Our Prime Minister, John Key, seems to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that the TPP is gone. The battle has been lost. The US will never accept it without major concessions like a 12 year patent period on biologics. US Pharmaceutical Corporations’ profits versus people’s access to lifesaving medicine. People’s lives versus making a few people very rich. It’s a no-brainer. We cannot go there and neither can the other 10 participating countries.
Time to move on. But not to other deals of the same ilk – albeit without the US as Mr Key is hoping against hope. Time to talk in wider terms than just businesses in one country’s desire to exploit people in another country. All in the name of ever expanding, ever increasing profits.
We are on the verge of cooking the planet. Professor Jim Flynn states in his most recent book ‘No Place to Hide’, “We have already raised CO2 levels from 280 parts per million to 400ppm. If it climbs to 500ppm we have reached the point of no return.” And we are depleting the earth’s resources at a much faster rate than they can be replenished. This is no time to be indulging Fonterra’s quest for world domination, or any other large corporation for that matter.
Free trade deals are pacts that enable businesses based in our country to send stuff to another country that they don’t need, in return for allowing that country’s businesses to send stuff to our own country that we don’t need. What is the point? Is it naïve to expect that trade should be about exchanging stuff that people need and want? Why do we need 600 pages of rules?
Flying our elected leaders around the globe to argue over such matters as who can sell butter to whom and how much, is a waste of time, airfares, and emissions.
Is it too much to ask that when the leaders of nations get together they focus on the issues that matter, preventing catastrophic climate change, conserving the earth’s resources, eliminating poverty, providing food and shelter for all the world’s people, ensuring the sharing of information and access to learning, finding peaceful solutions to conflicts within and between countries?
Forget about RCEP, TISA, TPP without the US, FTAAP. They are all the same. We don’t want them. We thought we made that clear. People have moved on from ‘free trade’ deals. It’s time the politicians did too. There are much more pressing things to deal with.