[A2k] Vatican criticizes Trans Pacific Partnership: Holy See statement to 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Dec 5 04:46:39 PST 2013


http://keionline.org/node/1841

Vatican criticizes Trans Pacific Partnership: Holy See statement to 9th WTO
Ministerial Conference in Bali

The 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is
taking place in Bali, Indonesia from 3-6 December 2013. At the Ministerial,
H.E. Archbishop, Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of
the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in
Geneva delivered a withering critique of the Trans Pacific Partnership and
the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In particular, the Holy
See singled out the "most damaging concessions developing countries make in
regional and bilateral agreements are those enhancing the monopolies on
life-saving medicines, which reduce access and affordability and those that
provide excessive legal rights to foreign investors."

Here are some choice excerpts from the Holy See's statement:

While a minority is experiencing exponential growth in wealth, the gap is
widening to separate the vast majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those
happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies that defend the
absolute autonomy of the marketplace and of financial speculation.
Consequently, there is an outright rejection of the right of States,
charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of
control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which
unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. An even worse
development is that such policies are sometimes locked in through trade
rules negotiated at the WTO or in bilateral or regional FTAs.

As a result, many countries opted to liberalize trade through Regional or
Bilateral Trade Agreements. The number of such agreements has increased
exponentially during the last 15 years. Currently there is a clear tendency
to further enlarge these RTAs to form mega-regional trade agreements such
as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or the Trans-Pacific
Partnership. Certainly, the enlargement of regional trade agreements is a
step towards further trade liberalization but we have to bear in mind that
these agreements inevitably threaten the desirability to reach an agreement
on a truly multilateral basis. In fact, by entering a regional trade
agreement a country reduces the incentives to extend its efforts on trade
liberalization at a multilateral level. Most importantly, we know that only
the multilateral system is a clear, equitable system that provides
effective guarantees for small and poor countries that tend to be penalized
in a Regional Trade Agreement where it is asymmetric. Among the most
damaging concessions developing countries make in regional and bilateral
agreements are those enhancing the monopolies on life-saving medicines,
which reduce access and affordability and those that provide excessive
legal rights to foreign investors, limiting the policy space for nations to
promote sustainable and inclusive development.



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