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US Senators demand release of TPP text as UN slams secretive trade agreements

The Nation reports on April 25 that, as President Obama stepped up pressure on his fellow Democrats to approve Congressional fast-track trade authority that would ease passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, two leading Democrat Senators Warren and Brown responded by letter demanding that he release the negotiating text of TPP before Congress votes on fast-track authority.

Geneva, April 23: UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, expressed alarm at the general lack of awareness concerning the adverse effects that secretive trade agreements like the TPP have on human rights in many countries, particularly in the developing world.

Big Pharma talks up Trans Pacific Partnership but profits trump patients:The Age

The Age 17 April 2015

Deborah Gleeson and Pat Neuwelt write that recent pharmaceutical company lobbying repeats many of the same flawed arguments: that increasing intellectual property protection through the TPP will support innovation, investment in research and development, and access to medicines. If this rhetoric is swallowed by our politicians, the rights of transnational drug companies could end up trumping the rights of the public to affordable medicines.

Short video: Philip Morris tobacco company suing the Australian government over public health laws

April 16, 2015: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement includes proposals for special rights for foreign investors to sue governments in international tribunals over changes in domestic law or policy, if they can claim “harm” to their investment,  known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

ISDS tribunals  have no independent judiciary and no system of precedents or appeals. The President of the World Health Organisation says tobacco companies are using ISDS cases to discourage tobacco regulation.

This two-minute video explains how the Philip Morris tobacco company has been suing the Australian government since 2011 for damages over Australia’s tobacco plain packaging law.

AFTINET Dinner, May 20, 2015, 6.30 pm, 251 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

Special Guest Speaker: Katie Hirono

Katie Hirono is the lead author of the health impact assessment on the TPP which was a front page story in March, detailing impacts on medicine prices, tobacco control, alcohol and food labelling.  

She is a Research Associate at the Centre for Health Equity Training Research and Evaluation at UNSW.See more information and  booking form below.