Press Release – Patricia Ranald

Cross-party Congressional opposition to legislation which would speed up approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows the deal could unravel in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Dr. Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian …Media Release November 14, 2013

US Congress Democrat and Republican oppose Trans-Pacific Trade Deal as leaked text shows deep divisions over US proposals for higher medicine prices

Cross-party Congressional opposition to legislation which would speed up approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) shows the deal could unravel in the House of Representatives of the US Congress,” Dr. Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today.

At the same time the text of the intellectual property chapter was posted on Wikileaks today, dating from the end of the Brunei round in August. It includes the positions of all 12 countries and reveals a massive gulf between US demands and most other countries. Analyses of the text are available from KeiOnline and Public Citizen Access to Medicines.

Twenty-seven US House of Representative Republicans and 151 Democrats have today released letters proclaiming their opposition to giving President Obama “trade promotion authority” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A backgrounder and links to the the Congressional letters are athttp://www.ftamalaysia.org/article.php?aid=331.

“The Trade Promotion Authority legislation allows the President to submit trade deals to Congress for a yes or no vote without any amendments within 90 days. This is needed to give other countries confidence that any trade deal they reach with the United States will be approved by Congress. But months of negotiations have failed to produce a Bill,” said Dr. Ranald.

The Republican Letter states: “We are strong supporters of American trade expansion. We are also strong supporters of the U.S. Constitution. Article I-8 of the Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to set the terms of trade. …we do not agree to cede our constitutional authority to the executive through an approval of a request for “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.”

The Democrat letter also opposes trade promotion authority and outlines their concerns over a lack of congressional consultation in the TPP talks. It states:“. Many have raised concerns relating to reports about the agreement’s proposed content…Twentieth Century “Fast Track” is simply not appropriate for 21st Century agreements and must be replaced. The United States cannot afford another trade agreement that replicates the mistakes of the past. We can and must do better.”

“The US is pressuring Australia and other countries to agree to extreme demands like rights for investors to sue government and stronger patents for higher medicine prices by the end of the year. But the deal lacks support in its own Congress. The Australian government should not agree to an arbitrary deadline, should take more time for public consultation and release the text of the TPP for public and Parliamentary scrutiny before it is signed by Cabinet”, said Dr. Ranald.

Patricia Ranald

ENDS

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