World Health organisations oppose revived TPP talks

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Māori health workers along with international health organisations are calling on the remaining trade ministers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to stop revival talks.  Trade Minister Todd McClay is co-chair of talks on the next steps for TPP 11 at the annual APEC summit taking place in Hanoi this weekend.

The World Federation of Public Health organisations including New Zealand have outlined in this letter that they want to enter into new TPP talks. 

Doctors of Healthy Trade spokesperson, Dr George Laking says "Society as we've known it since 1840, been based on this founding document and bi-cultural partnership approach and that's pretty invisible when these trade agreements are signed," says Dr George Laking."

Their concerns include negative impacts on peoples' right to health, such as access to affordable medicines.

"There's a medicine which I've prescribed for some patients where if they collect it from the pharmacy they'll be spending $6000 a month for those tablets and for any normal person that's impossible."

TPP was lead by the U.S until Donald Trump won the presidency and pulled out. Now that the U.S. is no longer involved the WFPHA say there is no rationale for keeping the TPP alive.

"The area of tobacco control. Industries may turn around and say well that's cut into their profitability and take the countries to court in these tribunals that are extra judicial to our own judicial systems."

Todd McClay told Te Kāea that New Zealand consumers will not pay more for medicines as a result of TPP and it includes a specific carve out restricting Tobacco companies from taking action against a member country in relation to tobacco and public health.