TPPA leaders' statement hides deep divisions
TPPA leaders' statement hides deep divisions caused by extreme US demands
“The stated goal of the TPP Leaders’ and Ministers’ Statements to conclude the TPPA this year is unlikely to be achieved. The bland language hides deep divisions between the 12 diverse governments, caused by extreme US demands,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Dr Ranald is in Bali monitoring the TPPA talks which took place at the 21-nation APEC Leaders’ meeting.
“Moreover, the absence of President Obama caused by conflict in the US Congress over the US Budget also suggests that he cannot guarantee that Congress will grant the Trade Promotion Authority needed for US Congressional approval of the TPPA,” said Dr Ranald.
“The most divisive issues have been omitted from the Statements, and they only report ‘significant progress’ on the issues which are listed. In fact, the US wants to impose regulatory frameworks in the TPPA which suit its largest industries and corporations, but tie the hands of other governments and prevent them from regulating in the public interest, and these are rightly being resisted.” said Dr Ranald.
“The most glaring omission is the US proposal for extended patents on medicines which would delay cheaper generic medicines and mean higher medicine prices, and proposals to limit the ability of governments to regulate both wholesale and retail prices to ensure that medicines are affordable. This is unacceptable in Australia, and even worse for developing countries. These proposals have been rejected by all other governments, and there is still no agreed text on these issues,” explained Dr Ranald.
“Divisions also remain over the details of the right of investors to sue governments for damages over health or environmental legislation, known as Investor-State Disputes (ISDS),” said Dr Ranald.
“Most of the text of the environment chapter, which was supposed to ensure that governments enforce basic environmental standards, has not been agreed,” added Dr Ranald.
“Controversial US proposals on Copyright are not mentioned in the Statements. These would extend the length of Copyright and impose criminal penalties for internet downloads without proper protections for fair use by consumers - have not been agreed,” said Dr Ranald.
“Despite the stated aim of
zero tariffs, negotiations on tariffs for goods and
agricultural products have barely begun,” added Dr Ranald.
“Given these differences, it is unlikely that the Leaders’ timetable for completion of the agreement will be met. We call upon the Australian and other governments to resist proposals which would limit their ability to regulate in the public interest, and to release the text of the agreement for public and parliamentary discussion before it is signed,” said Dr Ranald.