Community and international health groups protest TPP revival at Sydney meeting

Media Release August 28, 2017:  Community groups will rally today outside a meeting of trade negotiators from 11 of the original 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries* who are discussing whether the TPP can be revived without the US, and how much the text should be changed. 

The rally is at 1pm outside the Intercontinental Hotel at the corner of Bridge and Philip Streets, Sydney. ACTU President Ged Kearney and other
community speakers will address the rally.

“Trade Minister Ciobo should not be supporting revival of the dead TPP without change when there is strong community opposition and the Australian Parliament has not endorsed it,” said Dr Patricia Ranald, convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET). 

Dr Ranald said that strong US community opposition to the TPP in the US meant the U.S. Congress did not support it before the 2016 election and both main presidential candidates opposed it. Donald Trump only dealt the final blow by withdrawing after the election. Opposition from a broad range of Australian community groups meant an Australian Senate inquiry refused to endorse the TPP, and the Australian Parliament has not passed the implementing legislation.

“Community groups oppose the TPP because it gives pharmaceutical companies stronger monopolies on costly biologic medicines, delaying the availability of cheaper forms of those medicines. It gives special rights to foreign investors to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over changes to domestic laws.

Many of the other 11 governments only reluctantly agreed to this agenda because the US demanded it in return for access to US markets. Malaysia and Vietnam have said that the TPP without the US should be renegotiated. They will not give a free ride to the US, and nor should Australia,” said Dr Ranald.

Public health and other community organisations from most TPP countries have also written to all TPP ministers warning that TPP provisions would have serious consequences for the health of the people in TPP countries, including the availability of affordable medicines, the ability of foreign corporations to sue governments over health protection laws, and the processes for approving pharmaceuticals for subsidies.

The open letter has been signed by prominent international and national health bodies, including the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the Public Health Association of Australia.

Health, consumer and patient groups who have signed include Médecins Sans Frontières, HIV/AIDs groups from Vietnam and Malaysia, the Latin American Alliance for access to medicines, and medical workers associations and other unions from Australia, Japan and many other TPP11 countries.

*The 11 countries are Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam.