Is the TPP History?

Gordon Campbell » Blog Archive » Gordon Campbell on Japan’s current doubts that the TPP has any future.


As Glyn Moody noted in a Tweet, it’s an excellent summary and analysis. Campbell relies heavily on the Yomiuri Shimbun,a business journal, which gives, in its full (and in English) editorial, summary judgement on the accord—and on other, better opportunities for Japan. Campbell’s piece is worth reading in its entirety; it’s also short. It’s also worth noting his essential outrage at the breathtaking arrogance of the TPP, which is vaster than any empire, its frank benevolence toward major corporate entities, its “grotesque” contempt of the public—even of countries. From the major corporation perspective, the issue is about returns on investment and the security of those returns. Big Pharma wants to protect the data related to biologics, to extend protection to 12 years; countries outside the US (which is voicing Big Pharma) argue for five years. But this is not just so that they can sell their own generics and rake in the cash. It’s because in the case of biologics—the bone of contention here, among many—people afflicted with a vast range of disorders are affected by the cost and availability of these drugs. As generics, they become more affordable and lives are eased, even saved; as objects of profit and control, they remain exclusively for the super-elite. That exclusivity, girded by the accord, accelerates wealth inequality and cements its channels; it does not promote invention, and even if it did, the accord would limit the effects of any disruptive idea.

As Campbell concludes, referring specifically to his home country, New Zealand:

Does anyone really think all these bridges can be crossed by early September? Even if the TPP ministers tried to declare victory and announced a ‘broad agreement’, the US Congress would baulk at endorsing any agreement where the relevant details have yet to be decided. The Japanese are being urged to re-assess whether the TPP really is worth any further effort. At the very least, Trade Minister Tim Groser should be coming clean with the details of what remains in contention. What is the balance of costs and gains on the TPP currently looking like for New Zealand?

For example: it is simply not good enough for Groser to insist that people won’t be paying more across the counter for medicines under the TPP….This does not address the already conceded extra costs that the TPP will impose on Pharmac, the health budget and the availability of medicines. Where does the government stand on this? Does it really think it can win enough on dairy to justify these added costs? Or…given the plight of our dairy farmers does it think that any hope at all of progress on this front is good news, politically?

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