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Divisions over US demands prevent final deal at TPP

MEDIA RELEASE           Tuesday December 12, 2013, 8pm

Divisions over US demands prevent final deal at TPP Singapore meeting: negotiations to continue next year

“Another missed deadline in the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks shows that there are still divisions over US demands on investor rights to sue governments, higher prices for  medicines and  draconian copyright laws, all of which  would increase corporate rights at the expense of consumers,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

“Leaked documents have exposed these demands to the harsh light of public debate and there is growing community opposition to them.”

Dr Ranald has just returned from Singapore where she was observing the talks.

“The short Ministerial statement (attached) only mentions “progress” with no details and that Ministers will meet again in January.  The fact that no new deadline has been set for completing the deal means that the US heavy-handed pressure to meet deadlines which suit its political timetable is meeting some resistance,” said Dr Ranald.

“This makes the reported Australian government cave-in to US demands for longer patents on medicines, which would raise medicine prices, appear even more reckless and unacceptable, “ said Dr Ranald.(see earlier media release below).

Trade Minister Robb has fallen into the trap of making concessions in the vain hope of more market access for Australian agricultural products to US markets.  But it is clear that the US is delaying making any market access offers precisely to extract such concessions.”

“Moreover, the US Congress has not even agreed to Trade Promotion Authority for the TPP, which means the detail of the text can be amended by Congress. The same Congress which shut down the US government in October could unpick any deal,” said Dr Ranald.

“The Government should respond to growing community resistance to such trade-offs and should agree to the release of the text of the TPP before it is signed,” said Dr Ranald.

ENDS

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