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  • Workers and social movements have opposed the free trade agreement in all 11 countries.

    Workers and social movements have opposed the free trade agreement in all 11 countries. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 February 2018

While governments celebrate, political and social opposition to the deal mounts across countries. 

A final version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, which will reduce tariffs and other trade barriers between 11 countries in Asia and Latin America that amount to 13 percent of global GDP, was released on Wednesday.

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Eleven states including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam are getting closer to signing a deal even after the United States withdrew from the agreement.

Analysts thought the U.S. withdrawal would leave the deal without clout, but it allowed the remaining countries to remove some rules included in a previous version of the TPP due to Washington’s insistence.

Among them, rules raising protections on intellectual property protections on pharmaceuticals, which some governments and activists worried would increase the cost of medicine and overall access to healthcare.

The Canadian and Australian governments have welcomed the new version of the deal. The first expects exporters will save US$338 million a year, while the latter is certain the TPP will generate new jobs.

However, Australian Unions published a statement calling the new agreement “a raw deal for working Australians.”

 

 

Analysts in New Zealand also worry about the deal’s effect on national sovereignty. Economist and Green Party member, Barry Coates says the deal “would override important aspects of our sovereignty,” arguing “we should not allow foreign corporations to bypass our courts and sue our Government in an international tribunal.”

Opposition to the trade deal has also been voiced in Chile. The People’s Democratic Movement party said via Twitter the TPP will be disastrous for small and medium-size businesses and criticized the provision that allows multinational corporations to sue the state in international courts.

They have called for a demonstration against the TPP for March 7. The agreement is expected to be signed in Chile on March 8.


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