News Release

Trans-Pacific “Free-Trade” “Charade” 

RXZAHARA HECKSCHER, zaharapeace at gmail.com
Heckscher is an activist and cancer patient who last week was arrested after disrupting the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in a protest aimed at maintaining access to affordable cancer medicines in the 12 countries affected by the trade treaty. See accuracy.org news release.

SEAN FLYNN, sflynn at wcl.american.edu
Flynn is associate director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the Washington College of Law at American University. He just wrote the piece “Now we know: TPP is worse than ACTA,” which states: “The negotiating parties to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) announced today that they have reached an agreement on a broad international regulatory harmonization agreement that will bind the U.S. to a new set of international minimum standards on intellectual property and other issues. It is now clear that the TPP will be worse on both process and substance for public interest concerns than the last plurilateral intellectual property agreement that the U.S. negotiated — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). What is notable about ACTA is that it failed. The EU Parliament overwhelmingly rejected it, and it was never submitted to Congress. And thus, as we consider the consideration of the TPP in Congress and other parliaments, ACTA is a useful reference point.”

CHARLES IDELSON, cidelson at calnurses.org, @cidelson
MARTHA WALLNER, martha at marthawallner.net
Idelson and Wallner are with National Nurses United, the largest union and professional association of nurses in the U.S. Idelson said today: “Bernie Sanders is right on point when he says ‘Wall Street and other big corporations have won again.” See: “Sanders Vows to Stop ‘Disastrous’ TPP as Ministers Seal Deal for Corporate Elite.”

See new piece by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Adam S. Hersh: “Trans-Pacific free-trade charade” which states: “You will hear much about the importance of the TPP for ‘free trade.’ The reality is that this is an agreement to manage its members’ trade and investment relations — and to do so on behalf of each country’s most powerful business lobbies. … For starters, consider what the agreement would do to expand intellectual property rights for big pharmaceutical companies, as we learned from leaked versions of the negotiating text. Economic research clearly shows the argument that such intellectual property rights promote research to be weak at best. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary: When the Supreme Court invalidated Myriad’s patent on the BRCA gene, it led to a burst of innovation that resulted in better tests at lower costs. Indeed, provisions in the TPP would restrain open competition and raise prices for consumers in the U.S. and around the world — anathema to free trade.”

See Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement — the group “expresses its dismay that TPP countries have agreed to United States government and multinational drug company demands that will raise the price of medicines for millions by unnecessarily extending monopolies and further delaying price-lowering generic competition. The big losers in the TPP are patients and treatment providers in developing countries. Although the text has improved over the initial demands, the TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”