TPP secrecy draws critics
Sun, 02 Dec 2012 6:18p.m.
By Tony Field
Negotiators from 11 countries gather in Auckland tomorrow for the 15th round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.
But also there will be consumer rights campaigners and other activists from here and abroad, who are concerned about what is being negotiated behind closed doors.
The New Zealand government has been a big promoter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying it could provide a billion-dollar boost to our economy.
“It's going to be big,” says Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser. “It's going to be significant, and it's going to help New Zealanders find well paid jobs.”
Eleven countries will be involved in this 15th round of negotiations. Joining New Zealand are the United States, Australia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Canada.
But there are many critics, like Lori Wallach, a consumer rights campaigner who has travelled here from the United States.
“It has been so secret and there is now a speedy deadline set,” she says. “We could have an agreement that's been branded for all of us as about expanding exports, new jobs, new threats, and we never see the details, that are devastating, until it's too late.”
“They're not fools,” says Mr Groser. “They realise this is their best chance to wreck this agreement.”
The Trade Negotiations Minister says the talks require discretion, pointing to the tricky negotiations over abolishing farm subsidies.
“Trying to get the US dairy industry to move on something of great importance to us is a very difficult process, and if you expose the drafts to which this process takes place to full public scrutiny, you are going to massively complicate the American negotiators' tasks,” says Mr Groser. “So we need some discretion.”
Critics of the talks are also concerned by a proposal that corporations be allowed to sue governments like New Zealand’s in an international court – a costly and time consuming process.
Sanya Reid Smith, of the Third World Network, is worried by a proposal that would boost American companies' intellectual property rights. For example, it would restrict Pharmac's ability to buy cheaper generic drugs.
“It could buy fewer medicines and subsidies,” she says. “Fewer medicines because it has to pay more per medicine for longer.”
The Government says it won’t agree to anything that undermines Pharmac.
The public is not allowed inside the talks, but opponents of the negotiations say they will be there, outside the negotiations, making their concerns very clear.
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15/12/2012 12:31:30 a.m.
And I thought there were anti conspiracy laws for criminals he'll bent on spreading human misery.
Take a look at the 11 faces of the modern slavers, debt their chain and interest their whip.
6/12/2012 11:16:54 a.m.
A billion dollar boost. Mmm
What is the price our people will pay, who will collect it and how will it help me pay for the increase in road user charges and the likes?
When will the people of NZ see benefits from any of these things.
It scares me when I hear of our milk or meat price rises on the export market as I know we will be paying more to drink and eat those products, how is this different?
What is the price of the NZ people mr key?
5/12/2012 1:46:39 p.m.
The scary thing about the TPP(A) is that it will screw over the US as well it will NZ, because it creates a parallel legal system of tribunals with no accountability.
3/12/2012 2:33:00 p.m.
Vicki B wrote:
@mike despite your long winded argument, I wouldn't agree to a contract I didn't get to view the details of and I think every single NZ'der deserves the right to know the details of this deal - where there is secrecy, there is shadiness, and the corporates love to parade 'commercial sensitivity' aka 'we don't want to tell you because it is dodgy'.
3/12/2012 10:42:50 a.m.
Mike, hows the Australian deal going oh, it isnt, they want out. New Zealand will get no tariff reductions into the us market. Congress only cares about their backyard. What is it people dont understand about American protectionism, they do not want to compete in a open market. Dont bother voting itl be a waste of time, democracy has been sold, and everybody is a slave. Stop dreaming and following the american dream, its a fantasy.
3/12/2012 5:41:56 a.m.
We have so many runing around and playing ostrich. Look who wants to block the TPP? Consumer advocate for the US as they want to protect subsidies and restraint of trade in the US.Reality is NZ has one of the most open economies in the world, so everyone else already has good access to NZ which will change little under the TPP.NZ will benefit more from opening markets currently closed to NZ exports, which will be good for NZ. If they can get subsidies reduced on like US dairy, it will benefit NZ. Even without, Fonterra already making in-roads with Americain Dairy and others with the current restraint of trade as NZ still #1 for dairy efficency in the world.Will some drugs need dropping from Pharmac? Possibly. But then NZ also wants to see copy-products not made in NZ claiming they are NZ products blocked too, and the TPP gives us more muscle to do that in other countries. If a product is a copy product and breaches copyright, and if you were the copyright holder, then you would want knock-offs blocked, and the right to sue if govts chose not to block knock-offs. As imported goods go, branded goods in NZ fairly good compared to many other countries so we will probably have less to enforce than many, but will still need to improve our copyright protection.Drug companies compete, so they will still develop alternative formulaes that slip around copyright. In this way, NZ will still have cheaper options for Pharmac. What it will block is say a licensed drug manufacturer in China making US copyrighted drugs, who also sells the same exact drug out the back door (without US approval) under another name to Pharmac. If we buy that kind of drug, it should be blocked. In many cases like Fonterra, the drug compnaies will sell the exact same drug under many brands, and buying a cheaper authorised drug brand will continue under TPP, just the unauthorised copyrighted drugs will get blocked.
2/12/2012 11:18:40 p.m.
Don't listen to their lies, this will NOT benefit ordinary New Zealanders, quite the opposite. See: http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/what-is-the-tppa/
2/12/2012 7:37:35 p.m.
"The Government says it won’t agree to anything that undermines Pharmac".
This statement is merely a way of assuaging citizen's concerns about the current Pharmac structure, which other countries want to base their own drug-buying regimes on, because it's so effetive.
Pharmac should not be touched. The statement will not prevent US drug firms from discussing ways of getting around public concerns by seeking some form of influence, since they view Pharmac as a barrier to their interests in New Zealand (that the TPP will afford).
TPPA = Taking People's Power Away.
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