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TPP impact on domestic regulation: consumer rights and public health Angela McDougall, Policy Advisor.

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Presentation on theme: "TPP impact on domestic regulation: consumer rights and public health Angela McDougall, Policy Advisor."— Presentation transcript:

1 TPP impact on domestic regulation: consumer rights and public health Angela McDougall, Policy Advisor

2 TPPA must not restrict governments from implementing measures needed to protect health and consumer rights Consumer right to informed choice Food labelling and regulation Access to affordable medicines

3 Consumer priorities in the TPPA: TBT and SPS chapters must not restrict governments’ ability to regulate food and labelling to protect health or consumer rights Any expansion of pharmaceutical IP rights must not restrict governments from providing affordable access to medicines If there is an ISDS mechanism in the investment chapter, there must be effective exceptions for both consumer rights and health

4 About CHOICE Number one consumer rights advocate in Australia More than 160,000 members Social enterprise and completely self-funded Independent publisher of consumer information

5 About Consumers International Global federation of consumer organisations 220 member organisations in 115 countries Independent and not-for-profit Global research and campaigns through and for our members

6 United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection Consumers International summary of consumer rights: the right to the satisfaction of basic needs the right to safety the right to be informed the right to choose the right to be heard the right to redress the right to consumer education the right to a healthy environment

7 Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Broad concerns Lack of transparency around negotiations Privileging of private interests over the public interest

8 Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement: Consumer concerns around copyright provisions (CHAPTER: Intellectual property) Restrictions on parallel importation of copyrighted goods Anti-circumvention of technological protection measures (TPMs) Copyright infringement enforcement Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into copyright and the digital economy

9 The TPPA should not restrict governments from regulating food and labelling to protect consumer rights and public health (CHAPTERS: Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards,)

10 Right to make informed decisions is well-recognised in Australia eg energy star ratings on home appliances:

11 Food regulation in Australia Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 Section 18 Objectives of the Authority in developing or reviewing food regulatory measures and variations of food regulatory measures (1) The objectives (in descending priority order) of the Authority in developing or reviewing food regulatory measures and variations of food regulatory measures are: (a) the protection of public health and safety (b) the provision of adequate information relating to food to enable consumers to make informed choices (c) the prevention of misleading or deceptive conduct

12 Mandatory labelling - food safety and public health Nutrition information panels Date marking

13 Mandatory labelling to inform consumers Percentage ingredient labelling Country of origin labelling

14 Further regulation is needed … Health and nutrition claims Standard Nutrition, Health and Related Claims – introduced January 2013 – Health claims eg ‘High in calcium for strong bones’ and ‘High in calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis’ limited to healthy products – But nutrition claims like ‘High in fibre’ can be made on any product even if it is high in saturated fat, sodium or sugar – Evidence for new high level health claims (eg ‘High in calcium to reduce the risk of osteoporosis’) must evaluated by government authority before claims can appear in the market – But food companies can evaluate the evidence behind general health claims (eg ‘High in calcium for strong bones’) without independent scrutiny

15 Further regulation is needed … Labelling of genetically modified ingredients GM labelling is required but only where there is an altered characteristic in the end product Loopholes in the regulation:

16 … therefore, the TPPA must not restrict our governments from implementing measures to:  Protect consumers’ health  Enable consumers to make informed choices about what we eat Should we be worried about the TPPA? – TBT chapter? – SPS chapter? Critical concern – investor-state dispute settlement – investors challenging regulation made by states to serve the public interest?

17 2. Sovereign states must be able to provide their citizens with access to affordable medicines (CHAPTER: Transparency – Healthcare annex)

18 Access to affordable medicines Australia’s subsidised medicines program: Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Potential threats to the PBS? – Rights of pharmaceutical companies to challenge reference pricing decisions – Entrenching ever-greening of pharmaceutical patents – Banning pre-grant patent oppositions Expanding the intellectual property rights (IPRs) of patent-holders could cost individuals and governments – particularly in developing countries Any measures to extend IPRs of pharmaceutical companies must not restrict ability of sovereign states to provide citizens with access to affordable medicines

19 3. Domestic regulations to protect public health and consumer rights must be effectively excepted from any ISDS provision in the TPPA (CHAPTER: Investment)

20 Cigarette plain packaging in Australia

21 Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) Phillip Morris challenge to Australia’s cigarette plain packaging laws was rejected by the High Court … …. so Phillip Morris moved assets to Hong Kong to challenge under the ISDS provision of a trade agreement Implications for future efforts to protect public health and consumer rights? Multinationals lining up to challenge our government’s progress on issues like food labelling and informing consumers under ISDS mechanism? If the TPPA is to contain an ISDS mechanism, there must be an effective exception for domestic regulation that protects consumer rights and public health.

22 Conclusion Remember: – Consume right to informed choice – Imperative to protect public health Thank you


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