It's Our Future NZ - TPPA News Bulletin #42

11 NOVEMBER 2013

Last chance to sign TPPA secrecy petition

The petition calling for release of the draft TPPA text closes off at the end of Tuesday 12 November. The total with one day to go is 24,238! Brilliant work in just 6 weeks – and a level of awareness and concern for all parties to take note of.
Crunch meeting in Salt Lake City on 19-24 November

A special round of TPPA talks is being held with chief negotiators and the groups that are stuck – IP, SOEs, investment, maybe some others. They will prepare a platform for the trade ministers to do their trade-offs when they meet in Singapore from 7-9 December. The pressure from the US will be intense, so there is high risk of terrible compromises.
Goff’s rear-guard action at Labour Party Conference

Team TPPA will be delighted that Phil Goff staved off two strong resolutions at the Labour Party’s conference. One, to oppose the TPPA, became:
That Labour currently withholds support for the TPPA on the grounds that:
a) the government has not been adequately transparent in the process;
b) the government is taking unacceptable risks on a range of matters including the ability of companies to sue the Government and the role of Pharmac;
Labour therefore withholds support for the TPPA until full details are made available and there is clear evidence that the agreement is in the best interests of New Zealand.
The second, for the release of the draft text, was defeated after Goff told them Parliament still got to vote after the fact! Of course, if the text is not released before it is signed, Labour will be faced with a fait accompli, whatever the costs to NZ may be.
NZCTU President resolute on TPPA

Helen Kelly’s speech as President of the NZCTU to the Labour Party conference reiterated their conference decision: ‘we oppose it because it is a model that goes in a directly opposite direction from what I have been describing as what New Zealand needs. That neoliberal model has been tried and failed in New Zealand and is a relic of pre-global financial crisis thinking.’
Peters’ speech strangely conciliatory on TPPA

Having taken a strong oppositional stance on the TPPA, Winston Peters took a more conciliatory approach in a speech to the Institute of International Affairs, saying: ‘The devil will be in the detail and we should be looking at the detail with a fine tooth comb!’  
Chile’s likely new leader promises to review TPPA

Leading presidential candidate for Peru’s November election, Michelle Bachelet, has promised ‘an exhaustive review of its scope and implications’ in order to safeguard the interests of Chile.
US still hinting at two-tier deal on meds: NZ loses out

On 1 November the US hinted again at a ‘flexible’ approach on IP and medicines for developing countries (which means Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei). Still bad, but nowhere near as bad as ‘developed countries’ – ie NZ. Leading Congressmen oppose the compromise as giving away too much.
US Chorus shareholders could sue under TPPA

Chorus’s US shareholders could easily use the proposed TPPA investment rules to sue the government for mega-millions if the Commerce Commission’s ruling on broadband pricing stands and the agreement is in place by then. A quarter of Chorus’s shareholders are foreign.  JP Morgan Chase holds 8% of the shares and entities related to Citibank and Citicorp control around 3%. The DomPost says Chorus should be renationalized – imagine what they could do with that under TPPA!
Labour’s Patsy Parliamentary Questions

Some Labour MPs have been lobbing very soft parliamentary questions to Groser, who is feeding back the same old vacuous assurances. A debunk of the patsy questions Goff asked Groser and waved around at the Labour Party Conference will go up on in about a week. Meanwhile look at the new memo showing the threat from the TPPA to core policies Labour cares about.
Buy NZ under pressure in WTO, worse in TPPA

NZ is trying to join the WTO agreement on government procurement. The other countries, including TPPA parties Canada and japan, are demanding NZ makes more concessions to bind more SOEs and local governments to the rules. What they can’t get at the WTO they’ll insist on in the TPPA.
South Africa quits investment treaties like TPPA

While National defends investment rules in the TPPA, the South African government has reviewed similar investment agreements and moved to terminate many of them. It says they pose growing risks to policymaking in the public interest. Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz applauded South Africa’s stand, describing the agreements as the most serious threat to democratic decision-making.
USTR is a customer of the NSA spies

The New York Times reports that the US trade ministry is one of the NSA’s customers – presumably so it can see what other countries are thinking and its opponents are planning!
Canada’s medicines to cost more under Canada-EU FTA

A new study warns the pending EU-Canada trade deal will further tilt the balance towards the protection of brand-name drug manufacturers and their profits and away from Canadian consumers—resulting in significantly higher drug costs for Canadians.
Media commentary

Gordon Campbell on Labour Party Conference and media bias on TPP
George Monbiot on investor-state disputes in the TPPA’s twin, the TTIP
Fran O’Sullivan fantasises about NZ helping China join TPPA
Colin James on Labour Party Conference including TPPA
Audrey Young on Cunliffe brokering TPPA compromise
Potential impacts of TPPA on Indonesia if it joined
Media report on Canada’s medicine costs under EU FTA
Journalists banned from ‘public briefing’ on TPPA in Australia
US video on TPPA with boss of Naked Capitalism blog

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