TPPA Bulletin # 30 17 March 2013

Update on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement actions and information

Town Meeting - Nelson - NZ Sovereignty Under Attack! - Tuesday 19 March 6.30pm

Join a Town Meeting at Lambretta’s Café, Nelson at 6.30pm for Koha, and look at the Cartoon Exhibition. Jane Kelsey will present the prize to competition winner Mike Moreau and talk on how the TPPA affects local government, GE and organic agriculture, and investors’ power to sue.

Wellington Strategy Meeting Wednesday 20 March

Contact Marilyn Head for details.

TPPA Awareness Poster Fundraiser

Onebigvoice has launched a poster campaign ‘Cut NZ Loose from the TPPA’ to illuminate the deep problems with the TPPA, aiming to build awareness and resistance to it. Support it on http://onebigvoice.com/media-fundraiser/145

Apologies: delay in sign up action plan

The Singapore round took up more time than expected so expect some sign up activities in the next 10 days.

NZ Consumer raises impact on consumers

The March 2013 edition of Consumer has an editorial and an article on what the TPPA means for consumers. It questions our vision for the future: if we can’t use intellectual property laws to support innovation in as-yet-unforeseen ways, we risk being trapped into ‘a farm and theme park’ (agriculture exports and tourism). It also looks at Pharmac, parallel importing and secrecy.

Oz (not NZ) takes IT barons for price gouging, could conflict with TPPA

The Australian Senate is conducting a hearing into price gouging by the big IT companies Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, who charge much more for digital music, games and software in Oz and NZ that in many other countries. The inquiry could make recommendations that conflict with concessions they want to make in TPPA. The NZ government is ‘watching’ (shadows of plain packaging tobacco).

Tobacco front page issue in Singapore

The opening day of the Singapore negotiations negotiators were confronted with a massive advertisement in the Straights Times sponsored by a raft of tobacco control groups calling for tobacco to be carved out from the TPPA. A major story in Malaysia’s national news agency Barnama ‘TPP Negotiators Dismissive of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’ was another coup.

NZ Medical Students, Oxfam International, MSF speak out in Singapore

The NZMSA issued a press release on the lack of balance between commercial interests and safeguards for public health in the TPPA, including for tobacco control and Pharmac. Briar Mannering represented the NZ Medical Students Association at the Singapore ‘stakeholder’ event. In a media briefing Oxfam highlighted the plight of Vietnam to show how high drug prices that would put lifesaving meds out of reach of the poor. Medicines Sans Frontieres called the US proposal in the TPPA the ‘most harmful trade deal ever for access to medicines.’ See also the Interview with Judit Rius from MSF with News Medical Australia.

US Unions say TPPA model no good for working families

The peak US union body the AFL-CIO said American working families need ‘a game change—a high-road strategy that focuses on creating high-wage jobs, encouraging collective bargaining, implementing a strategic manufacturing policy and reinvesting in our infrastructure and our people’ not the failed model of the TPPA.

Great expose of the bigger picture of TPPA and food sovereignty

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy has a great article addressing food sovereignty that challenges the agribusiness focus on market access in the TPPA, including investment, food safety, government procurement and much more.

PM’s claim of $3.5 billion gains to NZ from TPPA debunked

The document used for this claim by the PM during the NZ round was released under the Official Information Act and rubbished from the NZ and US ends.

What happened in Singapore?

As usual, they claim lots of progress. But there are some major logjams over controversial chapters the US must have, especially IP, SOEs, environment and labour, as well as access to agriculture markets. The US government has put out its PR spin. So has Singapore. Nothing yet from NZ …

Can they sign the deal in October 2013?

For a while it looked like the negotiators were going to get a lot of chapters sorted, under lots of pressure from above, and there might be a chance of having a final text for leaders to sign at APEC in Bali in October. Next round is in Lima, Peru from 15-24 May, then probably two more. Expect a Clayton’s signing in October – which still means the NZ Cabinet will be making decisions mid-year.

Japan ignores protests, signs a blank cheque to sup a TPPA table

Despite mass protests and an open letter from dissident MPs, Japan’s PM Abe announced his government wants to join the TPP talks. Now there is a complex process to get approval from each of the other 11 countries, then 90 days notice to US Congress. Japan must accept all text agreed to by the time it joins the talks, but it can’t see the legal text until it joins! The earliest that could happen is September - 1 month before the final deal is supposed to be signed. It is unimaginable that the Japanese would actually accept that treatment.

How US + Canada + Japan can kill off NZ’s goals for dairy

NZ’s Tim Groser says the TPPA must have no exceptions and NZ will walk away if it doesn’t get substantial access to US dairy markets. The US has so far refused to talk seriously about that. US dairy employs nearly a million workers and generates about $140 billion for the economy. Its dairy farmers, farm workers, processors and consumers are on the warpath against Fonterra. Canada wants to protect its agriculture supply boards. Japan will also demand exceptions for agriculture. As Jane Kelsey pointed out, if agriculture isn’t solved before Japan joins in September, the talks will get really complicated and could drag on forever. Tim may yet be walking …

Outrage at drug company investment challenge Canada meds decision

Proof that Big Pharma has its eyes on more than Pharmac. Eli Lilly, a US drug company, has launched a case against Canada claiming $100 million compensation for breach of its special rights under NAFTA (a precursor of TPPA). Canada’s courts revoked a patent under Canada’s domestic law. This first ever investment dispute by pharma shows how they could use the TPPA to threaten or sue governments to get their way. There was a lot of interest from negotiators in the case.

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