AMA urges Government to protect Australia's public health interests in trade agreements
The AMA has written to the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Andrew Robb AO, urging the Government to ensure that policies that support public health in Australia are not compromised in the terms of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which will be discussed by Trade Ministers next week.
The TPPA is a regional free trade agreement that involves twelve countries across the Asia Pacific, including Australia and the United States.
AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said today it is vital that the TPPA preserves the right of Australian governments to make laws in important areas of public health policy that benefit the Australian population.
“Free trade agreements should not erode sovereign control over Australia’s national health policy, including the ability of governments to regulate industries that produce goods that contribute to the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, such as tobacco, alcohol, and highly processed foods,” Professor Dobb said.
“The AMA encourages the Australian Government to refuse any provisions in the TPPA that would encroach on national health policy and reduce the Government’s ability to regulate significant areas of public health policy.
“The Government must insist that future trade agreements, including the TPPA, do not extend the intellectual property rights of patent holders, interfere with the operation of the PBS, or provide foreign corporations with investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) rights to challenge domestic public health policies.
“We encourage the Government to consult closely with the AMA and the health sector to ensure the many strengths of the Australian health system are not undermined or compromised by international trade agreements,” Professor Dobb said.
6 December 2013
CONTACT: John Flannery 02 6270 5477 / 0419 494 761
Kirsty Waterford 02 6270 5464 / 0427 209 753
Published: 06 Dec 2013