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US companies 'out to get Pharmac'

Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 8:05 a.m.

Talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement are continuing in Auckland today, as is opposition to the deal.

Now, a US trade campaigner has described the TPP as a corporate coup.

“[It’s] representing not what most people in the US want,” Lori Wallach, from American organisation Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch told Firstline this morning, “but rather is an agenda promoted by the biggest US corporations, specifically there are 600 official trade advisors of whom almost all are our biggest corporations.”

Ms Wallach also has a warning for the Government’s drug-buying agency.

“The big US pharmaceutical companies are out to get Pharmac. They’re happy to have it exist on favour, but they want to gut all of the price-savings rules so they can increase medicine prices.”

As well as this she claims Disney is trying to prevent New Zealand from using subsidies to attract film-makers and are attempting to alter copyright laws to make internet access more expensive.

Despite claims to the contrary from Trade Minister Tim Groser, Ms Wallach says the US Congress will never allow New Zealand agriculture to get a foothold in the American domestic market.

“When you get to the practicalities of the agreement… there’s very little on offer for New Zealand,” she says.

Representatives from 11 nations are currently in Auckland for the 15th round of talks on the TPP.

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