering that $45 million dollars are going into the security alone,
Hawaii is spending big to ensure that there will be a favorable opportunity created
for attracting the big transnational investments in agricultural development, energy,
tourism, and other environmental or service sectors that exploit the use of Hawaii`s
environmental and human resources.
To be clear, the impact of this forum will provide Hawaii`s business and finance
community with economic gains, but arguably, it will do so at the expense of long-
term environmental consequences while furthering economic disparities. I`ll explain
further, but first, we should understand who APEC is.
Currently APEC is a 21-nation club of primarily industrialized or emerging econo-
mies. It began in 1989, just as free-market deregulations and trade liberalizations
were fostering economic advantages to industrialized nations-and it began at a time
when we began to see a greater consolidation of corporate power across nations,
which meant less government regulations, a weakening labor force as well as weak-
ening environmental regulations.
As economic policy, free-market deregulations and free-trade liberalization were
created in Washington during the Reagan-era, in what some refer to as the ~Wash-
ington Consensus¨-This Washington Consensus established neo-liberal economic
policy in all market sectors among cooperating nations, and it was done so in coop-
eration with international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank, and this
policy helped shape the World Trade Organization when it was founded in 1995.
This new economic policy was a corporate transnational endeavor that motivated the
massive outsourcing of manufacturing to countries with fewer environmental and
labor regulations and established conditions of trade that demanded less government
restrictions while creating opportunities for more private investment by corporate
What is APEC for Hawaii and Pacific Islands?
3) have undermined any alternative economic relations that could have been devel-
4) undermined land tenure and management systems, putting it into the hands of
Most importantly, this neo-liberal free-market/free-trade regime that APEC repre-
sents, is guilty of preventing the world from adopting stricter environmental stan-
dards that could have reduced greenhouse gas emissions, minimized climate change,
and invested in our economies and technologies to prioritize environmental steward-
ship and resource management over degradation and depletion. For those who
claim that the opening of global markets was a necessary step to attain the technolo-
gies for a global green or blue economy, I would argue that this policy has instead
stunted global markets by limiting our capacity to steward our resources in an equi-
table and sustainable way. Further, as the neo-liberal economic regime appears to
have now embraced environmental strategies by slowly acknowledging the 1992
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is nothing more
than PR. The institutions that helped shape and define the neo-liberal agenda are
the same to have rejected the Framework on Climate Change.
For fair-trade, slow growth advocates, there is an alternative conference preceding
APEC, called Moana Nui that will discuss how an alternative people`s economy
might develop, and what a free and independent Pacific might look like if indigenous
peoples were to steward their own environmental and human resources. The three
main perspectives being discussed are Pacific Island Economic Independence,
Environmental Degradation and Resource Depletion and Demilitarization. From
these perspectives we`ll be engaging in local issues relevant to fisher persons,
farmers, food sovereignty practitioners, energy independence advocates, those in the farmers, food sovereignty practitioners, energy independence advocates, those in the
public education and public health sectors, and we`ll explore how that applies to the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Pacific Island economic indi-
cators, Decolonization, Militarization and Resistance in the Asia Pacific, Globaliza-
tion, Transnationalism, APEC, the TPP, PICTA and other trade agreements. We aim
to write a Declaration declaring the right of indigenous stewardship to our lands,
peoples and resources and present that to the economic regime.
To reiterate, the impact of this APEC forum will provide Hawaii`s business and
finance community with short-term economic gains, but it will do so at the expense
of long-term environmental consequences while furthering economic disparities.
What can we do to let transnational investment regimes know that they are not
welcome-not just for Hawaii - but for the Pacific and all the peoples of our liquid
nation, Moana Nui?
WHO IS APEC?
time since essentially the Marshall Plan in 1948, there is a major international trade
agreement of this magnitude between non-dollar local currencies, the RMB and the
ruble. Led by China, it is likely that BRICS will create an alternative international
Thirdly, the new shipping port in Najin in North Korea`s Rajin-Sonbong Economic
Zone, near the border where China, North Korea and Russia intersect will give China
unbridled manufacturing advantage by quickly and efficiently shipping commodity
resources down through the East Sea between Japan and South Korea-coinciden-
tally, right near Jeju island where the US is investing in a new military base-
straight into the manufacturing corridor of Guangzhou province. This by itself will
exponentially increase China`s productivity, which South Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
would like try to contain.
As a result of China`s wage increases and their blossoming middle class, manufac-
turing interests are investing in places to exploit with less regulated labor and
resources. Regionally, Vietnam and the Philippines are two of those nations that
have the infrastructure and resources to compete with China in manufacturing costs,
and I`d argue that many of these and related geo-political factors with China have
shaped US strategic policy with the Pacific Islands by developing a regional interest
in keeping the Pacific US-led.
The ~Pacific Plan¨
How this economic and strategic hegemony is being negotiated for Pacific Islands
is through bilateral or regional trade agreements or frameworks-- like PICTA and
PACER, the Pacific Agreement of Closer Economic Relations. All are part of
what Asst. Secretary of State Kurt Campbell refers to as the 'Pacific Plan,¨ and is
being promoted by the Pacific Island Forum/Secretariat and powerful Pacific Island-
ers like U.S. Congressman Eni Faleomavaega, representing U.S regional interests in
security and trade.
By themselves, there may be good intentions contained within the Pacific Plan and
the trade agreements pertaining to economic integration, but its brilliance is only as
bright as the integrity behind them. Unfortunately this brilliance is tarnished by a
broken system that began in the early 1990s and has now run its course. The neo-
liberal free-market, free-trade proponent of APEC and this investment regime,
cannot possibly deliver on its promise of prosperity for Pacific Islands, particularly
since the risks far outweigh the benefits.
It has been shown repeatedly, since the early-mid 90s-since the time of Nirvana
and Dr. Dre, since Friends premiered on NBC, or Forrest Gump and the Lion King,
just to give some perspective on time-- that these investment agreements have only:
1) undermined a key source of revenue for our governments through the removal
2) have been responsible for local business closures and loss of jobs;
What is APEC for Hawaii and Pacific Islands?
APEC was conceived when Australia hosted the first annual meeting of
Foreign and Trade Ministers from 12 Asia-Pacific economies which at that
time included, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of
Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore,
Thailand and the United States. Three years later, in 1993-- at the first
official meeting-the Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan,
Mexico, Papua/New Guinea and Chile also became full members, and since
then added Peru, Russia and Vietnam. If approved, APEC membership may then added Peru, Russia and Vietnam. If approved, APEC membership may
soon include India, Pakistan, Mongolia, Laos, Bangladesh, Costa Rica,
Columbia, Panama and Ecuador, which would bring APEC membership to
It is important to note that besides New Zealand and Papua/New Guinea,
there is a noticeable absence of Pacific Island Countries in this Asia Pacific
Economic Cooperation. The smaller, politically independent Pacific Islands,
are represented by the Pacific Island Forum, a non-voting member, while
Hawaii, Tahiti, Rapa Nui, West Papua, Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia,
etc, are still under colonial administration, under various forms of territorial
agreements. The Pacific Islands are an important and resource rich region of
the global economy, and the fact that a single Inter-Governmental Organiza the global economy, and the fact that a single Inter-Governmental Organiza-
tion, like the Pacific Island Forum/Secretariat represents the Pacific Islands
to APEC, is just wrong.
Besides the Pacific Island Forum, there are two other official observer
organizations, PECC, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, the only
official NGO observer of APEC which is a business/government think tank;
and ASEAN, the Association of S.E. Asian Nations which may soon be the
largest trade bloc, if ASEAN +3 or +6 is adopted, as it will include China,
Japan, South Korea, and India, Australia, and New Zealand, respectively.
These are the main government players, and despite regional and political
differences, all have adopted the same rules of expanded market and trade
Now just to give APEC some context- in 1993 when APEC held its first
meeting, it was also the same year the Maastricht Treaty was signed, offi-
cially creating the European Union, which standardized a supra-national
system of trade laws which applied to all the member-states, and then follow-
ing, eventually created the Euro, their single currency. A year later in 1994,
the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed between
Canada, Mexico and the US, and in 1995, the World Trade Organization was
For Pacific Islands, we only need to look as far as Nauru to
see how the system has failed. On July 18, Marcus Stephen,
the president of Nauru, published an appeal in the New York
Times Op-ed, where he addresses two sides of a crisis facing
Pacific Islands: one on 'climate change and security,¨ and the
other on 'mining.¨ Nauru was a partner to early
private/public partnerships in guano mining, and when the
APEC, like NAFTA and the EU were established under a shroud of U.S. led free-
market/free-trade principles, which went to benefit large corporations, banking and
financial institutions, key stakeholders in both government and private sectors. These
government deregulations and trade liberalizations policies-other wise known as
neo-liberalism-widened the gap between rich and poor, and pulled the rug out from
under the middle class. In its wake, neo-liberal policies created a series of credit-
based financial bubbles that have led us to where we are now-a global economic
downturn for the US and its economic partners.
To not connect the free-market/free-trade system with the collapse of global financial
institutions is like not connecting gravity with the proverbial apple that fell on
For APEC proponents to insist upon the viability of this economic system, these
free market/free-trade adherents might argue that the economic downturn is tempo-
rary. Of course, their predictions could very well be realized if indeed-and only
if-these free-market/free-trade advocates get their way and are allowed to liberalize
all government regulations and further exploit all the environmental and human
resources it wants to, but even that won`t last long, because as we have seen, particu-
larly in regard to developing economies, this system consumes what it needs and
abandons the carcass when it is through.
resource was exhausted, it left Nauru with few economic alternatives and one of
the highest unemployment rates in the world. Stephens writes, ¨Nauru has begun
an intensive program to restore the damage done by mining, and my administration
has put environmental sustainability at the center of our policymaking. Making our
island whole again will be a long and difficult process, but it is our home and we
cannot leave it for another one.' This sentiment is echoed throughout many of the
smaller Pacific Island nations.
George Bush, the elder, refered to this new
free-trade/free market neo-liberalism, aka
Globalization as the 'New World Order.¨
What is APEC for Hawaii and Pacific Islands?
Despite protests, Pacific Island governments are signing environmentally unfavor-
able lease agreements with transnational mining corporations and it is creating an
atmosphere of competition with neighboring island nations, driving fears that they
will lose franchise opportunity, as well as adjoining economic benefits to the next
island nation these investors come knocking to. Mining, again, is just an example,
because there are many other trade sectors to consider.
cation or health options, as well as limiting our labor opportunities. Whether we like
it or not, we are in the midst of colonialism 4.0.
What makes this new colonialism a steroid driven monster, is not only because
of these transnational investment agreements. China is a unique player, and they
have grown their economy-as well as their middle-class-as a result of having
been that country that lowered labor and environmental standards to become the
manufacturing export giant it is. Now China is applying that development ethic to
smaller Pacific Islands and China`s success threatens US regional influence as China
has developed partnerships with other US cooperating partners, creating further
competition over resources. competition over resources.
Although this is another discussion entirely, I believe it needs some attention. The
conditions that are driving the competition with China, as well as China`s aggression
towards the Philippines and Vietnam over seabed mining rights in the South China
Sea is, in part, the Trans-Pacific Strategic and Economic Partnership. The TPPA,
excludes China, and claims the sea territories around Brunei and °beyond¨ Singa-
pore. Vietnam and the Philippines have committed to signing the TPPA at APEC,
and China, in lieu of not formally claiming any position regarding this anti-China
strategic and economic agreement is in my opinion, simply flexing muscle. strategic and economic agreement is in my opinion, simply flexing muscle.
Here are three scenarios as to why the geo-politics of China`s power appears to
be threatening U.S. hegemony in the Pacific. First off, is the success of the BRICS
partnership - Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa-which are the fastest
growing energing markets making up a sizable percentage of the global GDP, while
bringing up other emerging markets as well.
Second, the recent 2010 China-Russia deal alienates the US economic cooperation
as it undermines the very fundamental of our economic base, because for the first
There are military dredging projects in Guam and
Jeju, massive housing developments to support
military and private sector infrastructure, there are
the ongoing struggles over water privatization,
struggles over the leasing of public lands to private
industrial/agricultural/bio-fuel development-- all
these industries further displace peoples, affecting
every facet of our lives, from what we eat, our edu every facet of our lives, from what we eat, our edu
tional corporations often took huge losses over their investments, and now, many of
these large corporate investors rely upon investment treaties that protect investors
with a means of redress should 'problems¨ arise.
Quickly, treaties are defined as agreements between two or more nations, however
Investment Treaties, negotiated by governments, give investors the right to submit
disputes with other governments to international arbitration, with no requirement to
use that country's domestic courts. This is a destructive system and countries that
have had the revolutionary will to resist it have won, through regime change. But one
of the disadvantages of small island nations is that although we are resource rich, our
populations are small and isolated. This allows corrupt governments greater control
over our populations, because over our populations, because history has shown that the military can exert tremen-
dous influence in our region without ever firing a shot.
Because of our geographical realities, placing Pacific Islands Nations alongside the
South American and MENA examples for economic change may seem less than
desirable, but it is also important to understand that APEC is a different monster. For
one, APEC is a forum where trade agreements, or if not agreements, then 'Frame-
works¨ or lesser pathfinder agreements are signed. For the Pacific and Pacific
Islanders, because of our varied political histories, trade has been determined by
colonizing influences and so we are faced with great disadvantages within these
Currently, seabed mining, which is a relatively new technology, is coming under a
lot of resistance by activists in Papua/New Guinea. Nautilus, a Canadian mining
firm, has leased from the PNG government, mineral-mining rights in their EEZ-
their Exclusive Economic Zone. There is speculation of gold, silver, nickel,
REMs-rare earth minerals used for the manufacturing of computer and high-tech
devices, and mining is being rushed into the deep seabed without the proper environ-
mental impact studies to the biodiversity of reefs and ocean-life.
The PNG government has already signed the investment agreements, so even if
this mining impacts fisheries in the region, should accidents occur, like with the
Deepwater Horizon vessel in the Gulf last year, it will be the PNG government-
thus its people-that will be responsible for its cleanup. Does Papua/New Guinea,
Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, New Zealand, the other islands negotiating
deep-sea mining agreements, have the expertise and management in place to follow
through with environmental and technological regulations? Can small island nations
safeguard potential risks imposed by transnational industrial firms that have no
stake in the region, other than its profit share? Again, we just need to look at the
handling of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to see that governments are ill prepared,
and that these corporations do not have the capacity to prioritize the environment in
As we begin to understand what the APEC forum is and why Pacific Islanders
need to resist it, arguments of development and aid packages providing for jobs,
health benefits, and opportunities surface. It may be legitimate and true to suggest
that many Pacific Islands are economically under-developed and are in need of aid
and opportunity. But it is also important to understand that many of those investment
packages negotiated inside regional forums like APEC are responsible for perpetuat-
ing debilitating social and environmental conditions.
ADB, the Asian Development Bank for example, has been a leading donor to
Pacific Islands and along with the IMF, development banks promote a kind of loan
program to Pacific Island governments, technically called 'Structural Adjustment
loans.¨ Structural Adjustment loans are conditional loans provided to countries that
open themselves up to the free market, in other words, receive aid on the condition
that governments deregulate polices on sectors like labor, energy, water and the envi-
ronment, while liberalizing their markets by opening it up to industrial and corporate
foods and other trade sectors. To note, these are often the same foods and crop that foods and other trade sectors. To note, these are often the same foods and crop that
have been shown to negatively impact the health of pacific islanders, and further
alienate people from their land and seas. As food and crop are often the first sector to
enter into emerging markets, health care is quick to follow.
These negotiations that take place in APEC, like the Trans Pacific Partnership
Agreements or other bilateral or regional free-trade agreements like PICTA-- the
Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement, exert tremendous influence on smaller
nations. One example of how this system exacts profits for its stakeholders, is that
transnational corporations franchise industries within regions, the same way fast-
food or mini marts are franchised in neighborhoods, and so because countries are led
to believe that they need to compete for investment with other countries in the
region, governments are often willing to compromise long term environmental
security or in some cases, the traditional needs of its people.
Unfortunately, these arrangements are held together by legally binding investment
agreements, and the impact of these agreements often alienate peoples from their tra-
ditional livelihoods, often jeopardizing food and water security, housing, health, and
other economic securities. As a result of labor disputes for example, corporations
might import cheaper labor from other islands, destabilizing security and undermin-
ing any kind of long-term, meaningful equitable solutions that actually benefits
workers and families, as promised. This is a system that rewards consumption while
strangling meaningful job creation. There are many alternative and viable economic
strategies worth examining, yet it is these entrenched free-market /free-trade advo-
cates that refuse to abandon their stakeholder shares.
As if this were not bad enough, there are what are called 'Implementing Arrange-
ments¨ written into trade frameworks or treaty agreements, and this is a nice way of
saying, 'if there`s a problem, we`ll give em an offer they can`t refuse¨-speaking of
course about the military or private security firms contracted to protect transnational
How this is justified in the eyes of the investment regimes is that these investment
agreements are heard in the supra-national WTO court in Geneva and these courts
generally rule in favor of the agreement. Locally, these conflicts can take a long
time to resolve and sometimes stop production. Investments in large-scale mining or
port projects require tremendous coordination and commitments of support by equity
stakeholders, even though these investments often displace peoples and destroy envi-
ronments as is the case in the current mining development in West Papua. Invest-
ment regimes require these implementing arrangements to protect the investors, and
if disputes cannot be resolved, then military or private military contractors may inter-
cede on behalf of the corporations.
In the case of West Papua, it is the Indonesian army that is brutalizing our Pacific
Locally, when there are disputes between citizens and let`s say police officers, this
dispute may be heard in a local court and the police officer could be fined, or new
laws could be legislated. There is a semblance of accountability. With trade
disputes-if not settled out of court, they will have to take place with the WTO in
Geneva, behind closed doors, resulting in massive settlements that smaller countries
would have difficulty paying, should they lose. Also, now with further liberaliza-
tions of corporate regulations, it is easier for corporations to sue governments. As this
system evolves, it is the transnational corporation who is gaining the greater power. system evolves, it is the transnational corporation who is gaining the greater power.
If you will, imagine that the APEC forum is a circus of hucksters that are invested in
perpetuating free-market and free-trade, despite the unsustainability of this kind of
unbridled growth of our environmental and human resources. Under the big tent of
the Convention Center, you`ll find Trade Ministers, government leaders, CEOs of
transnational corporations, the banking and financial institutions, representatives of
the IMF, the World Bank, government and private equity stake-holders, Chambers of
Commerce and manufacturing, Development and Aid NGOs, investors of the various
trade sectors in agriculture, mining, investment, insurance, tourism, telecom, e-com trade sectors in agriculture, mining, investment, insurance, tourism, telecom, e-com-
merce, textiles and apparels, energy, pharmaceuticals, military procurement, housing
development-you`ll see the entire circus.
What is APEC?
by powerful transnational corporation s that are more insidious, as they reduce our
capacity for food sovereignty. Big-Ag seed, pesticide and fertilizer technologies can
prevent local viable agricultural land use for as long as their patents hold-in other
words, for a really, really long time.
It is easy to imagine a scenario where there will be conflicts over these big-ag
investment agreements that cannot be settled out of court, so what court holds juris-
diction? Not state court, but WTO court in Geneva. Also, if the state is involved and
does disrupt manufacturing or production, corporations can sue the state for
damages. Again, it is the state, and ultimately the taxpayers that will be responsible
for paying out damages. In many ways, this is a system that is already in place in
Hawaii, and we can see it most visibly in retail and agriculture, but these new dereg-
ulations will only further exacerbate conflicts around land, water, housing and food
Some might look at this one scenario and accuse me of being an alarmist, but this
is a systemic process that has been replicating itself like a mutant strain on local
economies since NAFTA, which sparked the revolutionary Zapatista uprising the
very next day in Mexico when it went into effect in 1994. Since 1994, these types of
free-trade agreements have only grown more insidious, more entrenched in our day-
to-day lives so that many of us have grown accustomed to them. And as one might
suspect by being attentive to the continued uprisings against economic hegemony
throughout the world, the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries are in
the midst of revolutions. Through these uprisings, we have heard little to nothing
about GAFTA, the Greater Arab Free-Trade Agreement signed in 1998 and that
came into force in 2005. All of the regimes that had been overthrown had ratified
GAFTA, regimes that fanned the fuel of labor and resource exploitation in collabora-
tion with transnational corporations. These transnational corporations were spurred
on to the region by the U.S and their trade partners, despite concerns and warnings
by advisors that trying to force privatization and economic integration in the region
could exasperate the intended results of liberalizing market regulations for the
Previous to the MENA uprisings, nearly all the countries of South America, except
for Chile and Peru (who are also APEC members), engaged in regime change as a
result of these free market/ free trade policies, and Peru after decades of fighting, has
of just a few months ago, overturned the rightwing regime to join the regional coali-
tion of left-wing 'Socialist¨ or 'Socialist-lite¨ leadership in the region. President-
elect Humala has now joined the coalition of Castro, Chávez, Morales, Correa,
Roussef, de Kirchner, and Lugo. In June, the largest protest in Chile since Pinochet,
against cuts in public education, sparked concerns that even the right-wing Piñera-
government in Chile, might fall. For all of these uprisings, the root has been corpo-
rate privatization in a variety of trade sectors, whether, water, energy, education,
banking and finance or other sectors. As a result of these regime changes, transna-
Signed into law about the same time were a potpourri of other feel-good measures
that by itself and at face-value seem like good policy for small local farmers or mom
and pop entrepreneurs-but applied to transnational regional development, which it
will be, these measures will likely create hugely disproportionate barriers for
families to carve out a niche for the dream of owning a local small business.
Some of these new laws allows for DLNR to modify state land leases to 65 years;
allows the extension of state land leases for hotels and resorts planning 'substantial
improvements¨ to 55 years; laws that reduce landowner liability which establish
criminal trespassing on used or unused ag land; laws that limit liability to lease
holders for trespassers sustaining injuries; laws that exempt building permits for agri-
cultural and aqua cultural services for low-risk non residential structures; laws
extending commercial aquaculture leases for aquaculture projects from 35-65 years,
there are many more agricultural and land related measures signed into law. there are many more agricultural and land related measures signed into law.
There is even the passage of SB2, which requires that DLNR inventory all public
land trusts, including 'ceded¨ lands, to inventory all land titles, and submit a
description of all natural resources, including minerals and water found on or
appurtenant-'passing though¨-each parcel to be submitted into a database.
Again, all these bills, on the one hand, that deregulate liabilities are wonderful if
they pertain only to local farmers or families. On the other hand, applied to transna-
tional agricultural or aqua cultural investors, these new deregulations are Trojan
horses used to create huge investment opportunities that could ultimately make it
very difficult for local farmers to compete and could actually further remove us from
the food/water/housing security which we are led to think these bills provide.
If these bills had been passed any other time, it may have well slipped beneath
anyone`s notice, but so soon to the APEC forum, it suggests that the Hawaii state
and business community is creating as many opportunities for itself as it can in this
Just as Hawaii is presenting itself as a viable place for big agricultural investments
for international stakeholders, it should be noted that just last week, Goldman Sachs
raised the Monsanto price target to $96, from $80 a share and added it to its presti-
gious 'Conviction Buy¨ list, a list of stocks the investment banks research team
expects to outperform. Now, I`m not saying that this APEC forum is what is causing
the stocks to rise, but to show how stakeholders are aggressively investing in
Monsanto projects internationally. Whatever you feel about Monsanto, Cargill,
Nestlé`s, Syngenta or the other multinational food/bio-fuel/farm conglomerates, Nestlé`s, Syngenta or the other multinational food/bio-fuel/farm conglomerates,
these new bills further open up Hawaii to transnational development, ultimately
making it far more difficult for local independent food producers. Further, what is
debilitating about GMOs are not simply the development of patented genetically
modified strains, but it is the repercussions of these large scale industrial patents held
You won`t see the farmers, fisher people, laborers, indigenous peoples, tax paying
citizens, consumers etc, or all the people who are supporting this narrowing consoli-
dation of wealth, either unwittingly or against their will. So if not for the very real
human and environmental impact, the circus might provide for some entertainment,
but because of the 'Implementing Arrangements¨ of the military and the very real
impoverishing effects caused by free-market/free-trade policies, these regimes often
result in tragic consequences.
Now, by no means am I prescribing a xenophobic closed-door economy, shut off
from the rest of the world, but rather recommending something quite reasonable:
slower economic growth, more equitable distribution of wealth, greater control of
environmental resources, and a shared interest in the bio-diversity of our region.
Indigenous peoples stewardship of these resources must dominate any and all
regional economic negotiations, particularly since the tactic for asserting regional
economic hegemony is usually based upon corporations often violently displacing
the traditional stewardship of these resources and placing them under the manage the traditional stewardship of these resources and placing them under the manage-
ment of bureaucratic accountants and policy resource analysts.
HawaiΫi deregulates for APEC
Specific to APEC and the Pacific Islands, Hawaii is competing for many of the
same regional investment capital as the other Pacific Islands. It does not matter so
much that Hawaii is a state of the U.S, it`s about Pacific resources-and at the
moment, international investment is focused on mining resources, fisheries, bio-fuel,
and government procurement-military contracts. Being a state provides for some
protections, but that generally also means that it is more restrictive to do business,
so in order for Hawaii to make itself a better investment, a certain amount of de-
regulation and liberalization needs to occur.
SB one-triple-five: Public Land Development Corporation
For example, last month in the beginning of July of this year, Governor Abercrom-
bie signed SB1555 'the Public Land Optimization Plan¨ into law, which created a
for-profit arm of the Department of Land and Natural Resources called the
PUBLIC LAND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION to manage public/private
investment of Hawaii public lands, including the disputed 'ceded¨ crown lands.
DLNR, is a public-funded state agency which along with the heads of other state
agencies, DBEDT, the Department of Business, Economic Development and
Tourism Tourism, the head of the Department of Budget and Finance, as well as two
business/finance appointments from the Senate and House each. These five govern-
ment appointees would manage the commercial development of Hawaii`s public
lands. Now the rules of this corporation have not yet been defined, but there are no
administrators of this corporation representing native Hawaiians, the environment,
or the public health, education sectors.
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