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.