Earlier this month, Greenpeace Netherlands released secret documents from the EU-United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations. The 248 leaked pages comprise TTIP negotiating texts, including the US position, and internal EU documents outlining the state of play of the trade talks. They are available at www.ttip-leaks.org. At the release, Jorgo Riss, director of Greenpeace EU, said: “Greenpeace Netherlands has made these documents publicly available to bring some much needed transparency to the debate on TTIP. We have seen grave concerns for environment and public health confirmed, and invite others with expertise in different areas to download these documents and analyse the impacts of this trade deal. The public has a right to know what is being traded away in their name.” The Greenpeace analysis of the documents is available here.
Photo: Protesters concerned about the TPP effect on health gather in Atlanta, Georgia. Credit.
by Ronald Labonté, Ashley Schram, Arne Ruckert
Negotiations surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade and investment agreement have recently concluded. Although trade and investment agreements, part of a broader shift to global economic integration, have been argued to be vital to improved economic growth, health, and general welfare, these agreements have increasingly come under scrutiny for their direct and indirect health impacts.
Nine of the “Big 10” global food and beverage companies have improved their ratings by at least 10 percent in three years since Oxfam began keeping score through its “Behind the Brands” scorecard. Oxfam highlighted the major strides most of them have made to improve their policies on land rights, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and gender equality in company supply chains. Kellogg (up 30 percent) and Unilever (up 26 percent) made the most progress across all themes since the campaign began.
What are the positive and negative health consequences of globalization? How do trade pacts influence health? What role do corporations play in shaping the direction of globalization? On April 4, 2016, Ron Labonté, Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity at the School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Ottawa addressed these and other questions at a talk on “Globalization and the (new) political economy of health” at the City University of New York School of Public Health. View the presentation here.
photo credit: Institute of Population Health, 2007
Corporate Accountability International (CAI) reports that two national groups have called on several Houston hospitals to remove fast-food chain restaurants from their grounds. One recent campaign by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine focused on Chik-fil-A. It says about 20 hospitals across the country have the franchise, and it launched an advertising and billboard campaign that parodied Chik-fil-A’s slogan, with white-coated doctors asking people to “Eat More Chickpeas.” Taylor Billings, a Houston organizer for CAI, criticized both Texas Children’s and Ben Taub hospital for having a McDonald’s. “To have two of the leading health institutions in Houston hosting the world’s most recognized junk food brand, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Billings said at a protest March 31 outside the headquarters of the Harris Health System in Houston.
It’s tax season—and that’s apt for companies who are under the microscope of European tax authorities, writes Fortune. In February, reports emerged that the European Commission is considering a proposal that would force multinationals to reveal their tax bills in 28 European countries. Why? Because corporate tax-dodging costs the EU between $54.5 billion and $76.4 billion a year, according to a study by the European Parliamentary Research Service.
Adverse impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership on public health have been well documented but how might the pact affect regional and global economies? A new report “Trading Down: Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” on the Trans Pacific Partnership by investigators at Tufts University asks that question. It concludes that “the benefits to economic growth are even smaller than those projected with full-employment models, and are negative for Japan and the United States. More important, we find that the TPP will likely lead to losses in employment and increases in inequality.”