US seeks more in TPP on medicine monopolies at APEC meeting

“The US government is making a desperate attempt to placate domestic US corporate and Republican opposition to the TPP implementing legislation by demanding stronger monopolies for pharmaceutical companies and other concessions at a meeting of TPP ministers to be held this week on the sidelines of the APEC Trade Ministers meeting in Peru,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.

The US is seeking side letters which would give even stronger monopolies on biologic medicines and remove national privacy protections on data held by global corporations. The tobacco industry is also claiming that the TPP is discriminatory because it prevents them from suing governments over tobacco regulation, while allowing other global corporations to sue over other public interest legislation.”

Although the TPP text was released and formally signed early this year, it requires the US, Japan and at least four other TPP governments to pass implementing legislation before the deal can come into force. An Australian Parliamentary Inquiry is currently in progress. None of the 12 Pacific Rim governments has yet passed the implementing legislation, and the US seems least likely to do so, which calls the whole agreement into question. 

Dr Ranald said that all presidential candidates from Democrat and Republican parties oppose the TPP and there is strong bipartisan opposition in Congress. This means the US legislation will not even be considered until after the November election. The US administration is becoming increasingly desperate to stitch up a deal.

Democrats and some Republicans oppose the increased corporate monopolies in the TPP, but oppositional numbers have been swelled by right-wing Republicans who want even more rights for pharmaceutical and other corporations, and have demanded such changes in return for supporting the legislation.

“It is outrageous that the US government is demanding even stronger monopoly rights for pharmaceutical and tobacco companies, when national parliaments are examining what they thought was the final text of the TPP,” said Dr Ranald . “This desperate attempt exposes the fact that the TPP is not really about trade, but about restricting future governments from regulating in the public interest. It provides very little market access for trade in goods, but increases the power of global corporations at the expense of citizens. This is why the overwhelming majority of over 11,000 submissions and messages to the Australian Parliamentary inquiry have urged rejection of the TPP.”

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