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TWN FTA Info: Our Worst Fears Confirmed
TWN FTA Info: Our Worst Fears Confirmed
Date : 05 November 2015
Our worst fears confirmed
The disclosure of the finalised texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has confirmed our worst fears about the purported 21st Century Agreement.
Despite what governments and cheerleaders claim, our concerns have not been overblown, and only go to show what happens when we allow a select few – their every move monitored and driven by multinational commercial interests – to craft out a deal behind closed doors.
Given that we will be legally-bound to follow the TPPA – or face trade or other sanctions should we be found in violation – the prospects are dire.
The Intellectual Property chapter will jeopardise access to affordable medicines:
- It enables drug companies to press for patent term extensions beyond the standard 20 years, to compensate for any “unreasonable” time a patent office or drug regulatory authority takes to approve a patent application or grant marketing approval, and for delays by health authority in checking the medicine is safe, effective and good quality. Patent term extensions will significantly delay the entry of cheap generic medicines into the market.
- Generic companies will be prevented for 5 years from registering an equivalent generic version of a patented drug for market approval based on originator company data, thereby curbing the supply of cheaper drugs. While Malaysia already has this data exclusivity provisions, these have various safeguards, while the TPPA locks this in.
- Exclusivity extends to the new generation of ‘biologics’ medicines (medicines derived from proteins isolated from plants, animals and micro-organisms) that have been developed to treat human diseases and conditions, such as vaccines, cancer medicines and therapies such as insulin. Under the TPPA, Malaysia must provide 5 years biologics exclusivity. The Malaysian law currently does NOT have exclusivity for biologics and therefore will have to be amended to incorporate this. The number of years of biologic exclusivity have led to such high prices that even in the US, the Obama administration has repeatedly sought to reduce the number of years of biologics exclusivity in that country.
- ‘Evergreening’ of already existing monopolies will happen through market exclusivity if a ‘new’ medicine is an old drug that has been found to be useable for a condition other than that which it was originally developed to treat, or for old medicine that has been found to be useable for a different population of patients. A pharmaceutical company can also seek exclusivity for new combinations of an old drug and a new chemical entity.
The Investment Chapter overrides national sovereignty, allowing foreign investors to sue the government directly and preventing government from protecting citizens’ interests
- It provides for overly-wide definition of “investment” that extends the coverage of the foreign investor rights, exposing the government to challenges and multi-million dollar compensation over their actions and policies. The definition of “investor” is also overly-wide, allowing corporations from non-TPPA countries – if they have substantial business activities in a TPPA country – to sue under the chapter’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system.
- Rights will be granted to foreign investors that are not granted to domestic firms, such as the ability to challenge and demand compensation in an international court, which is a system that is lopsided in favour of private commercial interests.
- There are some provisions meant to improve on certain procedural aspects of the ISDS regime, but there remains no solution to the problem of the lack of an appeals mechanism, or the lack of a vigorous code of conduct for the ISDS judges that is comparable to most domestic judicial systems.
- Although Malaysia has signed investment agreements containing ISDS provisions as far back as 1959, the situation today is vastly different. Multinational corporations today wield far greater power, some of which have individual budgets exceeding that of entire countries. The scope and depth of investment provisions today provide for the enjoyment of rights, but no obligations, by multinational companies. Moreover, Malaysia does not have a free trade agreement with the US, whose investors are among the most litigious in the world and whose investors have a very high chance of a broad interpretation of their procedural rights when they sue.
We have listed above just a few aspects of the TPPA as finalised by the Malaysian government and its 11 other ‘partners-in-crime’. Over the next few days, we will analyse and state our position on other aspects of the TPPA.
These few aspects are however enough to confirm our worst fears, and we call on the government, for the sake of Malaysia and her future generations, not to sign the agreement.
Mohd Nizam Mahshar – Chairman of BANTAH
Azlan Awang – Deputy Chairman of BANTAH
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Paul Quintos IBON International 3rd Flr., IBON Center 114 Timog Avenue, Quezon City 1103 Philippines Telefax: +63 2 9276981 Skype ID: paul.quintos Websites: iboninternational.org peoplesgoals.org
“The forthcoming adjustment shock 2016″
Shock, Crises coming Up
The forthcoming adjustment shock 2016
Sent: Thursday, 5 November 2015,
Subject:: The forthcoming adjustment shock 2016
The forthcoming adjustment shock 2016
Since 2010, we have been developing a yearly update on austerity. This is the latest. It shows a worrisome second adjustment shock starting in 2016, expected to hit 132 countries, mostly in the developing world.
Read the policy brief “The Forthcoming Adjustment Shock”
Read the full working paper: “The Decade of Adjustment: A Review of Austerity Trends 2010-2020 in 187 Countries”
Summary: The paper (i) examines the latest IMF government spending projections for 187 countries between 2005 and 2020; (ii) reviews 616 IMF country reports in 183 countries to identify the main adjustment measures considered by governments in both high-income and developing countries; (iii) applies the United Nations Global Policy Model to simulate the impact of expenditure consolidation on economic growth and employment; (iv) discusses how austerity threatens welfare and social progress; and (v) calls for urgent action by governments to adopt alternative and equitable policies for socio-economic recovery.
According to IMF projections, 2016 marks the beginning of a second major period of expenditure contraction globally. Overall, budget reductions are expected to impact 132 countries in terms of GDP and hover around this level until 2020. One of the key findings is that the developing world will be the most severely affected. Overall, 81 developing countries, on average, are projected to cut public spending during the forthcoming shock versus 45 high-income countries. Expenditure contraction is expected to impact more than two-thirds of all countries annually, affecting more than six billion persons or nearly 80 per cent of the global population by 2020.
In terms of austerity measures, a desk review of recent IMF country reports indicates that governments are weighing various adjustment measures. These include: (i) elimination or reduction of subsidies, including on fuel, agriculture and food products (in 132 countries); (ii) wage bill cuts/caps, including the salaries of education, health and other public sector workers (in 130 countries); (iii) rationalizing and further targeting of safety nets (in 107 countries); (iv) pension reforms (in 105 countries); (v) labour market reforms (in 89 countries); and (vi) healthcare reforms (in 56 countries). Many governments are also considering revenue-side measures that can adversely impact vulnerable populations, mainly through introducing or broadening consumption taxes, such as value added taxes (VATs) (in 138 countries), as well as privatizing state assets and services (in 55 countries).
Projections with the United Nations Global Policy Model indicate that the expected spending cuts will negatively affect GDP and employment in all regions. Compared to a baseline scenario without spending contraction, global GDP will be 5.5 per cent lower by 2020 further resulting in a net loss of 12 million jobs. Upper-middle and low income countries will be hardest hit, with fiscal adjustment reducing GDP by roughly 7.5 and 6 per cent, respectively, over the 2016-20 period. East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa will be the most affected regions.
It does not need to be a decade of adjustment. This paper questions if the projected fiscal contraction trajectory—in terms of timing, scope and magnitude—as well as the specific austerity measures being considered are conducive to socio-economic recovery and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The paper encourages policymakers to recognize the high human and developmental costs of poorly-designed adjustment strategies and to consider alternative policies that support a recovery for all.
We thank the Initiative for Dialogue at Columbia University and the South Centre for co-publishing this update with the ILO.
Isabel Ortiz, Matthew Cummins, Jeronim Capaldo and Kalaivani Karunanethy
Director Social Protection
International Labour Organization (ILO)
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