November 12, 2015 by islandersvoice1
Below are several possible questions to ask Rep. Larsen about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement at 11:15 am on Sunday, November 15 at the Grange Hall in Friday Harbor. The public is invited. The same questions could be asked of Rep. Larsen and Senators Murray and Cantwell via their websites or by email. Comments and questions are due by February 4, 2016.
1. How does TPP change the length of time that new drugs are protected from generics?
2. Does TPP allow patents on medicines to be extended for simply changing a formulation, even if it doesn’t improve its efficacy for patients?
3. How will TPP impact the ability of Medicare, Medicaid, and single payer systems in other countries to get a volume discount for purchasing medicine?
4. How will TPP affect food safety in our country?
5. George Bush’s trade agreements were certainly not the best, but they had agreements enforcing seven specific multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), so that countries signing these trade agreements had to adopt, maintain, and enforce these seven standards in their laws. The TPP wipes out six of the seven agreed-upon standards. Are there other clauses in TPP that counter this loosening of environmental restrictions?
6. Because corporations can challenge any laws or regulations that impact their ability to make a profit, how are we to fight climate change if fossil fuel corporations challenge laws limiting or banning the use of fossil fuels?
7. Previous trade treaties have had language requiring enforcement. TPP simply encourages countries to “endeavor” or “strive” to not damage the environment. How do you think this will impact corporate behavior?
8. Would you please comment on how TPP affects internet use and privacy?
9. Does TPP include language that effectively bans “Buy American” and “Buy Local” preferences in many types of government purchasing?
10. Will TPP make it easier or harder to offshore American jobs?
11. Vietnam is one of the members of TPP, and they often pay their workers less than 65 cents per hour. Won’t this contribute to downward pressure on American wages and to the offshoring of American jobs?
12. There will be a revolving door for lawyers who represent corporations in cases brought before the TPP tribunals and the lawyers on those tribunals. Won’t there be an incentive for those lawyers, when acting as part of the tribunals, to rule for corporations and against countries so as to make it more likely that when serving their corporate clients as attorneys, they have a better chance of winning?
13. Under TPP, American corporations may only use American courts for challenging American laws, yet foreign corporations will be able to use TPP tribunals to challenge American laws. Doesn’t this give foreign corporations an unfair advantage? Won’t many American corporations move their headquarters overseas for this reason, thereby continuing to offshore American jobs?
14. Trade pacts had previously included a security exception at ports that allowed governments to decide how to protect their countries’ security. The TPP removes that exception to trade tribunal investor-state dispute settlement. Won’t that endanger our country?
15. Under TPP, foreign corporations can bring their own workers with them to work in this country. It is one thing to allow them to operate here and use American workers, but coming here with their own workers?