[Ip-health] TPP and Public Health in HuffPo - by E Shaffer

Ellen Shaffer ershaffer at gmail.com
Tue Sep 6 22:13:11 PDT 2011

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Thanks! - Ellen Shaffer

  A 21st Century Trade Deal For Public Health and Jobs Posted: 9/6/11 05:26
PM ET You mean you haven't heard about the new 21st century trade agreement
negotiated this week in Chicago? Might be because the federal U.S. Trade
Representative (USTR) didn't even announce the 2-week meeting on its
website. Or anywhere else.

Trade agreements are increasingly vehicles for bestowing benefits to
corporations that even the most beholden national legislatures could not get
away with, and that furthermore trump national laws. CPATH's 2009
U.S. pressure on Guatemala to accept trade rules that are siphoning
away from this desperately poor country and into the coffers of
multinational drug companies was corroborated last week with a flood of new
releases from wikileaks <http://keionline.org/node/1206>.

According to Georgetown Law Professor Robert Stumberg, tobacco giant Phillip
Morris International (PMI) is perfecting the art of tucking arcane
bombshells into trade accords between two countries, and then linking them
to hop across borders via multi-country agreements. For example, Brazil and
other countries have succeeded in encouraging smokers to quit by placing
grimly graphic warning labels on cigarette packages. The U.S. is due to
start in 2012. Although they save lives, PMI invokes trade provisions to
claim that graphic warning labels violate trade agreements that protect the
company's trademark rights and related intellectual property rights.
(Australia is taking the campaign one step further, and on the verge of
implementing plain packaging, without labels or color codes that
misleadingly assert they are "light.")

The new Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could strengthen PMI's hand, and
unlike you they've had quite a few opportunities to make their case
forcefully to U.S. trade officials. The
drug <http://www.ita.doc.gov/itac/committees/itac15.asp> industries both
have prominent seats on the influential and confidential trade advisory
give the USTR their marching orders, and they've also commented publicly on
their concerns. You aren't invited to these committees, although after years
of campaigning they now include one bona fide tobacco control advocate, an
international health consultant, and a representative of the generic drug

[See more at:
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH
Co-Director, Center for Policy Analysis
San Francisco Presidio
P.O. Box 29586
San Francisco, CA 94129-0586
Phone 415-922-6204
cell: 415-680-4603
fax: 415-885-4091
ershaffer at gmail.com

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