Peru: Controversial TPP Summit Held in Capital

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Leaders of TPP member states and prospective member states at a TPP summit in 2010. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is meeting this week in Lima, Peru, amid ongoing criticism over governance and transparency. Today marks the third day of discussions that will continue until 24th May.

The TPP began in 2009 and is an expanded version of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPSEP or P4), which is a free-trade agreement between Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore.

The TPP is a planned agreement that promotes a free-trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, and includes a number of clauses regarding the environment, labour, and intellectual property rights. The negotiations are being conducted by representatives from Peru, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The TPP has received significant criticism previously from the public and NGOs due to the secretive closed-door nature of the meetings, and the vast scope of the agreement.

In Lima, around 130 representatives from social organisations and NGOs signed a document warning of the dangers of Peru signing up to the TPP. The document states: “The TPP negotiation model is blatantly undemocratic, and is an attempt to change the rules of global trade at an international level.”

The organisations warn of the negative impacts that the signing of the TPP would have on access to medicines, internet freedom, investments, labour rights, and the environment. Criticism is also frequently pointed at the lack of press involvement and transparency at the summits, and the TPP has been accused of “going on for years in secret for three years, with their back to the public.” This year press have been granted access, but only to a press conference the day following the negotiations, furthering controversy and accusations of secrecy.

Julio César Cruz, coordinator of NGO Peruvian Network for Patients today criticised the TPP and warned that the agreement will affect the price of medicines due to the group favouring the dominance of big pharmaceutical companies in the medical industry. He stated that patients in Peru need access to drugs for conditions such as cancer, HIV, tuberculosis and lupus; drugs of which accessibility is a crucial problem. He warned that the TPP trade agreement would eventually lead to more expensive medicines, severely affecting access to medicines for the poor.

Story courtesy of Agencia Púlsar, the AMARC-ALC news agency.

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