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Fast Track Trade Authority/TPP Disaster

The Pending Trans Pacific Partnership Catastrophe

Are you a parent? Caregiver? Student? Retiree? One of the millions with a chronic health condition? Have you ever used a generic medicine? Undergone a medical procedure? Indeed, ever eaten food, worn clothing, or used the internet?

Are you aware of how the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement could affect you?

“Free” trade agreements (FTAs) open up trade and commerce with reduced restrictions and fees between countries. In theory, they improve economic growth and protect against abuses. In reality, they favor those with stronger political and economic muscle.

The US and 11 other countries are currently negotiating the TPP-FTA behind closed doors. If it passes, it will affect the lives of over 500,000,000 people, and yet these people – you and me – are not privy to the “agreement” details. Your own congressional representative, who will vote on the TPP, does not have free access to most details because top security clearance is required and only provided fully to the corporate representatives participating in and benefiting from the negotiations.

From recently leaked documents, we know that, if passed, the TPP-FTA will allow multinational pharmaceutical companies to expand further their market and price monopolies. The TPP will severely curtail or completely inhibit countries from manufacturing or importing life-saving and affordable generic medicines, threatening efforts to control and treat diseases, and eventually leading to the deaths of millions.

Nothing illustrates this better than the potential impact on those with HIV/AIDS, who will die not because they could not be treated, but because they could not access necessary medicines at affordable prices. Access to generic drugs is the key to successfully managing HIV/AIDS globally. The dramatic price increases anticipated under the TPP threaten to reverse important gains made in recent years against AIDS, including a significant 25% drop in new infections, and 20% drop in AIDS-related deaths. According to Doctors Without Borders, “unless certain damaging provisions are removed, the TPP has the potential to become the most harmful pact ever for access to medicines.”

Additionally, the TPP will affect the costs of medical procedures, threaten internet privacy, and influence what you wear, drive, and feed your children. It will negatively affect US jobs and the overall economy, while lining the pockets of pharmaceutical and other big industries.

The Administration wants Congress to sign off on the TPP virtually sight unseen, a process called Fast Track. Under this process, there is no civil society participation and Congress is inhibited from managing the trade negotiation and providing congressional oversight, as required under the US Constitution. If TPP passes, it will undermine the sovereignty of the United States by putting corporations in the driver’s seat of public policy.

The TPP Free Trade Agreement is neither free nor an agreement, and it is certainly not democratic!

Liesl Messerschmidt and Christa Sprinkle
Portland, OR

About Us

Connecting, Supporting, Making a Difference!

The Portland Area Global AIDS Coalition (PAGAC) is a grassroots network connecting the over two hundred local organizations which address issues of HIV/AIDS, global health and global poverty, both here in Portland and around the world. They include faith based organizations, school clubs, chapters of national advocacy organizations and more. They vary in size from large organizations such as Mercy Corps to one person crusades. The work of the member organizations varies from providing direct health care services to working in the arts, engaging in advocacy, educating women and children, working with micro-finance projects and more. Each organization strives to make an impact in the areas in which they work.

News

National Award Recognizes Engeye Co-Founder, Dr. Steph Van Dyke

A trip to Uganda after Steph Van Dyke graduated from college spurred a career in medicine and building a clinic in Uganda, which has served 70,000 patients since its opening in 2006. Engeye is a non-profit that has expanded from providing health care to now encompass education, developing scholars and local medical personnel. Steph Van Dyke, MD, co-founder of Engeye, this week received the notable eChievement award from eTown of Public Radio. Click on the "Interview" tab to listen to the award presentation and interview of this remarkable woman. Go to engeye.org to find out more about the impressive work of Engeye.

The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) Corner

KEI analysis of Wikileaks leak of TPP IPR text, from August 30, 2013
From KEI  November 13, 2013

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has obtained from Wikileaks a complete copy of the consolidated negotiating text for the IP Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). (Copy here, and on the Wikileaks site here:https://wikileaks.org/tpp/) The leaked text was distributed among the Chief Negotiators by the USTR after the 19th Round of Negotiations at Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, in August 27th, 2013.

The document confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer rights and safeguards.

Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges, and increases in the penalties for infringement. The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation.

The text reveals that the most anti-consumer and anti-freedom country in the negotiations is the United States, taking the most extreme and hard-line positions on most issues. But the text also reveals that several other countries in the negotiation are willing to compromise the public’s rights, in a quest for a new trade deal with the United States.

Read the full analysis here.

The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) Corner

From Citizen Trade
November 8, 2014

38 Million Retirees Join Workers and Consumers to Say No to "Trade" Deal Terms that Would Make Medicine More Expensive

The chorus of critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a sweeping U.S. pact under negotiation with 11 Pacific Rim countries – keeps expanding.

Today the largest U.S. nonprofit, nonpartisan group – the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), representing 38 million members – joined the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Consumers Union and other U.S. health and consumer advocacy groups in sending a letter to President Obama to express "deep concern" that TPP rules will thwart efforts to control escalating healthcare costs.

Read the entire Citizen Trade article here.

PEPFAR Act Passes House and Senate

From Science Speaks: HIV & TB News
November 19, 2014

PEPFAR Act assures five more years of U.S. HIV, TB responses. Bipartisan, bicameral legislation extends U.S. Leadership Act, confirming ongoing commitments to PEPFAR and the Global Fund as well as to bilateral responses to AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

In addition to extending authorization of the 2008 Lantos Hyde U.S. Leadership Act, which allowed funding for PEPFAR, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and which officially expired the day before the government shutdown began, the legislation adds reporting requirements. Increased oversight measures included in the legislation will monitor the success of efforts to reach HIV-infected people with antiretroviral treatment, reach those with HIV and TB co-infection with preventive and therapeutic treatment, and efforts to train, recruit and retain health workers.

Read entire article.

Bipartisan Support for Antiretroviral treatment for 12 million by 2016

As reported by Science Speaks: HIV & TB News a Project of Center for Global Health Policy: In a powerful display of humanitarian bipartisanship, with World AIDS Day on the way, and theFourth Replenishment for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria Conference set for the same week in Washington, DC, 40 United States lawmakers — Democrats, Republicans, Senators and Congressional Representatives — have united across party lines and legislative bodies, signing a letter urging President Obama to set this nation’s AIDS-fighting goals higher than ever, and ensure that 12 million people living with HIV are receiving treatment by 2016. Read the entire article including the letter to President Obama and a list of all the signees.

New Web Portal Explains The Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- For People With HIV

The Kaiser Family Foundation has produced an extremely easy to use and informative new consumer web portal to help people living with HIV navigate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically designed to address the needs of people with HIV, the Obamacare & You portal, funded by Gilead Sciences, Inc., is presented as part of Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information initiative developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation together with the Black AIDS Institute.

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