Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP): Joint Statement

Green Parties in Taiwan, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines have issuing this joint statement to express our concern over the undemocratic and non-transparent nature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

More than just another trade agreement, the TPPA provisions could hinder access to safe, affordable medicines, weaken local content rules for media, stifle high-tech innovation, and even restrict the ability of future governments to legislate for the good of public health and the environment.  This agreement has been negotiated behind closed doors with a level of secrecy that is completely unacceptable in a democratic society.  Greens believe that the process needs to be transparent. 

 

The Right To Set Our Own Laws

Leaked details of the TPPA reveal that, foreign investors and firms could sue countries in a private international tribunal if our governments or local councils pass laws that reduce company's profits or adversely affect their businesses. 

The current Australian government has indicated it will not agree to clauses intended to protect multinational businesses from the impact of policy decisions, but New Zealand and Canada's leaders have refused to do the same (even after Canada was on the receiving end of costly lawsuits under NAFTA).

 

The End of a Free Internet

The Greens believe the TPPA is being used to sneak in measures to bind its member countries to extensive and harsh laws on Internet use that wouldn't be acceptable at the domestic level - including harsher criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements, a 'take-down and ask questions later' approach to pages and content alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers having to disclose personal information to authorities without safeguards for privacy. The European Parliament voted 478-39 against the international ACTA treaty, which was trying to create similar standards. Now, the same type of regulation is being attempted under the TPPA.

 

More IP rights for the big players

The Intellectual Property Rights chapter of the TPPA was leaked in draft form in February 2011. We anticipate that unless a more moderate and balanced version is adopted, shoppers, schools and libraries would end up paying more for their books and DVD's because it would let copyright holders veto parallel importing. Small and medium-sized software and IT businesses would have their innovative visions stifled by constraining patent laws. Finally, large pharmaceutical companies could use the legislation to deny state drug-buying agencies access to reliable, low cost medicines.

 

Behind Closed Doors

Almost everything we have learnt about the TPPA's contents comes from leaked documents that the negotiators didn't want the public to see. No agreement this important should be finalised without the informed input of the ordinary people it will affect.

Yet while representatives of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, major pharmaceutical companies and the Motion Picture Association of America have access to the text, democratically elected members of parliament, advocacy organisations for healthcare and the environment and ordinary citizens are being left out in the cold.

Governments, including the US, have opened up to the public in the past by releasing the draft text of agreements. In 2001, all nine chapters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement were released. At the time, this was called an 'important step' that would make the trade negotiation process 'more transparent and accessible'. If this was the standard for public accountability in 2001, it is disconcerting that similar standards are not in play in 2012.

Together, Green Parties in Taiwan, Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines are declaring that we will only support a fair, genuinely progressive trade agreement that promotes sustainable development and the creation of new jobs alongside the protection of the environment and human rights (including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining). We call on our current governments to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding this agreement and to open these negotiations to public input.

Canada Greens statement

Greens Japan statement:【世界のみどり】 TPPに関する、緑の党三カ国による共同声明  , 【Statement】Japan must not join negotiations for TPP

Taiwan Green Party Statement

Greens PH (Partido Kalikasan) Statement: http://www.greensph.org/index.php/media-corner/statements/138-greens-oppose-the-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tppa

Taiwan Friends of the Global Greens