Saturday, February 20, 2016

What is Trans Pacific Partnership all about?

PAP government has signed the TPP agreement on 4 Feb 2016 WITHOUT any Public Consultation NOR public debates at all.

There is not even parliamentary debate over this important issue and our only labour union NTUC has been acting Deaf, Blind, Mute and Dumb - Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Say no Evil and Think no Evil!

To understand the flaws of TPP, you can lick on the following:

TPP in 10 cards

I shall extract out two parts of which I am deadly concerned about:

The following information is on how TPP could compromise our sovereignty, in effect, selling away our sovereignty to huge MNCs which will dictate on what our laws can and cannot be.

What's ISDS, and why is Elizabeth Warren so upset about it?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is one of the TPP's most prominent critics, and her campaign against the deal has focused on an otherwise obscure provision called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The goal — to mediate disputes between a government and foreign investors — might sound innocuous. But Warren warns that ISDS poses a threat to American sovereignty and could inhibit robust regulation of industries such as banking.

ISDS rules are designed to address a real problem. Suppose an investor from one country spends money building a factory in another country. Then a new government comes to power there and nationalizes the factory. That's unfair to the investor, and in the long run it's likely to be bad for the country with the factory as well. ISDS is an arbitration process that uses trade sanctions to pressure governments to compensate investors whose property is seized.

Obviously, the United States has a robust legal system that doesn't allow this kind of naked expropriation. Nevertheless, the TPP is expected to allow foreign investors to make ISDS complaints against the United States. And Warren argues that could "tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations" in a way that would "undermine US sovereignty."

TPP opponents worry that foreign companies could argue that the way America regulates banks, the minimum wage, or the environment constitutes an unjust taking of their property. If an ISDS panel agrees, the United States could be on the hook for millions of dollars in damages.

There are two aspects of ISDS that have raised particular concern. One is the fact that, as with most trade dispute settlement panels, the process is overseen by arbitrators rather than independent judges. Warren worries these arbitrators, who may also represent corporate clients in other cases, will cause panels to be biased toward big companies.

Second, while the ordinary WTO dispute settlement process only allows complaints by governments, ISDS allows any foreign investor to complain. Critics say that removes an important check on misuse of the dispute settlement process.

Defenders of ISDS say Warren's concerns are overblown. The White House notes that there are about 3,000 trade deals around the world with ISDS provisions, including about 50 that involve the United States. According to the Obama administration, the US has only faced 13 ISDS cases under those treaties, and has never lost a case. The White House also says the ISDS provisions in the TPP will have stronger safeguards against abuse than those in previous treaties.

And it's important to note that ISDS can't actually force countries to change their laws or regulations. The most an ISDS panel can do is impose a financial penalty.

The next part deals with drug patents and how TPP will compromise our Healthcare Cost by giving extensive power to huge Pharmaceutical Companies.

The problem with drug patents in TPP is much more devilish than I initially thought.

It prevented Generic drugs from being available as there are clauses that set the barriers to it, even AFTER the patent expires.

For biologics, it applies the barriers HIGHER and for other drugs, it allows the original patent holders to just TWEAK the formula and thus, extending the patent longer.... ever green extension of patents forever!

Why are some public health groups opposing the TPP?

Public health groups such as Doctors Without Borders and the AIDS research group amfAR have warned that the TPP could delay the introduction of generic drugs, boosting drug prices and ultimately costing lives. Here's how that could happen.

Laws in the US and around the world grant patents and other legal privileges to the first company to invent a new drug — a reward to encourage research and development. After these legal protections expire, other companies can make cheap generic versions of the drugs.

Of course, big pharmaceutical companies hate this competition. So they've lobbied for the TPP to include rules delaying the introduction of generic drugs into the market.

For example, one proposal would expand the types of inventions that are eligible for patent protection to include modifications of existing drugs. Critics say this would make it easier for drug companies to engage in "evergreening," a process where drug companies make minor modifications to their products in order to extend the effective length of patent protection.

The TPP requires governments to extend the term of patent protection if the patent office processes a patent application too slowly, or if regulators delay approval of a pharmaceutical patent.

Another provision concerns complex drugs called biologics. Before these drugs can be introduced to the market, the Food and Drug administration requires drugmakers to prove they are safe and effective. Often, data from one drug's clinical trials is useful to other companies wanting to introduce competing, biologically similar drugs. But a controversial US law requires competing drug manufacturers to wait 12 years before they can use this data in their own applications. That makes it harder for generic drugmakers to get into the market, raising prices.

The Obama administration reportedly pushed for language requiring that all countries adopt a similar 12-year requirement. That was surprising because Obama's own 2016 budget suggested reducing the exclusivity period to seven years. Ultimately, US negotiators didn't get what they wanted; the final text of the TPP requires countries to provide five to eight years of data exclusivity for biologic drugs.

In short, the TPP can be expected to reduce competition and therefore raise the prices of drugs in some TPP countries. The deal probably won't have much effect in the US, where biologics already receive 12 years of protection and the law is relatively friendly to evergreen patents, but it will have a bigger impact in other TPP countries.

Singaporeans have to get themselves more involved and concerned about this implementation of TPP as there is absolutely NO ESCAPE Clause once it is signed and ratified by parliament.

PAP government did not put up the full text for public information and scrutiny, most probably for fear of massive objections.

If you want to know the exact text of TPP which Singapore is one of the signatory countries, you may not find the details in any Singapore portal. Countries who signed this pact are supposed to put up information for public debates so to get consensus and parliamentary ratification but PAP didn't even want to talk about it, lest hold any public debate or consultation.

You could find the exact text and details from New Zealand government website. Only more responsible government will be transparent and open about their dealings, instead of hiding in Such black box operations

You can find the Full text in the following link to New Zealand government website:

Now you would understand why massive people around the world would march and protest against TPP or its similar agreement which was imposed on the European Unions.

This so call trade pack is not merely a simple trade pack but a whole list of legislation which will sell off our rights to cheaper Healthcare and our Sovereignty. It will not only affect us alone but for ALL our future generations.

It is up to Singaporeans to get themselves information on all these important trade agreements being signed QUIETLY away, selling our future to the big corporations of the world. Go to your MPs and demand an explanation or lodge your complains against TPP. Do it and put pressure on PAP to think twice about ratifying this TPP.

Goh Meng Seng

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Put pressure on PAP to think twice?

How? With opposition parties which cannot win any seats and even lost badly, will PAP even feel the pressure, let alone act on it due to the pressure?