(Sorry in advance for my broken English)
Earlier this morning I came acroos something about TPPA or Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. It wasn't really the first time I heard about this TPPA but I never really look into what TPPA is all about. I thought it was just another MOU kind of thing between Malaysia and US but when my curiosity wins over my laziness and I eventually REALLY look up about TPPA.. IT IS REALLY A BIG THING FOR EVERY AND EACH OF US! Amazingly, not many of us (or maybe I am the only one?) are aware of this big issue.
It disgusts me when something BIG like this that has been going on for years is still something new for me without many coverage from media. Or maybe I am the one who is ignorant.
What is TPPA?
It is a multilateral free trade agreement currently being negotiated by 11 countries, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam and of course led by the US. Malaysia is one of the parties negotiating in the TPPA. It aims to further liberalise the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. Covering a broad spectrum of areas such as Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin (ROO ), Customs Cooperation, Trade Remedies, Sanitary and Phytosanitary ( SPS Measures ), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Government Procurement (GP), Competition Policy, Intellectual Property, Trade in Services, Investment, Labour and Environment and has 29 chapters (and counting). It is labeled as a trade agreement but only 5 chapters are related to trade out of the 29 chapters.
When did it start?
Believe it or not, it has already started its negotiations since 2010. And if it goes as planned, the 17th round will be held in Peru in May 2013. Yes. The 17th negotiations and we think what's for dinner is our biggest issue.
The Ministry of International and Industry leads the negotiations for Malaysia and MalaysiaNS.
|1st round||15–18 March 2010||Melbourne, Australia|
|2nd round||14–18 June 2010||San Francisco, US|
|3rd round||4–9 October 2010||Brunei Darussalam, Brunei|
|4th round||6–10 December 2010||Auckland, New Zealand|
|5th round||14–18 February 2011||Santiago, Chile|
|6th round||24 March - 1 April 2011||Singapore|
|7th round||20–24 June 2011||Viet Nam|
|8th round||6–15 September 2011||US|
|9th round||19–28 October 2011||Lima, Peru|
|10th round||5–9 December, 2011||Kuala Lumpur|
|11th round||1–9 March 2012||Melbourne, Australia|
|12th round||8–18 May 2012||Dallas, US|
|13th round||2–11 July 2012||San Diego, US|
|14th round||6–15 September 2012||Leesburg, US|
|3–12 December 2012|
|Auckland, New Zealand|
Why we should concern about TPPA?
Firstly, all 17 negotiations had been held in SECRET without public access to the content and texts. Not even media or press conference. All information that about TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. The TPPA itself has its secrecy policy.
The negotiations and the negotiations texts (the documents that are used during the negotiations process) are secret, and all TPP governments have agreed to continue the secrecy until four years after the deal has signed. This means that if they sign the deal by end-2012, the earliest that the citizens of the nine countries whose government leaders are signing in their names can see how the negotiations were carried out is late 2016 or early 2017 (or if negotiations break down permanently). So they’re telling Malaysians “We’ve written up this agreement for you. Don’t worry, we’ve drafted it with your interests, welfare and mind. But you cannot know what we’ve written until AFTER we’ve signed it on your behalf, and you cannot know how we negotiated its contents and who influenced the drafting of the agreement, until 4 years AFTER it’s been in force.”
Wow! Isn't is fishy? Why do they need FOUR YEARS before they tell us what is in the agreement? Don't we have the right to know?
You can find more information just by google-ing the TPPA. So far, what I understand from my short research on the net,
1. Civilians will have to pay more for medication. What is meant by more is not just RM10-20 more, but more as in up to 1000% more than the usual price. This is because we all know that USA is the bigges holder for PATENTED (original) medicines. For now, most clinic and government hospitals in Malaysia are using GENERIC medicines which are lot cheaper. If the TPPA is signed we will be restricted from using the generic and only can use the Patented medicine. Access to affordable, life-saving medicines for millions of people is under threat as big pharmaceutical companies seek higher protections for their patents and clinical data and to make it harder for generic companies to produce affordable generic medicines.
2. Our government is exposed to law suit by investors and this has already happened to Canada. The Canadian Government has banned any use of MMT in all types fuel of vehicle because of the feared bad effect to human nervous system. American multinational ETHYL CORP as the exclusive manufacturer of MMT has suing the Canadian Government C$350 million for PROSPECTIVE loss. As the result, the Canadian Government has been defeated and pay out-of-court of C$19.5 million to ATHYL CORP and the government must declared that MMT is safe for the environment and human.
The Canadian has to suffer for a lifetime.
This also means the investors are invisible
3. Copyright laws will be toughened and restricting internet freedom and access to information. This means, all reference material are free has to be rented or purchased. This facility will limit the consumer knowledge.
And the list goes on. But I have no intention to pour out lecture about TPPA. All I hope is by reading this, we can create awareness since the date set to sign the agreement is getting near.
The situation is thus said to be retarded economic growth among entrepreneurs in this country, especially, indigenous.
Its president, Datuk Syed Ali Alattas said, the economy is now being actively developed, but with this deal, it will have adverse effects, especially in the services sector and pharmaceuticals. - utusan online