Overview:. A raft of complex trade agreements with sweeping implications for the public’s health are being
negotiated by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in secrecy, shielded from the light of public scrutiny. These
include the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union, and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). Unfortunately
the USTR has relied on Trade Advisors representing the pharmaceutical, tobacco, alcohol, health insurance, and processed food industries in shaping the Administration’s trade objectives and negotiating positions
relating to public health and health care.
confer new and expanded rights to transnational corporations to protect their profits over the rights of democratically elected
governments and the public. These include the right to challenge the implementation of domestic laws and regulations in international
This bill would create a Fast-Track process to allow trade
agreements to leapfrog customary legislative protocol, and be put to a rapid "up or down" vote in Congress without
public hearings or amendments, including those in the interest of protecting the health and safety of the American people.
The Fast Track bill also aims to set out Congress’ policy objectives for trade agreements,
as well as an undemocratic and abbreviated process for reviewing them. As
an illustration of this fatally flawed legislation, not one objective would safeguard or improve the economic well-being of
the American middle class. Rather, they prioritize commercial gain at the expense of people's health, including access
to affordable medicine, protection from deadly tobacco products, and democratic sovereignty to make decisions to safeguard
and improve our health.
appropriate title would be: Bargaining to Concentrate the Power and Wealth of Global Corporations Including Finance, Drugs,
Tobacco, Fossil Fuel, Agribusiness, Media and Information Technology; to Entrench and Deepen Income Inequality; and to Progressively
Reduce the Rights and Policy Space of People and Democratically Elected Public Officials and Governments.
Transparent, and Accountable Trade Negotiations
In order to create trade agreements that advance the promises of the 21st century for sustainable
technological and economic development that protect and promote health, CPATH recommends that Congress adopt and enforce robust
objectives for the TPP Trade Agreement negotiations that will safeguard the health of Americans and our trading partners,
and promote economically and socially just, democratically controlled, and environmentally sustainable outcomes, specifically
the following Public Health Objectives for Global Trade Agreements:
Public Health Objectives for U.S. Global Trade Agreements
Assure democratic participation by public health
and transparency in trade policy:
all proceedings and documents of trade negotiations and trade advisory committees to the public; and
- Appoint to all three tiers of trade advisory committees
representatives of organizations that work to assure equitable access to affordable health-related services and products,
and promote the health of individuals, communities and populations, who can provide formal advice to USTR from
the public health and health care community to USTR; and
- USTR to consult with all relevant
committees of the House and Senate in the development, negotiation, implementation, and administration of trade
and negotiating objectives.
Develop mutually beneficial trade relationships with
trade partners that create sustainable economic development in
an increasingly interdependent world.
Recognize the legitimate exercise of national, regional
and local government sovereignty to protect population health,
and ensure that countries do not weaken or reduce, as an encouragement for trade, sound policies that contribute to health
and well-being and democracy, including laws on public health, the environment, labor, food safety, human rights and
Exclude tariff and nontariff provisions
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. Exclude tobacco and tobacco products, which
are lethal, and for which the public health goal is to reduce consumption,
from tariff and nontariff provisions of the TPP, including advertising, labeling, product regulation and distribution.
6. Exclude 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.
intellectual property provisions related to pharmaceuticals from the TPP and TTIP 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 outline of the following comments is as follows:
globalization and health – Overview
2. The track record: trade and health
3. Transparency and democracy
4. Intellectual property rules limit access to affordable medicines
5. Tobacco corporation challenges to tobacco controls
6. Investor-state dispute resolution
Conclusion: Oppose the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities
and Accountability Act of 2015