Details are leaking of a top-secret, global corporate power grab of breathtaking scope — attacking everything from a free Internet to health and environmental regulations, and we have just 4 days to stop it.
Big business has a new plan to fatten their pockets: a giant global pact, with an international tribunal to enforce it, that is kept top secret for years (even from our lawmakers!) and then brought down like a Death Star on our democracies. Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Walmart and almost 600 other corporate lobbyists are all in on the draft — including limits on smoking laws, affordable medicines and free speech on the Net.
The latest round of negotiations ends in just 4 days — but outcries in each of our countries could shake the confidence of negotiators and scuttle the talks forever. Let’s get to a million against the global corporate takeover. Sign below and forward widely. Avaaz will project our petition counter on the walls of the conference so negotiators can see the opposition to their plan exploding in real time:
The deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), is written to protect investors from government regulation, even if that regulation is passed in the public interest. Leaked versions suggest the TPP would undermine protections for air and water safety and reintroduce measures from the US Internet freedom attack as well as steamrolling efforts to produce generic affordable medicines. Worse still, lawmakers who fail to conform to the TPP’s rules face sanctions in an international tribunal — a place where corporations can sue us for deals previous governments signed in secret!
Negotiators say this is just a trade agreement, written to facilitate investment and profit for all. But the leaked draft imposes so many limits on citizen protections, it’s clear this “trade” agreement is skewed to put corporate profit above people’s needs — that’s not surprising since it’s been drafted in secret with almost 600 corporate lobbyists.
But there is hope: Australia is bucking against the international tribunal system, and New Zealand is objecting to the takeover of its medicine-pricing protections that keep drugs affordable.
Massive public opposition, casting doubt over each country’s ability to sell TPP at home, could derail the talks for good. Sign the petition now, and forward widely — the delegates and lobbyists are watching the wave of opposition grow in real time:
US Senator, Elizabeth Warren in a recent speech said: “Corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters, because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.”
Let’s reach one million to stop the corporate takeover of our governments.
Support Australian action AFTINET sends letter to the Government over TPPA negotiations
28 August 2012
The Hon. Dr. Craig Emerson Minister for Trade
Dear Dr. Emerson,
Our organisations are concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement (TPPA) being negotiated with the US, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.
The agenda is being heavily influenced by US corporations which regard many areas of Australian government regulation, including health and environmental legislation, as barriers to trade.
They want the agreement to include the ability of foreign investors to sue governments for damages on the grounds that government regulation harms their investment, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
We congratulate your Government for its policy against ISDS and its steadfast opposition to the attempt by the Philip Morris tobacco company to sue for damages over the tobacco plain packaging legislation, using an obscure 1993 Hong Kong Australia investment agreement.
We also congratulate your Government on its recent High Court victory over the tobacco companies’ constitutional challenge to the plain packaging legislation. The fact that Philip Morris is persisting with its ISDS case in the expectation of more favourable treatment in an international tribunal shows how ISDS can be used to attempt to undermine democratic legislation which has been validated by the highest court in the land.
As pressure mounts to conclude the negotiations, we ask you to continue to implement your policy to reject ISDS in all trade agreements. Failure to implement this policy would open the door to further litigation like the Philip Morris case.
There are many examples of foreign investors using such provisions to challenge environmental regulation in other countries.
See Kyla Tienhaara (2009) The Expropriation of Environmental Governance: Protecting Foreign Investors at the Expense of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
We note that representatives of the generics medicine industry in Australia have advised that there is a risk that ISDS provisions could allow international pharmaceutical companies to take legal action against the Government over administrative aspects of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. See http://www.pharmainfocus.com.au/NewsPrint.asp?newsid=5696
We also ask you to implement your policy to reject any other proposals which could change and undermine Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and result in higher prices for medicines.
We also ask you to reject proposals for increased rights for patent and copyright holders at the expense of consumers, for reduction of Australian content in government purchasing, for reduction of Australian content in audio-visual media, for removal of labelling for genetically engineered food, and to reject any other proposals which would reduce the capacity of government to regulate in the public interest.
We ask you to support enforceable workers’ rights and environmental protections, and to release the text of the agreement for public and Parliamentary discussion before it is signed by Cabinet.
Dr. Patricia Ranald
Convenor, Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
cc the Hon. Julia Gillard, Prime Minister
This letter is endorsed by the following organisations:
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
Public Health Association of Australia
Australian Pensioners and Superannuants Federation Inc.
Australian Education Union
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
Australian Services Union
Australian Writers Guild
Community and Public Sector Union State Public Services Federations
Finance Sector Union
National Tertiary Education Union
National Union of Workers
Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia
Friends of the Earth
Mothers Are Demystifying Genetic Engineering (MADGE)
Edmund Rice Centre
The Grail Australia (Global Women’s Justice Network)
Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church
Asian Women at Work Inc.
Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW
Economic Reform Australia
Peoples Health Movement Australia