New ITAC Charters Call for Nominations
from Unions and NGOs
The Department of Commerce has called for nominations to Tier 3 Industry Trade Advisory Committees,
including representatives of labor unions and NGOs. Feb. 24, 2014, pp. 10099 - 10101. Nominations are open through
PUBLIC HEALTH COMMENTS – PUBLIC INTEREST TRADE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
RESPONSE TO FEDERAL REGISTER REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
THE CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS ON TRADE
AND HEALTH (CPATH)
MARCH 25, 2014
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH, and Joseph E. Brenner, MA, Co-Directors
Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH) has played a leading role in documenting and seeking redress for the
illegal capture of trade advisory committees by commercial interests, that has insulated the Administration from public discourse
and the public interest. We have brought these issues to the attention of policy-makers and the public, through publications,, advocacy, litigation,proposed legislation, and testimony to Congress and to the Administration, including the USTR and the Department of Commerce. The Washington Post recently updated and corroborated CPATH’s observations.
addition, the public and policy makers are demanding transparency in trade negotiations, and taking action to achieve it.
The constraints imposed by requiring absolute confidentiality from committee members are now a matter of national policy and
However, this proposal arises as the trade policy
agenda is at a genuine crossroads. The theoretical foundation for global trade policy is glaringly inadequate to address 21st century imperatives for sustainable economic development: to generate economic growth,
innovation, fulfilling and remunerative employment, and stable markets, while expanding wealth and redressing persistent inequalities
in economic, social and political resources and power within and between countries; to protect the environment and climate
in developing energy sources; and to promote systems of agriculture that guarantee food security. Neither sober analysis nor
credible economic forecasting supports assertions that trade agreements will significantly advance employment, while lowering
prices, and improving the global standard of living.
The objective set out
at Bretton Woods in 1948 to reduce or eliminate tariffs in order to stimulate cross-border commerce has been substantially
accomplished. Trade negotiations presently focus on reducing the permissible parameters for government regulations, and limiting
government involvement generally in a wide range of arenas.The framework of deregulation and privatization
was set during the Uruguay Round of global trade negotiations that concluded with the establishment of the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in 1994. It has proven to be a spectacular failure at creating trade agreements. The WTO Doha Round has limped along
since 2002 without appreciable progress towards an agreement. There is popular opposition to two major regional trade agreements
that the U.S. is negotiating, one with Pacific Rim nations, the other with Europe.
Further, global trade rules are demonstrably vehicles for destabilizing entire economic sectors, such as Mexican
agriculture; blocking access to affordable life-saving medications, propping up prices and discouraging innovation by pharmaceutical
companies; and protecting the tobacco industry from government plain-packaging regulations, well-established to play a significant
role in curbing the global epidemic of tobacco-related deaths and disease.
Policy must address the imperative to revitalize the public sector as an essential partner in economic development;
to recognize the legitimate role of government measures and the sovereignty of democratic decision-making over commercial
incentives, and the value of public enterprises; and to include the public as creative and entitled participants rather than
We propose that public health and public interest
participants in the PITAC are in a position to generate constructive democratic discussion, analysis and critique of the trade
agenda, its processes and its results. The PITAC should promote dialogue and debate with other trade committees and with broad
sectors of the interested public and with policy-makers, on every level of trade policy.
The U.S. must take concrete steps to align our global economic power with our capability and responsibility
to direct trade policy purposefully towards democracy, sustainability and equality. We have the opportunity and imperative
to integrate public health's perspective and participation as the U.S. Administration confronts today's challenges
in trade negotiations. In the context of the creation and implementation of a Tier 2 Public Interest
Trade Advisory Committee (PITAC), public health’s perspective will prove invaluable in determining trade objectives,
and in drafting, analyzing and advancing trade proposals that foster these foundational goals.
Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who disbanded quarterly reporting in the interest of longer term planning, has said that
capitalism "is an enormous force to lift people out of poverty. But at the same time, we haven't figured out how
to do that without incurring enormous levels of…overconsumption; and frankly, leaving too many people behind. You cannot
say that the system properly works if there are over a billion people going to bed hungry."
CPATH Reports first called public attention to the secretive committees in 2005.Pressure from public health and tobacco control groups led to the appointment of a public interest tobacco control
representative to the Agricultural Committee on Tobacco, Cotton, and Peanuts in 2005, and subsequent Congressional
action in 2009.
Congress and the public are increasingly demanding democratic participation
in setting global trade policy, including openly disclosing the terms of pending trade agreements.
The United States Trade
Representative (USTR) has announced it will solicit applications in the near future through the Federal Register for a Public
Interest Trade Advisory Committee (PITAC) to advise the Administration on trade negotiations.The PITAC,
to include public health and other public interest representatives, would be a nod towards compliance with the Federal Advisory
Act, which requires all such committees to be fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented, and the Trade Act of
1974, which specifies interests that should be included on trade committees.
“Trade agreements are now a key weapon for corporations like tobacco
to eliminate laws that prevent more kids from getting addicted to their deadly product. The original economic goals of
trade deals, like eliminating tariffs to encourage cross-border trade, were substantially accomplished long ago. But trade
rules have a direct impact on public health and domestic policy, including access to affordable medicines and health care,
the right and ability of government laws and regulations to protect the public’s health from the epidemic of tobacco-related
deaths and diseases, internet freedom, industrial farms, preventable climate change, labor rights, and economic instability
related to unregulated capital flows,” said Dr. Ellen R. Shaffer, Co-Director of CPATH.
“The U.S is now
negotiating major multi-party agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with 11 Pacific Rim nations,
and another with the European Union, affecting a significant percentage of the U.S. and the global economy,” said Joe
Brenner, CPATH Co-Director.
“These massive and controversial new trade agreements call for intensified transparency and involvement by
the public and our elected representatives in Congress at every stage of trade negotiations," according to Brenner. "Until
now, the TPP has been negotiated without meaningful, informed public input or debate, yet the finance, pharmaceutical, tobacco,
energy, communications, processed foods and health insurance industries have had highly privileged access to government trade
negotiators.” [clip - see complete statement below]
for a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade (PHACT)
Reframing global trade policy.The global economy is at a crossroads.Financial instability,
emerging economies, and environmental change present challenges to business as usual. Over the past decade public health has
become a countervailing force in trade policy.We had the opportunity and imperative to integrate public
health’s perspective and participation as a new U.S. administration confronts today’s challenges.In response to a campaign by the CPATH network and legislation proposed by allies in Congress
(HR 2293/Van Hollen and S.1664/Stabenow), the Administration reported it was revamping the membership of
trade advisory committees, and adding public health members to existing committees. These committees should look at the
nexus between trade and other international agreements, such as environmental and health agreements, as well as institutions
such as the World Health Organization. The Campaign for aPublic Health Advisory
Committee on Trade (PHACT) offers renewed opportunities to reverse policies with a negative impact on public
health, and implement policies that promote and protect health.
CPATH and the APHA Trade and Health Forum solicited resumes from individuals
who would like to serve on trade advisory committees.
We identified at least 9 Committees in Tier 3 that address trade and health
Pharmaceuticals, Health Science Products (ITAC 3)
Consumer Goods (ITAC
Distribution Services (ITAC 5)
Information and Communications Technologies,
Services, and Electronic Commerce (ITAC 8)
Services and Finance (ITAC 10)
and Trade Facilitation (ITAC 14)
Intellectual Property Rights (ITAC 15) Standards and Technical Trade Barriers (ITAC 16) Agricultural Technical
Advisory Committee for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton, Peanuts (ATAC)
CPATH conducted an analysis of representation by
industry on U.S. Trade Advisory Committees on May 1, 2009.
CPATH at Ways & Means Hearing on Trade Advisory Committees, HR 2293
On Tuesday, July 21, 2009, at ,
the Trade Subcommittee of the House Committee on Way and Means held a hearing on how the U.S.
trade advisory committee system is functioning, and on how to increase transparency and public participation in the development
of U.S. trade policy.
examined the development of trade policy from several perspectives.CPATH Co-Director
Ellen R. Shaffer, PhD MPH, was an invited witness and discussed the importance of public health representation on U.S.
trade advisory committees. Her testimony, and the testimony of other witnesses, can
be found under 'Congressional Hearing on Trade Advisory Commitees.'
Van Hollen (D-MD) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) have introduced HR 2293 toadd a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade (PHACT) to
the influential Second Tier of the Federal Trade Advisory Committee System.
The hearing took
place at Committee Advisory Note:
Please Co-Sponsor HR 2293/S. 1644, The
Public Health Trade Advisory Committee Act [Introduction]
We're writing to ask
you to co-sponsor H.R. 2293/S. 1644, the Public Health Trade Advisory Committee Act.
Global trade agreements
increasingly affect the public's health, from the price of medicines to regulations that protect the safety of food and water
The Government Accountability Office and the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH) have documented
the absence of public health representation on U.S. trade advisory committees.Advisors from health-related industries including pharmaceuticals, tobacco, processed foods, alcohol beverage
and health insurance have had exclusive access to government trade negotiators.... [See full Letter of Support:]
Bill Summary: H. R. 2293 –
The Public Health Trade Advisory Committee Act
SECTION 1. PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Establishes a Public Health Advisory Committee
on Trade (PHACT) as a Tier 2 committee. It states that members shall be appointed from nominations submitted by organizations
with an interest in improving and protecting public health.They should have
expertise in one or more of 5 areas: trade and sustainable development; public health’s right to regulate in areas including
tobacco control, alcohol control, and standards to ensure safe food, air and water; vital human services; occupational safety
and health; or access to affordable prescription drugs. Members cannot represent for-profit entities, or receive significant
financial support for a for-profit entity represented on any other trade advisory committee.
SEC. 2. INCLUSION OF PUBLIC HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS ON ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR TRADE POLICY AND NEGOTIATIONS.
Requires the appointment of a public health NGO
representative to the Tier 1 ACTPN.An eligible NGO cannot receive 20% or more
of its total funding from a single commercial, for-profit entity, or 30% of its total funding from commercial for-profit entities.
SEC. 3. MODIFICATION OF REQUIRED CONSULTATIONS
WITH ADVISORY COMMITTEES DURING TRADE NEGOTIATIONS.
Includes Health and Human Services as an Agency
to receive information from trade advisory committees. Requires Agencies including USTR, Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, HHS, Labor and Defense, to consult with the advisory
committees before, during and after negotiations, and to respond in writing to their concerns. Written advisory committee
opinions should includeany dissenting views.
SEC. 4. ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORTS ON
Advisory committees shall submit a report on the
expected effects of proposed trade agreements no later than the date that the President notifies Congress of the intent to
negotiate.Reports shall include the extent to which the trade agreement promotes:
the economic interests of the U.S.; public health and the environment; and equity and reciprocity in particular sectors.It shall also include a summary of any dissenting opinions by committee members.The reports shall be available on the USTR’s website unless the President determines a particular
report should not, according to specified criteria.
Public Health Officials Applaud HR 2293 (Van Hollen/Doggett) -
Would Create a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade (PHACT),
Open USTR Committees to Public
Rep. Chris Van
Hollen (D-MD) has joined Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) to introduce HR 2293, the Public
Health Trade Advisory Committee Act. The legislation amends the Trade Act of 1974 to require that a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade (PHACT) be added to the influential Second Tier
of the Federal Trade Advisory Committee System.
The Trade Advisory
Committee System was created to help the president develop U.S. trade policy. The new committee will give public health concerns greater
consideration at the onset of trade agreement formation and ultimately make America safer
Additionally, the bill
requires greater openness and transparency in how all of the trade advisory committees operate. The changes would involve
more timely communications among committees, Congress and the Administration, and hold the Administration accountable for
responding to committees’ concerns.
CPATH Responds to NY Times: Health Key to Trade and Properity
12/27/07 NY Times, CPATH response to "Trade and Prosperity" editorial:
To the Editor:
Current trade agreements preclude
and sometimes reverse the very safety net you propose to ameliorate their damage, as new Congressional leaders recognize.
Trade pacts undermine access to affordable medicines and offer new levers of power to the drug, tobacco, alcohol, health care
and processed food industries. These industries dominate United States federal trade advisory committees and influence trade policy to
promote the bottom line over health.
The public, the candidates
and The Times are right to call for affordable health care. We also need a new, sustainable trade model that does
not destabilize public health benefits where they exist or are emerging among our trading partners. These are the genuine
keys to prosperity.
Ellen R. Shaffer San Francisco, Dec. 23, 2007 The writer is co-director
of the Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health.
Campaign for Public Health Representation in Trade Policy
CPATH is coordinating the call by U.S. health organizations to include advocates
for the public’s health on the U.S. Trade Representative's Advisory Committees, and to open Committee meetings
to public scrutiny. Committee members enjoy significant influence on trade policy, according to a report by the Government
Accountability Office.Committees currently include representatives of the pharmaceutical,
tobacco, health insurance, alcohol and processed food industries.The Committees
are legally required to present fairly balanced views on trade negotiations. There are no representatives of organizations concerned with the effects of international trade on health.
Many members of Congress strongly support the goal of public health
representation in trade policy.
GAO: U.S. Trade Policy Neglects Public Health
On 10/30/07, Rep. Henry A. Waxman and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy released a GAO report which finds that U.S. trade policy under the Bush
Administration has neglected public health and the Doha Declaration, which affirms the right of WTO members to “promote
access to medicines for all.”
Formal public health input into trade policy from the public health
community has been limited, according to the GAO. U.S.T.R. receives counsel on specific sectors and issues from
fourteen “trade advisory committees.” Most have no public health representation.
Van Hollen/Waxman Bill Called for Public Health Trade Advisors - Aug. 2007
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced HR 3204 in 2007, to expand public health representation
on trade advisory committees, and assure an active role for Congress and the public in setting trade policy. Rep. Henry
Waxman was an original co-sponsor. In the current Congress, Rep. Van Hollen has introduced HR 2293, co-sponsored
by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) - see above on this page.
Six key Senators and 9 Congressional Representatives urge the
USTR to represent public health in trade negotiations.
from Meeting of Public Health Organizations and Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) June 12, 2006
Public health organizations and members of Congress have asserted public health’s strong interest in serving on trade
advisory committees that influence US trade policies. The USTR’s office has agreed that public health has a legitimate
claim to be represented. On December 16, 2005, the Department of Commerce and USTR posted a Federal Register announcement
seeking public health nominees to Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs) 3 (Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Health/Science
Products & Services) and 15 (Intellectual Property).
date, no nominees have been selected. The USTR has not responded to reasonable requests from public health groups for deadlines
on appointments. During that time, ITAC 3 has established a subcommittee on pharmaceuticals and intellectual property, which
continues to meet without public health representation.
Nine national health organizations called on the U.S. Trade Representative
and Secretary of Commerce to include advocates for the public's health on its Advisory Committees, and to open Committee meetings
to public scrutiny.
organizations are: CPATH, AmericanCollege of Preventive Medicine,
American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, California Conference of Local Health Officers, Doctors for
Global Health, National Association of Community Health Centers, Physicians for Human Rights, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
CPATH REPORT: INTERNATIONAL TRADE ADVISORY COMMITTEES
WARRANTING PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE REPRESENTATION May 2, 2005
analyzes United States trade advisory committees which currently lack and warrant public health and health care and health
care representation. Statements from advisory committee reports demonstrate that they are of interest to and directly affect
the work of the Public Health and Health Care community.
The U. S. Trade Advisory Committees are
legally required to represent a fair balance of interests. The table above shows the reported breakdown of
members prior to CPATH's work to promote public health representation.
Since 2005, as a result of CPATH’s
Campaign for Public Health Accountability, the USTR has appointed a tobacco control representative to a key Advisory Committee,
on Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts, and a public health professional to the Advisoy Committee on Pharmaceuticals, reflected in
the table below.
PUBLIC HEALTH: 3
TOTAL BIG BUSINESS
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