It's Our Future - TPPA News Bulletin #36

16 JULY 2013

PRISM, Spying, Privacy and TPPA

Der Spiegel revealed the US raids on privacy and information include spying on EU missions and potentially its trade negotiators. That almost detailed the first round negotiations for the Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement – the big brother that parallels the TPPA, with the US at the centre of both.  Jeremy Malcolm from Consumer International is speaking on PRISM and TPPA in Malaysia later this week; check the website.

MFAT ‘information briefings’ waste of time

The three ‘stakeholder information sessions’ on the TPPA in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were predictable non-events. MFAT will now claim it has consulted and is transparent. Judge for yourself by the notes on our website (Auckland and Wellington). Compare that to the briefing from the Malaysian government, hardly renowned for its transparency!

Stiglitz stinging critiques of TPPA

Joseph Stiglitz has trashed the TPPA as ‘a managed trade regime that puts corporate interests first, and a process of negotiations that is undemocratic and non-transparent’. Read his separate attack on intellectual property rights for fuelling inequality.

Groser reveals Fonterra game plan

In a speech extolling Knowledge Based Capital - New Zealand’s intellectual property in agriculture- Trade Minister Groser said exporting milk is fine but finite. The marketing and distribution channels of Fonterra ‘is the real jewel in the crown’. Groser’s idea that you back firms who are already winners rather than assist new ones to encourage diversification. Very convenient for Fonterra, but no guarantee there are any jobs in it for New Zealanders.

US Congressman gets to see text, but can’t tell!

Long saga. US Congressman Alan Grayson got to see part of the draft TPPA text afterorganising a mass campaign. He said it confirmed the TPPA is bad for Americans but he can’t tell them why! Please share the picture to the right!

NZ Taiwan FTA outsourced to Saunders Unsworth

Just to remind us whom these agreements are written by and for, negotiation of the NZ Taiwan FTA concluded last week was outsourced to a former MFAT diplomat, now a consultant for the powerful lobby and PR firm Saunders Unsworth. CTU President Helen Kelly points out that National’s new employment laws breach the labour chapter in that FTA.

Former PM Mahathir warns ‘TPP another bad pact’ as Malaysia round begins

The next round is underway this week in Malaysia. Former PM Mahathir attacks the secrecy of TPPA and impacts on Malaysia based on the track record of past FTAs. Opposition MP Charles Santiago publicly condemned impacts on medicine prices. Another MP called for a cost benefit analysis of fiscal impacts. Malay Economic Action Council challenged the impact on local producers, farmers and entrepreneurs, medicines and HIV/Aids, government procurement, and more. Veteran human rights activist Chandra Muzaffar called the TPPA secrecy a mockery of accountability.

Malaysian government agrees to parliamentary committee on TPPA

The Malaysian government has conceded to lawmakers’ demands for a bipartisan parliamentary select committee on the TPPA to protect Malaysia's rights and provide parliamentary oversight. It is seen as too little, too late, but it puts the Key government to shame.

Malaysian Aids Council says TPPA means life or death

This is a huge issue for Malaysia and the activists are being very effective. This is reinforced by the International Aids Society statement opposing the TPPA. And an op ed on TPPA affecting Malaysia health policies. Under pressure in the Parliament the Trade Minister said they won’t sign TPPA if medicine prices increase.

State of Play with TPPA Chapters

The deadline of October 2013 for the TPPA is lala-land, but we are told that labour, customs, telecommunications, regulatory coherence and development are now ‘closed’. Sanitary and phytosanitary issues, technical barriers to trade, investment and cross-border services may be after Malaysia. But that just means the easy bits have been done and low-level negotiators are not meeting any more. The hard questions have been left for the chief negotiators and then the politicians.

Labour chapter ‘closed’, waits for political decisions

The labour chapter has ‘closed’. Whether and how obligations might be enforced, and whether penalties would be fines or other sanctions, are now hostage to trade-offs and politics.

New Oz trade minister still says no investor state disputes

The Rudd coup against Gillard meant a change of trade minister across the Tasman, but the new minister vowed not to cave to US demands for the rights of investors to sue Australia under the TPPA. A change of government could see that position seriously weakened.

TPPA poses serious threat to Asian economic model

The successful East Asian model of “state-driven capitalism” is being threatened by proposals in the TPPA trade agreement to remove possible advantages of state-owned enterprises, says head of Geneva based South Centre Martin Khor.

Support national rallies against corporate takeover from 1 September

Kiwis Connect for a Positive Future, strong opponents of the TPPA, have launched 10 days of national action from 1 September with family-friendly rallies across the country. People can march under any banner that is in solidarity against the corporate take-over of Aotearoa, privatisation, and our continued loss of sovereignty and democracy. Check the website, join the marches, take some stop TPPA placards.

TPPA gets a lashing in international media

Bloomberg: ‘Treaty disputes roiled by bias charges’
Brookings institute paper rejects US Congress proposals for TPPA rules on currency manipulation
Environmental Groups Urge USTR To Not Back Down From TPP Proposal
Mother Jones on TPP
The TPP: Environmental Savior or Corporate Carte Blanche?
Canadians on TPPA threat to Internet Freedom
‘A fistful of dollars for US farmers’, Business Day skepticism about FTAs
US Greens: The Trans-Pacific Partnership would increase poverty
Is the Obama Administration Keeping Secrets About Its New Trade Agreement?
What the other side is up to

Canada’s Fraser Institute says stronger IP for medicines will help secure trade deals
US and Canadian Business on TPPA warpath

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