[Ip-health] [CPATH] Public Interest Trade Advisory Committee: First Step

Ellen Shaffer ershaffer at cpath.org
Thu Feb 20 07:37:47 PST 2014


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 *Public Interest Advisory Committee on Trade a First Step *

*Seeking to Increase Transparency Obama Administration Also Complies with
Federal Law*



February 20, 2014 - With the announcement of a proposed new trade forum to
include public health and other public interest representatives, the Obama
Administration has taken a step toward increasing transparency in secretive
trade deals, and complying with federal law.



The proposal by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) for a Public
Interest Trade Advisory Committee (PITAC) to advise the Administration on
trade negotiations responds to a national campaign for public health
representation that began with a 2005 request from the Center for Policy
Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH) and major American public health and
medical organizations<http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=CmM4%2B5QYmrhWlaZojIdYT%2BCfHA5LNsqg>.
Ensuing national
legislation<http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=7wRh8MwZFgMeh4ml5RCqr%2BCfHA5LNsqg>called
for transparency and democratic accountability, and to "create a new
tier-2 public health advisory committee to provide information, reports,
and advice to and consult with the President, to Congress, and to the U.S.
Trade Representative (USTR), in accordance with the Trade Act of 1974, as
amended."



"The scope of trade negotiations has expanded well beyond tariffs to
include issues with a direct impact on public health and domestic policy,
including access to affordable medicines and health care, the right and
ability of government laws and regulations to protect the public's health
from the epidemic of tobacco-related deaths and diseases, internet freedom,
industrial farms, preventable climate change, labor rights, and economic
instability related to unregulated capital flows," said Dr. Ellen R.
Shaffer, Co-Director of CPATH.



"The U.S is now negotiating major multi-party agreements, including the
Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations, and
another with the European Union, affecting a significant percentage of the
U.S. and the global economy," said Joe Brenner, CPATH Co-Director.



"These massive and controversial new trade agreements call for intensified
transparency and involvement by the public and our elected representatives
in Congress at every stage of trade negotiations," according to Brenner.
"Until now, the TPP has been negotiated without meaningful, informed public
input or debate, yet the finance, pharmaceutical, tobacco, energy,
communications, processed foods and health insurance industries have had
highly privileged access to government trade negotiators."

 A PITAC would be a welcome but limited nod to current urgent demands by
Congress and the public for democratic participation in setting global
trade policy, including openly disclosing the terms of pending trade
agreements.



"We encourage the Administration also to appoint public health and public
interest representatives to all existing tier-3 advisory committees," said
Shaffer. "These corporate-staffed committees are where the critical
proposals are generated. The public deserves participation."



"Equally importantly, we call on the Administration and Congress to
prioritize public health in setting our trade objectives," said Shaffer.
Public health objectives for trade include:

1.     *Assuring democratic participation by public health and transparency
in trade policy,* including by opening all proceedings and documents of
trade advisory committees to the public, and requiring USTR's consultation
with all relevant committees of the House and Senate in the development,
implementation, and administration of U.S. trade policy, without renewing
presidential trade promotion authority (known as "fast track").

*2.     **Developing mutually beneficial trade relationships that create
sustainable economic * *development *for the U.S. and our trade partners in
an increasingly interdependent world.


3.     *Recognizing the legitimate exercise of national, regional and local
government sovereignty **to protect population health,* and to ensure that
countries do not weaken or reduce, as an encouragement for trade, sound
policies that contribute to health and well being, including laws on public
health, the environ-ment and labor.

4.     *Excluding tariff and nontariff ** provisions in trade agreements
that address vital human **services* such as health care, water supply and
sanitation, food safety and supply, and education, including licensing and
cross-border movement of personnel in these fields.

5.     *Excluding tobacco and tobacco products*, which are lethal, and for
which the public health goal is to reduce consumption, from tariff and
nontariff provisions of trade agreements, including advertising, labeling,
product regulation and distribution.

6.     *Excluding alcohol products*, which present serious hazards to
public health. Policies designed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol
products should not be subject to compromise in exchange for other trade
benefits.

7.     *Eliminating intellectual property provisions related to
pharmaceuticals from bilateral **and regional negotiations,* as these are
more appropriately addressed in multilateral fora,* and promote trade
provisions which enable countries to exercise all flexibilities provided by
the Doha Declaration on Public Health*, including issuing compulsory
licenses for patented pharmaceuticals, parallel importation, and other
measures that address high prices and promote access to affordable
medicines.



The U.S. trade advisory committee system was established by the Trade Act
of 1974 to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives
reflect U.S. public and private sector interests.  It consists of a
three-tier structure: Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations
(ACTPN) to provide overall trade policy advice to the President (Tier 1);
Tier 2 committees which provide general policy advice from representatives
of labor, environmental concerns, and state and local governments; and a
series of Tier 3 industry and agricultural sector advisory committees
providing technical advice and information. The PITAC would be a Tier 2
committee.



Investigation and reporting by
CPATH<http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=L%2B4wOJkcxFsAHD6VnWzCyA%2FKZcHCK54C>found
that while U.S. trade advisory committees are required by the Federal
Advisory Committee Act to be fairly balanced in terms of points of view
represented, they have traditionally been dominated by corporate business
interests, and until recently excluded any public health
representation.  A campaign
by CPATH, public health, and tobacco control
organizations<http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=mG6mPhhmrBV7gQaEAaCncuCfHA5LNsqg>,
resulted in the appointment of a public interest tobacco control
representative to the Agricultural Committee on Tobacco, Cotton, and
Peanuts in 2005, and subsequent Congressional action.



In May, 2009, the Public Health Trade Advisory Committee Act (HR 2293:
Doggett-TX and Van Hollen-MD; S 1644: Stabenow and Kennedy) was introduced,
which required representation an all Tier 3 trade advisory committees by
public health, labor, and public interest groups, and the creation of a
Public Health Advisory Committee at Tier 2.  In July, 2009, the
Subcommittee on Trade of the House Committee on Ways and Means  conducted a
Hearing on the Trade Advisory Committee System, focusing on how to increase
transparency and public participation in the development of U.S. trade
policy.  Tier 3 committee chairs condemned the bill. CPATH Co-Director
Ellen R. Shaffer testified as an invited witness, and spoke in favor.

  ------------------------------

*Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health*

-- 
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
Co-Director, Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health/CPATH
San Francisco Presidio
P.O. Box 29586
San Francisco, CA 94129-0586
Phone 415-922-6204
www.cpath.org





-- 
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
Co-Director, Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health/CPATH
San Francisco Presidio
P.O. Box 29586
San Francisco, CA 94129-0586
Phone 415-922-6204
www.cpath.org
cell: 415-680-4603



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