The negotiations between the US government and 11 other countries to create the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were officially concluded today. The completion of this largest and most comprehensive Free Trade Agreement in history was welcomed in neoliberal circles with euphoria.

However, MEP Helmut Scholz, trade policy expert of the left GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament, expressed his deep concerns about the agreement: “TPP harms our societies. The societies of 12 countries are to be placed under a rigid investor protection system. Civil liberties on the Internet will be limited more strongly than originally planned in the controversial ACTA agreement, which was rejected by the European Parliament for the EU.”

Scholz continued: “The big pharmaceutical companies will receive an extended patent protection period, which threatens the production of cheaper generics. All farmers and agricultural producers in the region will now find themselves exposed to direct competition from the United States, the world's leader in agricultural exports.”

Scholz also estimates that the TPP agreement will have direct consequences on the negotiations between the US and European Union. “For the US government, TPP has always had priority over the TTIP negotiations. I expect that the Americans will now take the result as a benchmark in negotiations with us Europeans. Many aspects of TPP would be totally unacceptable, such as the primacy of the protection of brand names over the protection of geographical indications of agricultural products, or the priority of the protection of trade secrets over press freedom. The whole issue of data protection is contrary to the European Union approach.”

However, Scholz does not yet see the agreement as being signed and sealed: “The TPP agreement will now be an important topic in the US election campaign. Trade unions, civil rights organisations and environmental groups in the United States reject the agreement and will continue to make this a condition of their support for Congressmen in the election campaign. But TPP is also controversial among Republican candidates. Even the populist candidate Donald Trump rejected TPP vehemently.”

Therefore, the ratification of the agreement by Congress before the elections in 2016 is considered by Helmut Scholz as questionable at least.


GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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