TPPWatch Action Bulletin #11 – 3 June 2012

High – Energy strategy meeting in Wellington

Last week, activists from unions, health, environment, church, education, IT, and community sectors met in Wellington to kick this campaign up a notch. Lots of energy and bright ideas should (hopefully) mean lots more resources – some short and snappy, some more in-depth, thanks to a volunteer communications team … and some events, a small town tour, and a one day conference. More soon …

Next round – San Diego  … and bust?

A sense of desperation surrounds the next round of TPPA negotiations in San Diego from 2-10 July. US media are talking of the TPP as being ‘Doha’d’ – it could grind to a halt under inflated rhetoric and demands, like the Doha round at the World Trade Organization. That echoes an NBR’s story where a US business rep said there was a “chasm” between political ambitions for an Asian-Pacific free trade deal and the countries’ negotiators.”

Will the government sell us out?

In the same story, John Key told the NZ-US Council conference the TPPA is all about getting more dairy access to the US, and we’ll hold out til we get it (yeah???).  NZ’s lead negotiator David Walker downplayed expectations: “ it is highly unlikely there will be open markets in all areas from “day one” – especially with something as thorny as agriculture”. He dodged  the question about a deal being signed by Christmas saying “I’m not a betting man.” But the US is putting massive pressure on the other 8 governments to cave in to their demands – NZ Trade Minister Groser has just been in Washington, so let’s hope the pressure at home stopped him selling us out – and off.

Duck shooters against the TPPA!

Duck shooters, like many others, have cut costs thanks to parallel importing. That quirky entry point underpins a short and punchy story on how the TPPA could stop parallel imports and other IP laws. AKA cheap imports cost a lot more – that’s free trade for you!

TPP threatens our sovereignty over Intellectual Property

Susan Chalmers from InternetNZ warned in an NBR story ‘Don’t trade away our digital future’ that ‘if NZ gets better access to US dairy and meat markets, the US gets to change NZ’s intellectual property (IP) laws to suit, namely, the film and music industries. NZ is then effectively stripped of its sovereignty when it comes to shaping aspects of its own IP policy.’ The comments are worth a read as well.

Govt says no threat to sovereignty …

The long delay in passing a law to do away with patents on software is also being blamed on not wanting to upset the Americans in the TPPA negotiations (Rob O’Neill, ). The government replied that the TPPA posed no danger to ICT laws. So why not let us judge for ourselves?

Tobacco report warns of threat to Smokefree 2025 Goal

This week a new report showed how agreements like TPPA threaten the goal of a smoke free Aotearoa New Zealand by 2025. Prof Jane Kelsey was commissioned as part of a research programme of the New Zealand Tobacco Control Research Turanga, co-funded by the Health Research Council and Ministry of Health. The Greens said Government should not sign us up to be sued by tobacco companies. So far no response from the government or the Maori Party … 

Alcohol Industry Hides Behind ‘Free Trade’ too

There are similar issues arise for alcohol as for tobacco. The NZ Distilled Spirits Assn defends its peddling of alcopops to youth as a ‘right to choose’ (DomPost on 14 May), with threats that stronger policies would breach NZ’s trade obligations. Jane Kelsey outlined how the booze industry might use the TPPA in a slide presentation to the Auckland Community Alcohol Forum on 24 May. Timely, as the controversial Alcohol Reform Bill – described by Alcohol Action as the Alcohol Non-reform Bill – is still waiting for a final reading in Parliament.

Stalemate over Labour Chapter at Dallas Talks

The US insists that labour rules in the TPPA that require 5 core ILO standards can be enforced; While Vietnam and Brunei are most affected, Australia and Chile don’t support enforcement either. We hear NZ shares their views.

Early warning – TV3 Think Tank on TPP on 1 July

Make sure you watch John Tamihere’s ‘Think Tank’ on TV3 Sunday morning on 1 July  to hear Mike Smith (activist), Sid Keepa (Maori Vice-President of NZCTU) and Prof Jane Kelsey debating the TPPA. No one from the cheer brigade was willing to appear …

Please share TPP activities or good articles:

contact Mary Ellen oconstance@gmail.com (the bulletin) and/or Hannah tppwatch@gmail.com (the website); Facebook page, Stop Stealing New Zealand and websites www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org

Thanks! Mary-Ellen O’Connor and Jane Kelsey on behalf of TPPWatch

Download this bulletin as a Word or PDF document.

View previous bulletins here: Bulletin 10, Bulletin 9, Bulletin 8, Bulletin 7, Bulletin 6, Bulletin 5, Bulletin 4, Bulletin 3, Bulletin 2, Bulletin 1

Add your name to the list of people opposed to the TPPA here. (To receive this bulletin by email tick the box at the bottom of the form)

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