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TPPA: Concerns over medicines, investor rights

December 12, 2012

Concerns over medicines, investor rights as Transpacific talks wrap up in Auckland

“US proposals on medicines were attacked by civil society groups and are being resisted by Australia and most of the eleven countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) trade negotiations which finish today in Auckland,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convenor of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, who was in Auckland for the talks, said today.

“US proposals to limit governments’ ability to ensure affordable medicines through schemes like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia and Pharmac in New Zealand were attacked by public health organisations, nurses and medical students. They were shocked by statements from NZ government figures that they were willing to be “flexible” about Pharmac if they could gain access to the US dairy market,” explained Dr Ranald. See http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10852419

“Community groups also attacked US proposals to give foreign investors special rights to sue governments for damages over health and other legislation. Despite lobbying from some Australian industry groups, the Australian Government is still saying no to this proposal, given its experience of being sued by Philip Morris over its tobacco plain packaging legislation. New Zealand’s position on this may be influenced by a survey released today which showed that sixty-four per cent of respondents said New Zealand should reject trade agreements which allow investors to sue.” See http://www.3news.co.nz/New-Zealanders-wary-of-TPP/tabid/1607/articleID/280096/Default.aspx#ixzz2EnBnSLfs

“There is growing opposition in New Zealand and Australia to trading away health and other social policies which should be decided through open democratic processes, not secretly signed away in trade deals,” said Dr Ranald.

The TPPA talks include the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam.

For more reports and information on the Auckland talks see www.aftinet.org.au


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