TPPWatch Action Bulletin #18 – 29 September 2012

September 28, 2012

The next negotiating round will be held in Auckland from 3-12 December — time to organise!

As we predicted, the next TPPA negotiating round will be taking place in Auckland from the 3rd to the 12th of December. This is our best chance to mobilise opposition against the TPPA, so let’s get organising!

Brilliant new website!

We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand-new website www.itsourfuture.org.nz. It will act as a hub for information, organising, and action around the TPPA in New Zealand, particularly leading up to the Auckland negotiation round. Lots of activities will be rolled out, including opinion polls,  e-letters to MPs and petitions, a ‘Kiwi’s speak’ board to post photos and comments.

For those wanting to find out more about the TPPA there are accessible new information sheets about what New Zealanders stand to lose under the TPPA. So far these cover the overall effect of the TPPA on New Zealand; the TPPA’s implications for Tobacco and Alcohol regulation; the TPPA’s implications for access to medicines; and Investor-State Dispute Settlement under the TPPA. More will follow soon on the environment; genetic modification; financial regulation; information technology; intellectual property; te tiriti o waitangi; and culture.

Associated with the website are a new twitter account (https://twitter.com/ItsOurFutureNZ) and a new facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ItsOurFutureNZ).

Making fun of TPP: National Cartoon Competition Launched

A Trans-Pacific Partnership Cartoon Competition has been launched to encourage the country’s satirists and graphic artists to engage creatively with its many issues. The co-sponsors are Scoop Independent News (publishers of Scoop.co.nz), the Society of Authors, the Bruce Jesson Foundation and BizDojo, who will also host an exhibition of the cartoons in Auckland during the negotiation. The competition offers three $500 prizes: Best Cartoon judged by Finlay Macdonald, a people’s choice award voted online, and a student’s prize (0lus scholarship) from BizDojo. All entries will be exhibited online at www.itsourfuture.org.nz, and BizDojo’s exhibition space in Karangahape Rd, Auckland from 1 to 7 December, with an online auction where artists agree. Information on entries is at http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/cartoon-competition/.

Over 700,000 say ‘no’ to TPP in just a few days!

Actress Q’orianka Kilcher was arrested at the Leesburg venue of the last TPP round while delivering the Avaaz petition,at that pointed signed by over 350,000 people, now by twice as many. In a statement before her arrest Q’orianka said: “The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and it is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content, because these agreements would never see the light of day if US citizens and congress were allowed to see what is being proposed in our names.”

Excellent letter to John Key

In an inspired mix of satire and content, journalist Pat Booth has published an open letter to John Key on his blog Off Pat. You can follow his example by using the letter writing tool on the new website at http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/take-action/, and use or modify the template provided.

TPPA and public health lecture tour and media coverage

Over the last week Australian public health expert Dr Deborah Gleeson has given a series of  lectures on the public health risks of the TPPA in Auckland and Wellington. For those who missed out, Deborah wrote an excellent op-ed outlining the risks the TPPA poses to PHARMAC in the New Zealand Herald. It didn’t take Big Pharma long to scramble a response, with the General Manager of Medicines New Zealand — NZ’s pharmaceutical company lobby — defending the gutting of PHARMAC under the TPPA on the basis that “there is nothing to fear in having a robust discussion about the best way to deliver the best health outcomes.” How we can have “robust discussion” when the TPPA is being negotiated in secrecy?

Big Pharma on the offensive over PHARMAC

Meanwhile, Big Pharma has been doing a tour of their own. Joseph Damond, a senior vice-president of the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organisation, was in Wellington last month to convince Trade Minister Groser and the New Zealand negotiators to throw PHARMAC to the wind in the TPPA. Damond struggled to convince us that PHARMAC — which ensures New Zealand pays a lot less for medicines — is somehow bad for us. What he means is that PHARMAC’s bad for the profits of giant pharmaceutical companies. The IP team from the US Trade Representative’s office will be pushing the same line in NZ next week. Health and IT groups have asked to meet with them, as the Malaysian’s HIV-AIDS groups did there.

Health Select Committee refuses to hear dissenting voices on the TPPA

In a brazen display of double-standards, Damond strolled into the offices of the Trade Minister and New Zealand’s TPPA negotiators, but Labour Party’s health spokesperson Maryan Street revealed that National Party members on the Health Select Committee have twice refused to allow experts to brief the committee on possible effects of the TPP on New Zealand’s ability to determine its own health policies. This follows the earlier rejection of a petition led by the NZCTU for a hearing at the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.

Romney: TPPA as anti-China

If Mitt Romney were to win the US presidential elections Tim Groser would either have to eat his words that NZ would withdraw from the TPPA negotiations if they became “anti-china”, or stick to his guns and walk away. Romney recently publicly described the TPPA as “dramatic geopolitical and economic bulwark against China.”

Recaps on the Leesburg round of negotiations

The most recent round of TPPA negotiations have come and gone, with plenty of protest and no transparency. Read about the protest actions here , here, and here. For  excellent analysis of the issues and outcomes of the Leesburg round read these releases from US watchdog Public Citizen (here and here).

Dairy access to the US

Speaking before the Leesburg round an unnamed US negotiator effectively confirmed to Inside US Trade (no link) that market access for NZ dairy products was not seriously on the table until the end of the negotiations – when the trade-offs will be made. The US agricultural lobby believes the US will not make significant concessions to New Zealand dairy until hell freezes over – although PhRMA will have other ideas.

US dairy demands tight controls on Fonterra

Not only will US dairy not budge on New Zealand access to US markets, but Inside US Trade (no link) reported they are seeking to impose tight controls on the operation of Fonterra. In a press conference Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel said they are mulling over demands by American dairy farmers to include provisions that would impose special competition rules on Fonterra. Weisel said the USTR “are continuing discussion on that issue and we have not come to any conclusion at this point, and when we do we will be having whatever appropriate conversations we need to have with those involved”.

 Links

  • Sign the stopthetrap.net petition against the TPPA’s implications for the internet.
  • Sign the Corporate Accountability International petition against the secrecy of the TPPA.
  • Video: Public Citizen talking to Russia Today about TPP secrecy.
  • Interview: Electronic Freedom Foundation talking to the ACLU about the TPPA.

 Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page ItsOurFutureNZ; and website www.itsourfuture.org.nz


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.


Events coming up 24-27 September

September 19, 2012

Auckland

Mon, Sept 24, 7.30pm. Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd. Special GPJA Forum: Countdown to the TPPA round in December.

facebook event link here

It’s just been announced that the next round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations will be in Auckland from 3rd to 15th December.

That gives us about 10 weeks to plan and educate.

As a first step Global Peace and Justice Auckland is holding a meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 24 September at Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd.

Speakers will be:

Deb Gleeson, an Australian public health expert on the TPPA who has been brought over here by the unions. Deb will talk about the threat of the US-driven TPP agenda to public health, especially Big Pharma’s attack on affordable medicines and the tobacco industry assault on Australia’s plain packaging laws.

Jane Kelsey will provide an overview of the state of the TPPA negotiations and highlight the issues that have the potential to bring the negotiations to a grinding halt.

Followed by discussion about what to do between now and December.

Please come, armed with energy and ideas.

Tuesday 25 September 9-11.30am, School of Population Health, University of Auckland Tamaki Campus,  Room 730 220 (main function room off atrium). Symposium on Trade and Health presented by Dr Debbie Gleeson and Professor Jane Kelsey

facebook event link here

Topics to be addressed:

·         How does / will trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership affect health and the broader determinants of health in New Zealand and our Pacific region?

·         Who are the key stakeholders in these negotiations and how can health advocates, academics and health professionals become involved as stakeholders and advocates for fair trading in the region?

·         Views from key stakeholders in the Auckland region will be invited and discussion on the what next questions, particularly as they pertain to research questions, will be explored?

Staff, students and anyone else who might be interested are all most welcome.

Wellington

Wednesday 26th September, 5.30-6.30pm, Lecture Theatre 3 Government Buildings 15 Lambton Quay Victoria University.

Dr Deborah Gleeson will give a presentation on Public health, the cost of medicines, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations, focussing particularly on PHARMAC, medicine costs, and changes to the pharmaceutical patenting regime. There will also be a short commentary by Professor Susy Frankel (Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington) on the intellectual property implications of the TPPA. Geoff Annals, CEO of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, will introduce the speakers.

Thursday 27th September, 12.30-1.30pm, Adam Auditorium (Wellington City Art Gallery), Civic Square 101 Wakefield Street, Central Wellington

Dr Deborah Gleeson will give a presentation on Public Health, Big Business, and the TPPA, focussing on the TPPA’s implications for public health decision making — particularly on where the balance of power is struck between the interests of the public and those of big pharmaceutical companies.

Simon Terry (Executive Director, Sustainability Council of New Zealand) will also make a short address on concerns for the environment around the TPPA, in particular the proposed Investor State Dispute provisions. Warren Lindberg, CEO of the Public Health Association, will introduce the speakers.

Thursday 27th September, 6.00-7.00pm, 19 Tory Street Community Gallery Central Wellington (limited space)

Dr Deborah Gleeson will give a presentation on Public Health, the Asia-Pacific region, and the TPPA, focussing on the TPPA’s potential effect on developing countries, in particular on access to medicines.

Dr Bill Rosenberg, Economist and Director of Policy at the NZCTU, will introduce Dr Gleeson and will give a brief presentation on the implications of the TPPA for workers.

Click here for the flyer with more details of the Wellington events
All events are on facebook here


TPPWatch Action Bulletin #17 – 12 September 2012

September 12, 2012

TPPA talks bogged down, high risk of trade offs

At APEC in 2011 the political leaders of TPPA countries told negotiators to finish the deal by the end of 2012. Now John Key says a TPP won’t be signed in 2012 and a 2013 deal was only ‘possible’. At APEC last week the TPP trade ministers reported ‘significant narrowing of gaps’ in some areas, and slower progress in others! The political leaders told negotiators ‘to direct their energies at promptly finding pragmatic, creative, flexible, and mutually-acceptable solutions to the remaining issues under negotiation.’ That suggests high-risk political tradeoffs simply to make a deal.

Activists mobilise at Leesburg round from 6-15 September

At this week’s round, US anti-TPP campaigners made their mark again. A Rainforest Action Network blockade stopped negotiators entering the resort where talks were held, with a 75-foot high banner saying ‘Free Trade My Ass: Flush the TPP’ suspended by inflated giant buttocks. 30+ negotiators were taken on a nightime bus tour of Washington’s sights and a reception at the Teamsters union penthouse with US politicians critical of TPPA. OpenMedia set up a great citizens’ comment stream athttp://openmedianow.net/tppconsole/ where thousands took part.

Auckland the next stop on the TPP circus?

There are strong rumours the next round of negotiations will be in Auckland starting on 3 December. If that’s true, we need to put creating thinking caps on! More in the next bulletin …

Powerplays: TPPA v ASEAN-plus-six FTA

The super-power contest is heating up. Negotiations for a competing mega-FTA between 10 ASEAN countries and China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have just been launched. China is in and the US is not! NZ wants to keep a foot in each camp. Trade Minister Tim Groser is putting his eggs in the TPPA basket, but states‘if TPP were to start to weaken, and we will fight that as hard as we can, my theory would be that [the ASEAN+6] FTA will help us’. China, which it is hosting APEC in 2014, will have different ideas.

Avaaz weighs in on the TPP

Online activist hub http://www.avaaz.org has launch a global campaign against the TPP, asking people to sign on to the message: ‘As concerned global citizens, we call on you to make the TPP process transparent and accountable to all, and to reject any plans that limit our governments’ power to regulate in the public interest. The TPP is a threat to democracy, undermining national sovereignty, workers’ rights, environmental protections and Internet freedom. We urge you to reject this corporate takeover.’ It’s a quick and easy way to join with activists around the world.

Hear Australian Public Health expert on TPP Auckland & Wgtn 24-27 September

Deb Gleeson, an Australian public health expert on TPP, will speak in Wellingtonon public heath issues at 5.30pm, Wednesday 26th September with Prof Susy Frankel at Rutherford House, with Simon Terry from the Sustainability Council on Thursday, 27th September at 12.30 pm at City Art Gallery, and 6.00pm at 19 Tory Street with Rainbow on impacts on poorer countries and HIV/AIDs. There will be a public meeting in Auckland in the evening on Monday 24 or Tuesday 25th; details will be posted on TPPWatch.org.

Chance to tell the US Consul what you think about TPPA

On Thursday 27 Sept at 6.30pm the US Consul Dana Decree will hold a ‘Town Hall meeting’ for American citizens at the US Embassy, 29 Fitzherbert St, Thorndon. US citizens must RSVP. Inside or outside, it seems a good opportunity to tell the US what you think about the TPPA.

US law-makers condemn secrecy around the TPPA

Open letters written by 3 groups of US legislators have called for more transparency around TPP negotiations: a group of 8 Democrats in the House of Representatives repeated a request to be official observers to the negotiations; US Representative Darrell Issa (California Republican) and Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon Democrat) “insist in the strongest terms possible” that US negotiators reveal what they are asking for on intellectual property; and a joint resolution from the Maine Legislature urges more transparency in the negotiations. Wouldn’t it be great if NZ Labour, the Greens, NZ First, Mana, even the Maori Party were to do the same?

Amnesty International weighs in on the TPP

Amnesty International has come out swinging on the TPPA. Executive Director of Amnesty USA said: “No one has the right to trade away our hard-fought legal protections for free speech and the right to health, and much less to do it behind closed doors … It is time for TPP negotiators to show the public their cards and, more importantly, the draft text of the agreement.” Ka pai!

US Faith-based groups speak out too

An open letter from Washington-based inter-faith working group on trade and investment, representing major denominations, warned that investor-state provisions harm public health, access to essential services, and the environment and ‘undermine the very principles of human dignity and respect for the integrity of God’s creation which we support.’

More on National’s backdown on software patenting

Further to the government’s U-turn on the patentability of software, betraying the New Zealand tech industry, documents released under the Official Information Act show IBM and Microsoft met privately with members of the Ministry of Economic Development twice in 2010 to lobby for the patentability of software. The government has refused to allow its last minute changes to software patents to go before a select committee. So much for democracy.

Regional statement oppose TPPA Copyright proposals

Groups across the TPP countries, including Electronic Freedom Foundation, InternetNZ, OpenMediaCanada, Innovarte Chile, Electronic Frontiers Australia, Public Knowledge US, have signed a joint statement opposing the proposed text on exceptions and limitations to copyright under the TPP, and supporting New Zealand’s proposed alternative. You can support this too.

Activist flash mob over asset sales

Pressure to stop the privatisations continues. A group of inventive activists performed a flash occupation of the Clemanger BBDO offices in Wellington. Clemanger Group Ltd is the communications company being paid millions of taxpayer dollars to provide PR for the National government’s asset sales programme. Food for thought …

Articles

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com ; Facebook page, Stop Stealing New

Zealandand websites http://www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org

 

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page, Stop Stealing New Zealand; and websites www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.

You can view previous bulletins via the TPPWatch homepage.

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)


TPPWatch Action Bulletin #16 – 29 August 2012

August 29, 2012

Trade Minister Tim Groser bids for top-dog role in the WTO

NZ’s Trade Minister and #1 TPP cheer leader is running for Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.  Hopefully he gets the job and passes responsibility for the TPP to someone less ideologically blinkered and more willing to advance the interests of the New Zealand public.

Big tobacco launches offensive on plain packaging

Last week the High Court of Australia humiliated Big Tobacco by striking down a constitutional challenge to Australia’s right to introduce plain packaging of tobacco. In NZ Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia praised the decision, but the fight is far from over in either country. Big Tobacco launched a “charm” offensive here using social media and a flashy website, bypassing tobacco advertising restrictions with claims they simply want to protect the right to use their legal branding. Behind them are barely veiled threats of legal action at the WTO and under investment treaties if New Zealand proceeds with plain packaging. Phillip Morris already has a lawsuit against Australia, soon to begin in a secret investment arbitration hearing in Singapore, using investor-state enforcement under an investment agreed with Hong Kong. A similar lawsuit against NZ would also have to find a back door way to use an existing treaty; Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in the TPP would let them stroll through the front door.

Green Parties in NZ, Oz and Canada take a stand against the TPP

The Green parties in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada have issued a joint statement slamming the secrecy of the negotitations and expressing concern about the impact a completed TPP would have on healthcare, the environment, internet freedom, and access to information. It’s good to see political parties taking a stance on the TPP; long may they continue. Hopefully Labour will follow suit at its conference in November.

Australian Green Party calls for transparency of negotiations

New Zealand Greens might follow the Australian Greens’ example by tabling a proposal in Parliament asking for TPP negotiations to be made public. A separate motion asked Australian negotiators to support the strong provision pushed by New Zealand to protect the public interest from harsh intellectual property laws (similarly, New Zealand has left Australia out in the cold for rejecting Investor-States disputes). Although both motions failed, they were worth a shot. If the Greens did the same here they might have better fortunes, given Labour’s support for better process around the TPP.

The Warehouse speak out against TPP’s ban on parallel imports

Mark Powell, Chief Executive of The Warehouse, has come out strongly against the parallel import provisions in the leaked TPPA intellectual property chapter. He was right that banning parallel importing is nothing to do with free trade; instead, it restricts trade for the benefit of overseas companies who set different prices for the same products in different countries. The import-dependent nature of the Warehouse makes Trade Minister Groser’s frequent complaint that all opponents to the TPPA are “anti-trade” seem pretty silly.

US Congress Heavyweight Chats Up PM Key

The trade lobby continued its lobbying. US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus met with John Key to talk up the benefits of the TPP, doubtless pushing his goal for a TPP to ‘break down trade barriers and achieve new market access for US exporters that would help create American jobs’. Of course what is good the US will also be good for us … The trip by US IP negotiators to Wellington has been deferred, probably til early Novermber.

Weekly TPPA protests outside the Japanese Prime Minister’s office

Baucus went from NZ to Japan, to convince Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to apply formally to join the negotiations, on terms that the US approves. Since April this year thousands of people have been holding weekly protests against nuclear power outside Noda’s office every Friday. Creative Japanese activists have begun holding similar anti-TPP protests each Thursday, making it clear that Noda’s already vulnerable government will face the wrath of a wide range of constituencies, as well as further defections from his party, if he proceeds.

Government back-tracks over software patents in preparation for TPPA

What could make a government do a complete 180 on a policy decision widely supported by industry and endorsed by Select Committee? The demands of the United States in the TPP of course! In a move that can only be explained as shifting NZ towards the leaked  US Intellectual Property negotiating position, the government has tabled amendments to the Patents Bill – most importantly, reversing the decision that software will not be patentable. The New Zealand Open Source Society succinctly says the government is throwing kiwi software developers under a bus.

Creative Freedom Foundation speaks out against TPP copyright provisions

In similar vein, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Director of NZ’s Creative Freedom Foundation voiced her opposition to the TPP, in particular the extension of copyright terms. Writing for the popular online magazine The Big Idea, she fears a TPP will restrict artists’ ability to build on existing works by eroding the public domain and tightening Fair Dealing exceptions. Bronwyn also reiterates a concern raised by the Librarian and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA)   that the TPP would prevent libraries by preserving information by transferring them onto different formats (i.e. VHS to DVD).

Next round in Leesburg, Virginia 6-15 September

Plans are afoot for another high impact campaign at the next round inside and outside the negotiations, leaving no doubt that the TPP is a lousy deal. Watch the website, scoop, facebook …

Headsup – Public Health expert visiting late September

Deb Gleeson, an public health specialist, has helped spearhead  Australia’s public health debate on the TPP. Deb is Convener of the Political Economy of Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of Australia. She will be in Auckland and Wellington at the end of September. Mark off 24 and 25th in Auckland and 26th and 27th in Wellington. More details in the next bulletin or contact Marilyn Head from NZNO.

Other resources:

More information on tobacco: Professor Jane Kelsey’s presentation for the Tobacco Control Research Tūranga: audio and powerpoint.

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page, Stop Stealing New Zealand; and websites www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.

Previous bulletins are available via the TPPWatch website

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)


TPPWatch Action Bulletin #15 – 15 August 2012

August 15, 2012

US IP negotiators coming to ‘consult’ NZ

A tiki tour of TPPA countries by US intellectual property negotiators comes to Wellington in late August to ‘consult’ about medicines and other intellectual property issues as they revise their position post-presidential election. In Malaysia the US team met local NGOs, especially the HIV/AID campaigners, who slammed the impact of the TPP on the cost of anti-retroviral drugs. There are plans to organise a similar meeting here. Contact Marilyn Head from New Zealand Nurses Organisation who is coordinating the health sector campaign on TPPA.

NZ Pro-TPP Lobby Sponsors MPs Trip to Washington DC

As part of their lobbying strategy inside Parliament, the NZ US Council sponsored a 4-day trip to Washington last month for National MP Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Labour’s Shane Jones, who co-chair the NZ US Parliamentary Friendship Group. Statements from both MPs suggest the strategy is working.

Labour’s position on TPPA …

In a short speech to Wellington unions on Friday 3 August Labour’s Deputy Leader Grant Robertson outlined the Party’s position on the TPPA: support for a ‘rules-based multilateral trading system’, but concern about behind-the-border aspects of a ‘trade’ agreement that is more about foreign investment. This fence sitting is hopefully short-term. Robust discussion at recent Labour caucus meetings will be reinforced by two strong resolutions against the TPP to Labour’s conference in November. It is important that Labour people at the conference know what’s at stake and how a TPPA would mean Labour can’t deliver many of its policies. Write to David Shearer and other Labour MPs to urge a strongly critical position.

Chance to Question TPPA Cheerleaders

The re-launched Institute of Governance and Policy Studies is giving Tim Groser a platform to promote his trade agenda in Wellington on Thursday 16 August at 5.30 at Rutherford House. Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of TPPA cheerleader the NZ-US Council, speaks at a New Zealand Institute of International Affairs lecture on Monday 20 August, 6pm at Auckland University. Both are good opportunities to ask some pointed questions.

More Leaks Expose Battleground on Copyright Exceptions

Last bulletin we reported the launch of the NZ Fairdeal campaign (great information and action ideas). Since then, two competing clauses on copyright limitations and exceptions have been leaked. Australia and the United States are proposing strong protections to rights holders, while New Zealand, Chile, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam want governments to have more scope to regulate their own IP regime. Singapore and Peru are sitting on the fence. For great analysis of these texts and their context see the Electronic Frontier Foundation and infojustice.org.

Is National Using TPPA to undermine Kyoto?

Contrasting proposals for climate change were discussed at last month’s San Diego round. The texts are, of course, secret. Peru’s apparently reflects their climate change policy on lowering carbon emissions. New Zealand’s proposal aims to ‘make trade policy and environmental policy mutually supportive’ – remember Groser is both minister trade negotiations and climate change. MFAT won’t discuss the content, but Inside US Trade reports (again no url) the ‘aspirational’ text promotes a carbon-emissions trading regime among TPPA parties, as a possible first step to an Asia-Pacific market for trading carbon emissions. This could undermine ongoing multilateral negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

US Dairy Industry wants a ‘Fonterra clause’

Heard the one about the US opening its dairy markets to Fonterra? Yeah, right! The one concrete goal that Trade minister Groser and others claim from the TPPA – more dairy exports to the US – remained at impasse in the San Diego round. Meanwhile, Inside US Trade (again no url) reports a major pushback against Fonterra from US American dairy exporters. They say Fonterra’s dominance in the NZ industry and global exports gives it an unfair advantage when competing inside the US and abroad, and they want special competition rules to rein them in.

Evidence to Waitangi Tribunal on Investment Treaty Risks

At the Waitangi Tribunal hearing on the electricity company asset sales Professor Jane Kelsey and the head of MFAT’s legal division did legal battle over the risks under NZ’s investment agreements if the government delayed Treaty redress until after the partial privatisations. The Tribunal’s interim report said ‘the claimant’s position … is not an implausible one’. Watch out for the final report on 24th August.

NZIER sceptical about TPPA as Asia-Pacific Platform

The main justification Tim Groser gives for the TPPA is a ‘gold standard’ platform for a free trade area of the Asia Pacific. Significantly, the latest NZ Institute of Economic Research Insight guardedly criticised the supranational model TPPA as a model for regional economic integration among ASEAN countries, preferring the ASEAN Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership based on consensus-based cooperation.

Resources

An academic paper by Professor Jane Kelsey addresses the systemic issues relating to regulatory coherence, transparency etc in relation to the TPPA’s strategic objectives.

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page, Stop Stealing New Zealand; and websites www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.

View previous bulletins here: Bulletin 14, Bulletin 13, Bulletin 12, Bulletin 11, 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)


TPPWatch Action Bulletin #14 – 29 July 2012

July 29, 2012

TPPA Circus – Next stop Leesburg in September

The San Diego round came and went – apologies, the debrief is still wending its way from Jane Kelsey’s laptop.  It will be on Scoop later this week, and linked in the next bulletin. For great photos click. For now, see KEIOnline account. The next stop is Leesburg, near Washington DC, from 6-15  September. They are still talking about closing off chapters by the end of the year – meaning all but the big political issues for governments to trade off. But a speech from the US Chamber of Commerce head said talks were unlikely to conclude before late 2013, or even 2014.

Hot issues

This is pre-election time for Obama so hugely sensitive issues like medicines and a tobacco exception were off the table. Other areas of intellectual property remain stalled, with standoffs on others, notably Australia’s refusal to accept investor-state enforcement. Countries are still scrambling to assess US proposals on state enterprises. Some new issues emerged – e-commerce and cross-border services, which may be another route to restrict regulation of digital content, offshore financial services and data storage; new proposals for exceptions; climate change …

“Fair Deal Coalition” on Copyright Launched

A brilliant new campaign has been launched by InternetNZ, NZRise, TUANZ, Consumer, and many other groups, with lots of action suggestions on http://fairdeal.net.nz/.“The Fair Deal campaign is about keeping the Trans Pacific Partnership from changing our copyright laws. A Fair Deal is one that opens up new trade opportunities without forcing us to make copyright law changes that would take a major toll on New Zealand.”

LIANZA (the Library and Information Systems of Aotearoa) warned of the impact on libraries and users, while Palmerston North Digital Services librarian Warrick Taylor said rumoured copyright changes would be a “tragedy” for the city library. NZ Royal Foundation for the Blind says the TPP could negatively impact blind and partially sighted New Zealanders.

NZ College of Public Health Medicine Speaks out

The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine ‘calls for openness and transparency in debating the potential health impacts of any free trade agreements such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), particularly on critical areas such as pharmaceutical pricing mechanisms, climate change mitigation and other environmental policy, and public policy.

US Told HIV-AIDS Won’t Go Away with TPPA

US trade officials plan a tiki tour around TPPA capitals, including NZ, to put pressure on and broker a deal on the meds issues. The USTR is under real political pressure as most countries reject their demands, members of US Congress are outraged, and the Global HIV/AIDs conference descended on Washington, protesting outside the White House. Doctors Without Borders released a report on how TPPA will severely restrict access to live-saving medicines, as did UNAIDS.  See also Radio Australia 5 minute interview of US meds specialist Peter Maybarduk, an article from Kelly Nichols of MSF in Canberra Times, and challenge to Hillary Clinton’s optimism about an end to Aids, if the TPPA comes into being. And ROCK THE TPP (online soon)

Meanwhile former ACT MP Heather Roy for NZ PhRMA pretended it had told its US counterparts to back off – but really was just running the same line about need for ‘transparency’, ‘due process’ and ‘science based decisions’ that US PhRma has been arguing since TPPA began.

Climate change hits the TPPA Agenda

A new issue hit the talks in San Diego, with 3 proposals on climate change. There is still not a lot of information. Peru’s proposal appears to genuinely address the issue. New Zealand’s proposal reportedly has two parts: 1) Aspirational language stating that countries should try to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels, which essentially reiterates past G-20 commitments; and 2) Aspirational language stating that TPPA countries reaffirm the benefit of pricing carbon with a view towards establishing a regional carbon trading system. This seems to align with NZ’s desire to generate an alternative trading system that doesn’t rely on the Kyoto regime.

Key responds to Big Tobacco Threats, yet Denies Risks of TPP 

The consultation document on plain packaging tobacco was released last week. The Regulatory Impact Statement said the cost to defend a WTO case could be $1.5-2million, and an international investment dispute $3-6 million each party (a serious underestimate). Sadly, PM Key was bowing to pressure from the start, saying he would not die in the ditch for the policy. Asked about the TPPA, Key said it wasn’t yet known if it would be an issue and ‘like any negotiation, there’s give and take, so the overall way that the government will look at it is, is it in New Zealand’s best interests to negotiate and complete the TPP’, ie. Fonterra’s interests will trump. Labour’s leader David Shearer seemed to back him, contradicting criticisms of John Key’s position by Clare Curran. This is just the beginning. Jane Kelsey will speak on trade and investment agreements and tobacco control in Auckland 5.15pm 9 August.

Hear Labour’s stance on the TPP

Wellington Central MP and Labour Deputy Leader Grant Robertson will be delivering a short speech on “Labour’s stance on the TPP” at 5pm on Friday 3rd August at the PPTA Offices, Level 5, 60 Willis St, Wellington.

The event is sponsored by Unions Wellington.

There will be free food and a bar with $5 drinks, all proceeds to a workers’ cause.

All welcome to attend.

News Stories

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page, Stop Stealing New Zealand and websites www.tppwatch.org and tppdigest.org


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file or online here

View previous bulletins here: Bulletin 13, Bulletin 12, Bulletin 11, 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)


TPPWatch Action Bulletin #13 – 8 July 2012

July 8, 2012

Tim Groser explains the problem of excess sovereignty

Trade Minister Tim Groser gave the clearest statement yet that the TPPA is about conceding sovereignty in a NZ Herald article on 7 July. “Of course trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries to do things … New Zealand’s problem had been the “excess sovereignty” other countries had exerted over it. … We needed to control their sovereign right to do whatever suited their fancy. The whole point of international law is to put limits around countries’ sovereignty on the basis of negotiated understandings.” So it is now official that the TPPA means ‘controlling’ the sovereignty of other countries, and conceding our own, in a deal that is brokered behind closed doors without any evidence of tangible gains and potentially significant costs.

Two years into TPPA negotiations, another round in San Diego

Yet another round of negotiations began in San Diego this week. It is business as usual – ‘stakeholders’ trying to find out what’s happening behind closed doors in the secretive talks. Continuing the farce of ‘transparency’, the ‘briefing’ on the round was held on the 2nd day, before anything had happened! Even Canada and Mexico who have been accepted as negotiating partners are outside the door while the US conducts a 90 day consultation.

San Diego says ‘no way TPPA’

Protests and events have been taking place, with the Occupy movement and unions making their voices heard in San Diego. See the update on activities; check out the TPPA BAT Signal on facebook, with more to come from the march and rally on 7 July. A report from Jane Kelsey on ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ parts of the San Diego round will be posted on Scoop next week.

Political Backlash in the US

While U.S. trade negotiators are meeting behind closed doors in San Diego, 130 state legislators from all 50 states and Puerto Rico have signed a letter to President Obama’s senior trade official warning that they will oppose the deal unless the administration alters its current approach. The press release explains what this means politically.

Bye Bye ACTA, TPPA next?

Copyright has become a huge battleground for international treaties. The TPPA is seen as the backdoor route for the US to achieve what it couldn’t in the recently concluded Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Now ACTA has hit two rocks:

(i) the European Parliament voted by a massive majority of 478 to 39 votes not to support ACTA. See comments from the Australian Digital Alliance

(ii) Australia’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) issued a report highly critical of ACTA. See comments by the Australian Digital Alliance and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee on the JSCOT report, and their joint submission, and a press release for AFTINET welcoming the Parliamentary committee’s rejection of ACTA and condemning similar proposals in TPPA.

Libraries speak out

The International Federation of Library Associations issued a statement on 4 July expressing concern that agreements like ACTA and the TPPA erode the fundamental balance in copyright law and do not seriously consider and protect the interest of the broader community in having equitable access to knowledge and cultural expression.

Pharmac analysing costs of RPPA

We understand that Pharmac has been asked to analyse the cost implications of the intellectual property provisions of the TPPA on pharmaceutical expenditure…..

TV3 Think Tank on TPPA

View a half hour discussion on the TPPA, featuring activist Mike Smith, NZCTU Maori Vice President Syd Keepa and Prof Jane Kelsey, with John Tamihere on Think Tank, shown on 1 July.

Secrecy in Investment Talks mocks democracy

An Op Ed in the NZ Herald by Jane Kelsey on the leaked investment text generated a  69 comments, with an interesting debate about the investment text. The comment track is worth a read.

The Standard is publishing good stuff about the TPPA and the blogs are interesting too.

http://thestandard.org.nz/whats-in-the-tppa

Kai Tiaki

Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand ran an article in their June edition about the need for nurses to fight TPP. It is not yet available electronically but access a hard copy if you can.

Public and state sector… possible action???

With the spectacular coverage TPPA has received of late, it makes sense to capitalise on this and organise a campaign, looking at the potential impact on the public and state sectors…If anyone in Wellington could assist, please contact either Michael Stevenson at PPTA or Marilyn Head at NZNO.

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


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.

View previous bulletins here: Bulletin 12, Bulletin 11, 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)