TPP 11 Sydney meeting outcome vindicates community concerns

Media Release  September 1, 2017:  “Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo’s call for minimal changes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership text appears to have been rejected by the other TPP 11 negotiators who met in Sydney this week. Instead the 11 governments* have agreed to suspend controversial clauses on medicine monopolies and some governments want to renegotiate other clauses. This vindicates community concerns that that many TPP clauses are not in the public interest,” AFTINET convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today. 

Nikkei Asian Review quotes the Japanese chief negotiator saying that 11 TPP countries meeting in Sydney agreed to suspend some parts of the text that some governments only reluctantly agreed to get access to the US market. These include the controversial three-year increase in data protection monopolies for biologic medicines, which would delay cheaper versions of these medicines. These clauses will only be resurrected if the US decides in future to rejoin the agreement.

Nikkei reports that Canada and Mexico want to suspend several parts of the TPP text to prevent the US from using them as a model in the renegotiation of NAFTA, and that other governments, including Malaysia and Vietnam, want to renegotiate other parts of the text, including government procurement and state-owned enterprises. There is no agreement on investment rules, copyright and other issues. Further negotiations are planned for Japan in late September with the aim of completion in November.

Dr Ranald said the harmful impacts of TPP clauses on health had again been demonstrated by last week’s open letter from 67 national and international health and consumer groups, including the Public Health Association of Australia, the World Public Health Association and Médecins Sans Frontières in the lead up to the meeting.   The letter called for complete renegotiation of the clauses on medicines and foreign investor rights to bypass national courts and sue governments in international tribunals.

“It is clear from these reports that some governments recognise that many clauses in the TPP are not in their national interests. Any renegotiation of the TPP will be a long and painful process, which may not produce an outcome. We call the Australian government not to waste further time and resources on trying to resurrect the TPP, but instead to develop fairer trade policies which will actually deliver benefits to most Australians.”

Contact Dr Patricia Ranald 0419 695 841

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

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