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Council trade campaigner challenges the TPP in Tokyo

Council of Canadians trade campaigner Sujata Dey gave an 80-minute presentation against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the National Diet (legislature) Members’ Building in Tokyo today.


Dey was there at the invitation of Uchida Shoko of the Tokyo-based Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC).


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been a vocal proponent of the TPP and Japan ratified the deal on December 9, but Dey highlights, “The TPP is unpopular here and all the opposition parties are against the deal.”

While US president-elect Donald Trump has said that the United States will withdraw from the TPP on “day one” of his presidency, Council of Canadian chairperson Maude Barlow has commented, “I’ve watched these trade agreements for a long time. The TPP is not dead til it’s dead.” It has also been reported that Canada will not withdraw from the TPP until February 2018, the two-year deadline that had been set by TPP countries when they signed the deal in Auckland in February 2016.


The Council of Canadians has raised numerous concerns about the TPP including:


JOB LOSS

Tufts University says, “TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs. Developing economies participating in the agreement would also suffer employment losses, as higher competitive pressures force them to curtail labor incomes and increase production for export.”


HIGHER DRUG COSTS

It also includes a provision that extends patents for pharmaceutical corporations. In her comments on the TPP, Margaret Chan, the director-general of the World Health Organization, has stated, “If these agreements open trade yet close the door to affordable medicines we have to ask the question: is this really progress at all.”


CORPORATE RIGHTS

And it contains the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says, “It used to be the basic principle was polluter pay. If you damaged the environment, then you have to pay. Now if you pass a regulation that restricts ability to pollute or does something about climate change, you could be sued and could pay billions of dollars.”


While many have clearly voiced their opposition to the TPP at hearings, consultations and protests, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has commented, “In our conversations with Canadians, with industries which are ongoing, there are a lot of people in favour of it and there are a few who have real concerns and we’re looking at understanding and allaying certain fears and building on some of the opportunities.”


For more on our campaign to stop the TPP, please click here.

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