On August 19, the Green parties of Canada, New Zealand and Australia issued a joint statement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) negotiations. The statement takes issue with the extreme secrecy of the TPP negotiations as well as the threat that investment protections and intellectual property rights pose to environmental policies, public health and access to affordable medicines.
"Together, we Green Parties 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)," says the joint statement. "We call on our current governments to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding this agreement and to open these negotiations to public input and comment."
The TPP is a mulit-nation trade negotiation much like the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in size, and the Canada-EU free trade agreement in scope. Original participating countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States, which is the clear driver of the talks. Opposition to the TPP is strong in all these countries, especially relating to its sections on copyright and the Internet, and pharmaceutical patent reforms. Canada and Mexico were asked to join the TPP negotiations during the G20 summit in Mexico this summer but will not see the text until September or be at the table until the December round, which will happen in Brunei or New Zealand.
The U.S.-based Citizens Trade Campaign is planning a rally on September 9 to protest the TPP during the next negotiating round in Leesberg, Virginia (September 6 to 15). To read the Green Party statement, click here. To go to the Council of Canadians' webpage on the TPP, click here.