Guest Speaker: Vidalina Morales
Investor Rights to Sue and Gold Mining in El Salvador
Vidalina Morales is a small scale farmer and a mother of five from El Salvador. In 2006 she discovered that her community was under threat from the El Dorado mining project by Canada-based mining company, Pacific Rim. She is now recognised as one of the leading voices in the environmental defense movement in El Salvador.
After widespread community protest, the government in El Salvador suspended mining licences for environmental and public health reasons. Pacific Rim is now using investor-state dispute settlement in a trade agreement to sue the government because this legislation. An Australian company, Oceania Gold, has a major shareholding in the company. Vidalina will speak on behalf of anti-mining group La Mesa.
These are the same investor rights to sue that we are campaigning against in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and other trade agreements.
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) hosted a forum in Sydney on the 22nd of October titled “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Endgame: Corporate Rights or People’s Rights?”
Audio recordings are now available for each of our speakers.
Richard Dennis writes in the Australian Financial Review of the divisions in the Coalition Government over investor rights to sue governments. Many National Party supporters oppose it because it would threaten the regulation of coal seam gas mining.
See this recent letter co-signed by AFTINET and Lock the Gate, which was endorsed by 54 rural groups.
This New York Times article shows how prescription asthma medication costs $250 a month in the US, because of longer patents and no price regulation, compared with a maximum of $36.10 for prescription medicines in Australia. This could happen here if US pharmaceutical companies succeed in using the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to extend patents and to prevent governments from regulating medicine prices.
ABC TV program Lateline aired concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) including the potential impact on public health and medicines, as well as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
The feature includes an interview with AFTINET's Convener Dr Patricia Ranald and former Trade Minister Richard Marles (now Opposition Trade Spokesperson).
The Sydney Morning Herald's summary of the APEC summit held in Bali mentions the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and quotes AFTINET.
AFTINET's Dr Patricia Ranald outlines the concerns over the TPPA in this article and radio interview from the ABC.
"The negotiations have a large number of sticking points, which are mainly caused because the US has made a number of what I would call fairly extreme demands about changing regulation.