TPPWatch Action Bulletin #17
Updates and news relating to the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.
TPPA talks bogged down, high risk of trade offs
At APEC in 2011 the political leaders of TPPA countries told negotiators to finish the deal by the end of 2012. Now John Key says a TPP won’t be signed in 2012 and a 2013 deal was only ‘possible’. At APEC last week the TPP trade ministers reported ‘significant narrowing of gaps’ in some areas, and slower progress in others! The political leaders told negotiators ‘to direct their energies at promptly finding pragmatic, creative, flexible, and mutually-acceptable solutions to the remaining issues under negotiation.’ That suggests high-risk political tradeoffs simply to make a deal.
Activists mobilise at Leesburg round from 6-15 September
At this week’s round, US anti-TPP campaigners made their mark again. A Rainforest Action Network blockade stopped negotiators entering the resort where talks were held, with a 75-foot high banner saying ‘Free Trade My Ass: Flush the TPP’ suspended by inflated giant buttocks. 30+ negotiators were taken on a nightime bus tour of Washington’s sights and a reception at the Teamsters union penthouse with US politicians critical of TPPA. OpenMedia set up a great citizens’ comment stream at http://openmedianow.net/tppconsole/ where thousands took part.
Auckland the next stop on the TPP circus?
There are strong rumours the next round of negotiations will be in Auckland starting on 3 December. If that’s true, we need to put creating thinking caps on! More in the next bulletin …
Powerplays: TPPA v ASEAN-plus-six FTA
The super-power contest is heating up. Negotiations for a competing mega-FTA between 10 ASEAN countries and China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have just been launched. China is in and the US is not! NZ wants to keep a foot in each camp. Trade Minister Tim Groser is putting his eggs in the TPPA basket, but states ‘if TPP were to start to weaken, and we will fight that as hard as we can, my theory would be that [the ASEAN+6] FTA will help us’. China, which it is hosting APEC in 2014, will have different ideas.
Avaaz weighs in on the TPP
Online activist hub www.avaaz.org has launch a global campaign against the TPP, asking people to sign on to the message: ‘As concerned global citizens, we call on you to make the TPP process transparent and accountable to all, and to reject any plans that limit our governments’ power to regulate in the public interest. The TPP is a threat to democracy, undermining national sovereignty, workers’ rights, environmental protections and Internet freedom. We urge you to reject this corporate takeover.’ It’s a quick and easy way to join with activists around the world.
Hear Australian Public Health expert on TPP Auckland & Wgtn 24-27 September
Deb Gleeson, an Australian public health expert on TPP, will speak in Wellingtonon public heath issues at 5.30pm, Wednesday 26th September with Prof Susy Frankel at Rutherford House, with Simon Terry from the Sustainability Council on Thursday, 27th September at 12.30 pm at City Art Gallery, and 6.00pm at 19 Tory Street with Rainbow on impacts on poorer countries and HIV/AIDs. There will be a public meeting in Auckland in the evening on Monday 24 or Tuesday 25th; details will be posted on TPPWatch.org.
Chance to tell the US Consul what you think about TPPA
On Thursday 27 Sept at 6.30pm the US Consul Dana Decree will hold a ‘Town Hall meeting’ for American citizens at the US Embassy, 29 Fitzherbert St, Thorndon. US citizens must RSVP. Inside or outside, it seems a good opportunity to tell the US what you think about the TPPA.
US law-makers condemn secrecy around the TPPA
Open letters written by 3 groups of US legislators have called for more transparency around TPP negotiations: a group of 8 Democrats in the House of Representatives repeated a request to be official observers to the negotiations; US Representative Darrell Issa (California Republican) and Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon Democrat) “insist in the strongest terms possible” that US negotiators reveal what they are asking for on intellectual property; and a joint resolution from the Maine Legislature urges more transparency in the negotiations. Wouldn’t it be great if NZ Labour, the Greens, NZ First, Mana, even the Maori Party were to do the same?
Amnesty International weighs in on the TPP
Amnesty International has come out swinging on the TPPA. Executive Director of Amnesty USA said: “No one has the right to trade away our hard-fought legal protections for free speech and the right to health, and much less to do it behind closed doors … It is time for TPP negotiators to show the public their cards and, more importantly, the draft text of the agreement.” Ka pai!
US Faith-based groups speak out too
An open letter from Washington-based inter-faith working group on trade and investment, representing major denominations, warned that investor-state provisions harm public health, access to essential services, and the environment and ‘undermine the very principles of human dignity and respect for the integrity of God’s creation which we support.’
More on National’s backdown on software patenting
Further to the government’s U-turn on the patentability of software, betraying the New Zealand tech industry, documents released under the Official Information Act show IBM and Microsoft met privately with members of the Ministry of Economic Development twice in 2010 to lobby for the patentability of software. The government has refused to allow its last minute changes to software patents to go before a select committee. So much for democracy.
Regional statement oppose TPPA Copyright proposals
Groups across the TPP countries, including Electronic Freedom Foundation, InternetNZ, OpenMediaCanada, Innovarte Chile, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Public Knowledge US, have signed a joint statement opposing the proposed text on exceptions and limitations to copyright under the TPP, and supporting New Zealand’s proposed alternative. You can support this too.
Activist flash mob over asset sales
Pressure to stop the privatisations continues. A group of inventive activists performed a flash occupation of the Clemanger BBDO offices in Wellington. Clemanger Group Ltd is the communications company being paid millions of taxpayer dollars to provide PR for the National government’s asset sales programme. Food for thought …
- Gordon Campbell on the relationship between APEC and the TPP:
- Susan Chalmers from InternetNZ on the implications of the TPP for DVD zoning.
- A presentation by Jane Kelsey on the implications of the TPP for alcohol regulation alcohol.