Thursday, August 20, 2015

Potential Human Rights impacts of Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPP is a US-led  multi-lateral trade agreement being negotiated since 2006 originally by  Brunei, Chile, Singapore, and New Zealand (a.ka. P4);  joined in 2008 by Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam for a current total of  12 countries who reportedly represent the 40% of the world´s Gross Domestic Product (GDP); like the Transatlantic Trade andInvestment Partnership (TTIP) or the Trade in Services Agreeement (TISA), the Regional ComprehensiveEconomic Partnership or RCEP (another Pacific-area agreement which does include China) TPP is being negotiated in a secretive way: no public records of discussions,  no text of the agreement has been made public and only leaked chapters (2 out of 11) have been made available. An exception seems to have been made for lobbysts for differentindustries with stakes in the agreement such as pharmaceutical companies or financial services which through privileged access to public officials (and office holders) with responsiblity over the negotiations have been able to make sure that their clients points of view and red lines are well taken into account.

This opacity is more concerning taking into account that the issues (and policy implications) on the negotiating encompass a wide range of issues with dramatic effects and potential impact on the lives of millions; furthermore, future interpretations of clauses (also present in other MTAs being currently negotiated) such as the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISD), the Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET,linked to International Investment Agreements) may seriously hinder (and compromise) the possibilities of successive governments to draft laws and policies deemed non-compatible with the agreement, thus seriously compromising the people´s will regarding, such issues like public services, drug prices, or environmental regulations.These MTA, if completed, would insert themselves as a higher lever of the multiple Free Trade Agreements (FTA), that the US and over 15  countries have signed in the last 10 years. All of them stipulating norms and rules that go beyond what has been agreed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) embodied most notably in what is known as TRIPS+ clauses. This would  become  the new normal, specially when the WTO seems to be gridlocked in issues such as agriculture or pharmaceutical patents issues. Again, the lives of millions of people both in rich impoverished parts of the world  are going to be affected by agreements being negotiated behind closed doors with unelected people taking  unaccountable decisions on behalf of the next generations. 
We have added, in the Reports-Informes-Recursos section, a a Third World Network Report authored by Sanya Reid Smith and  distributed, among others, by Infojustice which focus on the potential human rights impact of TPP on a variety of areas and domains.