Author: Edward Miller

RCEP trade agreement threatens access to affordable medicine

Press Release – University of Auckland Medecins Sans Frontieres say: RCEP trade agreement threatens access to affordable medicines for half the worlds populationMedecins Sans Frontieres say: RCEP trade agreement threatens access to affordable medicines for half the world’s population Background information: As negotiators from 16 countries gather in Auckland, New Zealand, this week for the thirteenth round of negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, Médecins Sans Frontières, along with other health organisations, appeals for the removal of harmful intellectual property provisions that could potentially raise treatment costs by creating new forms of monopolies and delaying the entry of affordable generics in the market. If the intellectual property provisions proposed by Japan and South Korea are accepted, access to essential medicines will be restricted for millions of people across Asia and the world who rely on life-saving affordable generics made in India. RCEP is a regional trade agreement being negotiated between the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. RCEP countries are home to nearly 50% of the world’s population, including the most impoverished, vulnerable and marginalised communities living in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). A leaked copy of the intellectual property text being discussed at the negotiations shows that Japan and South Korea have made several alarming proposals to include intellectual property rules that...

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Nno foreign investor rights to sue in new agreements

Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey The Australian Labor Party has promised not to give foreign investors the right to sue the Australian government in any future free trade and investment agreements. That policy would include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) …13 June 2016 For immediate release Australian Labor Party says no foreign investor rights to sue in new agreements, including RCEP The Australian Labor Party has promised not to give foreign investors the right to sue the Australian government in any future free trade and investment agreements. That policy would include the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) currently being negotiated in Auckland this week, says Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey. The promise forms part of the ALP’s policy platform in the current general election campaign. Latest polls have Labor slightly in the lead for the election on 2 July, which makes this a real possibility. ‘Presumably the Australian government is now in caretaker mode and can’t make commitments to the controversial investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in RCEP’, Professor Kelsey said. According to Professor Kelsey, a leaked text of the RCEP investment chapter from last October showed Australia – and New Zealand – had yet to table a position on ISDS. India proposed quite radical moves to strengthen governments’ rights to regulate, while Japan and South Korea sought to transfer some of the worst parts of the...

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It’s Our Future – Kiwis against the TPPA

Press Release – It’s Our Future Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram will visit New Zealand this week. He will be available for interviews in Auckland on Wednesday 15 June and Friday 17 June, and in Wellington on Thursday 16 June.It’s Our Future – Kiwis against the TPPA International Trade and Investment expert visiting New Zealand: Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram will visit New Zealand this week. He will be available for interviews in Auckland on Wednesday 15 June and Friday 17 June, and in Wellington on Thursday 16 June. Dr. Sundaram has a distinguished career: • FAO Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development from August 2012 until the end of 2015 • Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs from January 2005 until June 2012 • Honorary Research Coordinator for the G24 Intergovernmental Group on International Monetary Affairs and Development from December 2006 until September 2012 • A member of the [Stiglitz] Commission of Experts of the President of the United Nations General Assembly on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System • G20 sherpa to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and also UN G20 Finance Deputy during 2011-2012 • In 2007, he was awarded the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought • Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University (1987-1988; 1991-1992) and...

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Questions & Answers – 9 June 2016

Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. RON MARK (Deputy LeaderNZ First) to the Minister of Finance : Does he stand by his statement on the defence budget made in the House on Thursday, 2 June; if so, how?1. Budget 2016—Defence 1. RON MARK (Deputy Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement on the defence budget made in the House on Thursday, 2 June; if so, how? Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House) on behalf of the Minister of Finance: Yes; by standing up and saying so. Ron Mark: When he said the Defence Force “gets roughly a $100 million increase in its baseline. Over 10 years … that roughly adds up a lot of money.”, did he not realise that that is $10 billion short of what the Secretary of Defence needed in January 2016? Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The member is confusing quite a large number of figures. Firstly, the approximate $100 million operating figure is added to the defence baseline each year. Over that 10-year period it would equate to something in excess of $5 billion operating. The figure that the member is interested in is an $11 billion figure that was signalled by the Ministry of Defence on 27 January 2016, which is a capital spend expected over a 10-year period. Ron Mark: Where in this defence white...

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Trade agreement musn’t allow corporations to sue governments

Press Release – Green Party The New Zealand Government should take controversial and outdated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions off the table in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland this week, the Green Party …RCEP trade agreement must not allow corporations to sue governments The New Zealand Government should take controversial and outdated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions off the table in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland this week, the Green Party said today. Trade Minister Todd McClay has been reported as saying that RCEP should include ISDS provisions, which allow foreign corporations to sue governments in secretive extra-judicial tribunals. “ISDS rules that allow foreign corporations to sue governments have no place in 21st century trade deals,” Green Party trade spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham said. “ISDS rules can have chilling effects on governments and even local councils, when the threat of potential litigation stops them from doing what’s right for their citizens. “ISDS is about much more than trade, it’s about rewriting the rules of international relations to take power away from governments and give it to corporations. “India is against ISDS in RCEP and New Zealand should be too. “The European Union has been very clear that ISDS is outdated and we need new ways to balance the protection of investors’ rights with the democratic right of...

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