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Public health care vs. the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement

30 January, 2014
Public health care vs the TPP agreement
A PSI - North America strategic briefing

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations are set to erect the largest, most comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) in the world today. The negotiations include 12 nation states of the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam - with South Korea still considering its incorporation.

The TPP represents a systematic threat to quality public services and is poised to accelerate the privatization of public health care and insurance by degrading public health care delivery systems through foreign investor privilege clauses and a direct challenge to state ownership of public health care assets and national development in general.

This strategic briefing identifies and examines the primary threats associated with the TPP as they relate to public health care and the essential workers who deliver this vital public service. The first section treats the core negotiating issue of trade in services with a focused discussion of its consequences for public health, such as contracting out health care services and government procurement of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The second section examines the key issue of the “negative list” through which participating national governments identify a list of services to be exempt from the Trade in Services provisions of the TPP. The third section treats the cross cutting issues of competition rules and  state owned enterprises (SOEs) as they may impact public health care institutions. All of these concerns are exacerbated by the expected inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement provisions that allow foreign investors to directly attack important government policies aimed at protecting public health. Lastly, the briefing outlines several recommendations for PSI affiliates to consider. In addition, Appendix 1: TPP Member Country Ratification of Core Labor Conventions offers a review of TPP country ratification of core labor conventions.


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