Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where's the line?

Where’s the Line?

The Keystone XL saga and TPP drama

Welcome readers!  We’re going to cover some trade talk and resource deals that have significant weight on the international stage. Yes, something in business has finally made its way from the rubbish bin to The PS Buzz items of interest tray.  

Highlights will include Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) discussion and the possible ending of the Keystone XL pipeline project.  Excited?  You should be!

You may be wondering why the Buzz has decided to group these two topics together.  The answer is because we generally do what we want, and felt like both were topics that readers would likely fall asleep with.  Therefore, it seemed like jamming two boring things together might be the best way to cover this subject.

Our logic is undeniable

In 2015 the Obama administration rejected TransCanada’s proposal for a bi-national pipeline project.  Negotiations spanned seven years and had gained significant public spotlight.

The Keystone XL Pipeline would have stretched from oil sands in Alberta Canada to refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast.  The resource transport system would have meant billions in revenue for the North American economy.  However, it also would have meant jeopardizing ecosystems and promoting a questionable energy infrastructure.

This project is still being considered for future review, which is why it is of interest to The Buzz.  The XL pipeline saga has lasted nearly a decade, however with it hopefully coming to a final conclusion we can address the reasons this project isn’t viable:

-          Canadian crude oil is extracted using environmentally questionable practices
-          Pipelines, like rail or tanker trucks, are fickle when it comes to transporting large volumes of oil.  Spills happen.
-          Investing in oil infrastructure is counter intuitive to sustainable & renewable energy goals modern countries strive towards
-          Oil prices have dropped below the desired rate of return for oil-sand product, making it even less desirable for North American markets.    

For more on the XL pipeline please follow links provided!

That’s all we’ll say on the XL story.  It’s not that there isn’t more to cover, there’s actually quite a bit of information available for public review.  This project was meant to be the resource connector North American markets wanted and needed.  Turns out what the market wants and needs isn’t a big pipe that carries one type of resource.

Hopefully, this actually IS the end of the project, and this whole thing will blow over into a funny idea North America had in the 2000’s.

Shifting gears, it’s time to talk about another funny thing that happened in the 2000's, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Yes, the TPP won’t let us be, let us be us, so let us see..

Moving on, the TPP is a grandiose proposed trade agreement designed as an approach to multi-national economic policy.  It’s grandiose because it will likely be quite some time before we see agreements of this magnitude again.

The agreement aims to promote economic growth and prosperity, lower trade barriers, reduce poverty, cure the zombie virus, solve the energy crisis, and bring Elvis back from the dead.

It covers a lot of things, and the goals of it are rather questionable, mainly because during the seven years (seven years -that number seems to be coming up a lot) this agreement has been negotiated, the majority of public review has been through wiki leaks.

However, on November 5, 2015 the general public was finally given total access to the completed agreement.  Dairy farmers in Canada to automotive manufacturers in Japan to a little old lady picking up a drug prescription, a lot of people will be impacted by the agreement.

Back door delays regarding agriculture concerns and intellectual property rights have been among previously leaked documents.  Protesters have spoken out quite often (see protesters disrupt TPP senate hearing), however, now the final document has arrived.

In October 2015, previous Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the TPP should be signed and official by next year.  

Eight years is a considerable amount of time.

When this document was created it’s quite likely that global concerns and goals were slightly different than today.  In 2008: China hosted the Olympics, terrorism in Mumbai, Obama was elected President of the US, and global economy was pooh.  

Currently, the Obama term is soon ending and the 2016 Olympics will be held in Brazil. 

The TPP is finally out for the people, so it may be necessary to familiarize ourselves with at least portions of it.  It’s not a menacing document, however it is fairly intimidating to think that a group of economists sat in a room and devised the best practices procedure for multiple nations.

It’s still in its puppy stage and will likely take some time to get used to.  Maybe when a generation or two grows up with it the implications will be more noticeable.  Currently it is what it sounds like a lot of trade talk for international partners.

The PS Buzz will end it here, there’s plenty o’ links if there is more on these topics that you wish to investigate.

Keystone XL pipeline:

CBC: Barack Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline-

TransCanada (Keystone XL pipeline)-

TPP links:

Anti-trade deal protesters hijack senate TPP hearing-