How the TPP Could Alter Medicine, Agriculture & National Security

Occupy Corporatism
by Susanne Posel

Susanne.Posel-Headline.News.Official- obama.trans.pacific.partnership.medicine.farming.national.security_occupycorporatism

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) includes a collection of countries who are secretly negotiating trade deals which will be revealed in a meeting in Hawaii held next month:

• United States
• Japan
• Canada
• Australia
• Malaysia
• New Zealand
• Singapore
• Peru
• Brunei
• Chile
• Mexico
• Vietnam

This agreement will affect “more than 700 million people” in areas such as intellectual property, medical care, and other advancements.

Journalist Michele Flournoy made a note of how the TPP improves the necessity of strengthening “America’s security ties, which are a unique and central feature of US global power. These critical partnerships are at their strongest and most durable when military cooperation rests on a foundation of shared economic interests. Wealthier partners benefiting from a more open regional trading system would be able to devote greater resources to helping the U.S. address global and regional security challenges, from counterterrorism and maritime security to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”

Flournoy praise the TPP for being “an unprecedented opportunity—and one that may not return for decades—to establish widespread trade rules in Asia that advance US values and interests. Ensuring that countries like Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam elevate their practices to meet these higher standards would yield economic and social reforms that the US has long sought to advance in Asia.”

Pharmaceutical corporations involved in the TPP would become “prolonged monopolies” which would stifle affordable medicines to poor nations. This includes the possibility that regulations on medicines could become unpredictable because of the investment costs of medicine to “vulnerable populations”.

The right to health is not covered in the TPP which weakens the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) which remains an international public law granting investors rights to utilize legal disputes to bring a foreign government to court.

Farmers are concerned about the TPP as well as the medical community.

Chuck Earnest, rice farmer from Missouri, said : “A free trade agreement across the Pacific Ocean could open up markets and raise prices for him as well as other rice producers. About 40 percent of the American rice crop is exported year after year, and so we have to have access to far more markets in order to be able to move our crop.”

Earnest believes that US farmers “would benefit greatly from more international trade deals like” the TPP because with “a range of commodities we might increase our exports to Japan, which means higher U.S. prices for these commodities and somewhat greater revenue to farmers and producers.”

Earlier in 2015, Tom Vislack, secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) told the House Agriculture Committee (HAC) that the TPP should be approved to “circumvent smaller trade deals that likely won’t be subject to as much scrutiny. This Trans Pacific Partnership is a big deal.”

Former secretaries of the USDA wrote a joint letter about the TPP: “As former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture, we know firsthand the importance of trade to America’s farm and ranch families. Every President since Gerald Ford has received TPA. Thanks to opportunities created by trade agreements, U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2014 soared to a new record of $152.5 billion propelling farm income also to new highs. Trade helps farmers, their suppliers, distributors and customers. Exports support rural economies and the U.S. economy as a whole through agricultural processing, ancillary services and a host of related businesses. This was true when each of us served as US Secretary of Agriculture, and it is true now.”

The former secretaries concluded: “We are excited about new opportunities for U.S. agriculture in foreign markets. Opening markets helps farm families and their communities prosper. Other governments also recognize this and are actively forging their own trade agreements. If the United States stands still, other countries will quickly move ahead of us. For us, the choice is clear: we encourage Congress to enact Trade Promotion Authority and support trade agreements that help U.S. farmers, ranchers, and producers thrive.”

Larry Summers, former secretary of the US Treasury and former chief economist for the World Bank (WB) explanation of the TPP in an op-ed piece: “The combination of changing patterns of trade, in which more activity takes place with low-wage economies, and new research has altered consensus thinking on trade. The view now is that trade and globalization have increased inequality in the US by allowing more earning opportunities for those at the top and exposing ordinary workers to more competition.”

Summers pointed out: “No plausible TPP agreement will achieve all that we want. But it should be possible to negotiate an agreement that is better than the alternative of growing trade shaped only by agreements that exclude the US. I hope and expect that TPP when presented for approval will meet this test.”

Occupy Corporatism