FTA Negotiations Patterns, Health Matters, and Opposition Gaelle Krikorian - November 2006 Research Fellow, CRESP (Research Center on Health, Society and Politics) Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - Inserm - Université Paris 13 [email protected] Fixed features. 1. Inequality
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• Dominant position of the US who is leading the movement to reinforce IPR.
• ‘Forum shifting’ strategy – between bilateral and multilateral negotiating arenas (P. Drahos).
• Inequality of power and resources between the negotiating Parties. Increasing US expertise and improvement of the US model from one negotiation to the next.
A bipartisan policy
Free Trade Agreements “transcend ideology” (Bill Clinton, 1993).
Conditions of the negotiations
• Absence of real negotiation (at least on IPR – see comparison of agreement texts).
• Secrecy of the negotiations and of the content of the texts.
Central role of the leader of the country (Prime minister, King, President…).
Very limited presence of health officials and experts on the negotiating teams.
Low profile of health issues among other officials.
The partisans: Proponents
Who is for the FTA.
US-Thai FTA Business Coalition
National Assoc. of Manufacturers, US-ASEAN Business Council, Chevron, FedEx, General Electric Company, New York Life International, QUALCOMM Inc, TimeWarner, AIG, AMCHAM Thailand, American Chemistry Council, American Forest and Paper Assn, Business Round Table, Cargill, Caterpillar, The Chubb Corporation, Citigroup, Corn Refiners Association, Coalition of Service Industries, Discovery Communication, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, Ford Motor Company, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Microsoft Corporation, National Pork Producers Council, PhRMA, Securities Industry Association, Starbucks Coffee, UPS, US Chamber of Commerce.
The partisans: Opponents
Who is against the FTA.
Access Foundation, Alternative Agriculture Network, Assembly of the Poor, Biodiversity and Community Rights Action Thailand, Center for Aids Rights, Confederation of Consumer Organization, Confederation of State Enterprise Labour Union, Council of People Organizations of Thailand, Drug Study Group, Federation of Consumers (Lampang), Federation for Northern Farmers, Focus on the Global South (Thailand), Foundation for Consumers, Four Regions Slum Network, FTA Watch, Medecins Sans Frontieres-Belgium (Thailand), National Human Right Commission, NGO Coordinating Committee On Development, Northern Peasants Federation, Thai Action on Globalisation, Thai Labour Solidarity Committee, Thai People’s Network Against Free Trade Area and Privatization, Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Thai NGO Coalition on AIDS, The Rural Reconstruction Alumni and Friends Association, The Strategic Policy on Natural Resources Base Project, Student Federation of Thailand, Southern Community Forest Network, Southern Land Reform for the Poor.
An analysis of the details of the IP chapters’ provisions shows:
• an increase in the level of protection over time – as expected…
• when a specific type of provision was first introduced.
• how the US demands are changing over time.
• It also highlights links between different texts - for example, which previous agreement’s text was used as the foundation for the drafting of another (analysis of the provisions and the wording).
• Analysis of the details of the IP chapters’ provisions shows that there has been very little room for real negotiations.
• The IPR provisions keep getting more detailed and broader.
• Despite the mobilization of the civil society locally and internationally and the position of the health authorities, no important concessions have been made regarding the IPR chapters and their impact on access to medicines (failure).
• The way negotiations are conducted and concluded has stayed the same.
• The only evolution is the addition of side letters, which started with the Moroccan agreement and have been added to CAFTA and agreements with Colombia and Oman.
• So far, the only room left for health matters is in the actual implementation of the FTA by national authorities.
Very little data regarding access to medicines and the impact of the FTAs.
Existing studies of the prospective impact of the FTAs:
• Chutima Akaleephan, International Health Policy Program, Thailand, 2005.
• INDECOPI (Government Agency for Consumer Protection), Peru, 2005.
• FEDESARROLO (Foundation of Superior Education and Development), Colombia, 2005.
• PAHO, Colombia, 2004.
• Australian Institute, 2003, 2004…
• US farm groups strongly support the pact, which the American Farm Bureau Federation estimates will generate $260 million in increased exports by 2015 in new U.S. wheat, animal feed, beef, poultry and other farm exports by 2015. (January 2005)
• Two-way trade is less than $1 billion annually, but the U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that could double under the pact. (July 2004)
• "The Morocco FTA provides U.S. exports a significant advantage in the Moroccan market," said Doug Boisen, chair of NCGA’s Joint Trade Policy A-Team. … The duty-free corn would save the Moroccan poultry and livestock industries approximately $30 million per year based on current imports and applied duties. (July 23, 2004)
• NCGA (National Corn Growers Association), along with 27 other commodity organizations, … stated the agreement could lead to $260 million in increased sales per year by 2015, while Morocco agricultural sales to the U.S. would increase by $25 million. (July 23, 2004).
• An International Trade Commission study estimated Moroccan exports to the U.S. would increase $199 million (from $465 million in 2003) once the FTA is fully implemented. The biggest winners, however, would be Moroccan consumers. They would be able to purchase U.S. goods at dramatically cheaper prices - delivering an immediate improvement in their standard of living. (Brett D. Schaefer/Anthony B. Kim, Heritage Foundation, July 2004).
• AMITH, the Moroccan textile and clothing manufacturers association, expects that the sector’s exports, estimated at $30 million, could under the new deal witness a six-fold growth in a short period of time. (March 18, 2004)
• Les textiles bénéficieront d’un accès privilégié (Trade Preference Level) de façon à augmenter les volumes exportés de 50 %. Mieux, selon Catherine Novelli, « le Maroc jouira d’un accès libre au marché dynamique américain de presque 300 millions de consommateurs qui importent annuellement pour 1 500 milliards de dollars de biens et services ». (15 mars 2004)
A growing movement…
The mobilization against the FTAs goes beyond health defenders (except in rare cases, such as Morocco). It includes unions, students, farmers, workers, academics, members of congress, local generic producers… bankers.
In cases such as Thailand, these mobilizations a very well organized. Strong networks of collaboration have been developed.
They share information/knowledge and build collaborations with civil servants (Food and Drug Administration, NHSO, Ministry of Commerce).
Protests and demonstrations
Following the chronology of the FTAs over time: 2,000 people in Morocco in October 2004; 8,000 in Guatemala in March 2005; 10,000 in Thailand in January 2006; 60,000 signatures for a referendum on the FTA in Peru in April 2006; 7,000 people in South Korea in October 2006; more than 10,000 in November 2006?…
Organized and sustainable mobilization?
The same way the mobilization against NAFTA organized the North American anti-globalization movement, anti-FTA movements may continue to play a political role even after the ratification of the agreements: mobilization regarding implementation (Jordan, Chili), studies on impact of FTAs (Chile, Guatemala, Colombia), initiatives to prove unconstitutionality of FTAs in court (Thailand, AUSFTA, Guatemala).
Counterproposal to US proposal: attempt in Colombia, possible attempt in Thailand.
Negotiation with SACU stopped in April 2006. Negotiations with Thailand on hold.
Unless extended by Congress, Trade Promotion Authority will expire in July 2007.
The need for change…
So far, the IPR aspects of the FTAs on access to medicine has proven unshakable. However, the characteristics of these negotiations (from their content to the way they are conducted) seem to catalyze a mobilization dynamic that goes beyond simple resistance.
This social movement will probably bring changes. At least in the long term.
In the short run…
Recent US elections bring opportunities.
Beyond the debate over the FTAs, a broader discussion regarding production and access to knowledge goods is going on. This too represents a movement that is bringing new options and might contribute to reshaping the way people look at IP protection.
The new US political context might be the right time to challenge the IPR chapters of the FTAs with alternatives.