The Obama administration reportedly wants new trade standards that would grant radical new political powers to corporations, up the cost of prescription medications, and restrict bank regulation — and apparently with hardly any international support — The Huffington Post reported, noting two internal memos it said it obtained.
Image source: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
The memos come from a government involved in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, the Huffington Post said, adding:
Previously leaked TPP documents have sparked alarm among global health experts, Internet freedom activists, environmentalists and organized labor, but are adamantly supported by American corporations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Obama administration has deemed negotiations to be classified information -- banning members of Congress from discussing the American negotiating position with the press or the public. Congressional staffers have been restricted from viewing the documents.
One of the most controversial provisions in the talks includes new corporate empowerment language insisted upon by the U.S. government, which would allow foreign companies to challenge laws or regulations in a privately run international court. Under World Trade Organization treaties, this political power to contest government law is reserved for sovereign nations. The U.S. has endorsed some corporate political powers in prior trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the scope of what laws can be challenged appears to be much broader in TPP negotiations.
Also at issue is access to medicine, and the Obama administration reportedly wants "new intellectual property rules in the treaty that would grant pharmaceutical companies long-term monopolies on new medications," the Hufftington Post said, which would mean they could "charge high prices" and not worry about "competition from generic providers."
The result, according to public health experts, would be higher worldwide prices "and lack of access to life-saving drugs in poor countries," the Huffington Post noted.
Read the full article here.
HuffPost has updated its story with this denial:
"These are not U.S. documents and we have no idea of their authorship or authenticity," a spokesman for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said. "Some elements in them are outdated, others totally inaccurate." The spokesman declined to specify which parts were outdated or inaccurate.
(H/T: The Huffington Post)