NGO's Joint Statement Against KORUS FTA

We say NO to FTA, which threatens people's health right

People's health is under threat.
Neo-liberal globalization is the keyword explaining the current global political and economic system. Its policies and orders, implemented through multinational as well as bilateral or regional trade agreements, deterioratepublic interest and deprive the people of their rights to access to public service in the name of Free trade. FTA aims to promote privatization and commercialization of essential services such as health care, education, culture, electricity, water, and every aspects of life. As a result, it restricts access to medicine and threatens food security and safe environment.
The proposed KORUS FTA contains provisions that put profit of transnational corporations (TNCs) ahead of people's health right. These are the reasons why we say No to KORUS FTA.

1. FTA facilitates privatization and commercialization of public services including healthcare system

We believe that everyone has the right to health service such as prevention, treatment and rehabilitation based on one's needs. Commercialization of health service and privatization of public health facilities restrict people's access to proper health care. Approving profit hospitals and private health insurance system undermines the national healthcare system which has been mandatory in Korea. We oppose the KORUS FTA as it undermines the healthcare system as public goods.

2. TRIPS plus provisions seriously restrict people's access to medicine

Every nation is responsible to ensure its people to access medicine at affordable price. FTAs seriously block people's access to medicine by forcing various measures to strengthen patent and intellectual property protections on medicine. For instance, linkage between patent and drug approval, patent term extension for examination delay, exclusive right on drug approval data, expanding patentable subject matter, limiting the circumstances under which compulsory license may be issued, and prohibiting parallel import would restrict the entry of generic competitors and undermine the ability to access to medicine at affordable price. We are also concerned of other measures such as A-7 average price for innovative drug used to raise the drug price and serve to benefit patent owners. We demand that any measures that restrict compulsory licensing and parallel import against the spirit of Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement and Public Health should be stopped.

3. FTA threatens the safety of food and water

We believe that water is a common resource that everyone has the right to get access. Also, safety should be the priority concern in food trading. We worry that the decision to restart import of beef that is not safe from mad cow disease is made by Korean government simply because beef was considered as a barrier to FTA talk. It should have been based on medical and epidemiologic evidence provided by independent party. The agreements on SPS(Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) & TBT(Technical Barriers to Trade) should not be used as measures to promote export against people's health. Thus we oppose KORUS FTA that privatize water; reach agreements on SPS & TBT that threatens health; and decide import of beef on political basis.

4. The investor-to-government claim system can infringe on government's duty and right to protect public goods.

We have witnessed many cases that investor-to-government claim system seriously infringes on people's right to health, safe environment, and public security system. Under NAFTA, Ethyl and UPS claims against government showed that public health policy could be ruined for the profit of corporations. We also know the case that the attempt of New Brunswick state government to introduce a policy to improve public health system was set back by an investor's claim. Therefore we oppose the KORUS FTA that contains provisions of investor-to-government claim system.

Any international agreement, bilateral and regional trade agreements should not contain provisions that adversely affect people's health status. We conclude that KORUS FTA would infringe on people's health right. Also we conclude that it will be a barrier to the global movement to enforce people's health right. Thus, we oppose KORUS FTA, and ask individuals and organizations all over the world to join our action.

22 June, 2006

건강권실현을위한보건의료단체연합 (Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Right)
건강사회를위한약사회 (Korean Pharmacists For Democratic Society)
건강사회를위한치과의사회 (Korea Dentists Association for Health Society)
건강세상네트워크 (Health Right Network)
공공의약센터 (Public Pharmaceutical Center)
공익제보자와 함께 하는 모임
기독청년의료인회 (Christian Medical Association for People Health)
노동건강연대 (Solidarity for Worker's Health)
다산인권센터 (Dasan Human Rights Center)
문화연대 (Cultural Action)
미디액트 (MEDIACT)
민주사회를위한변호사모임 (MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society)
언론개혁기독교연대 (Christian Coalition for Media Reform)
원불교인권위원회 (Won Buddhism Committee for Human Rights)
의료소비자시민연대 (Consolidation for Medical consumer)
이윤보다 인간을 (People before Profit)
인도주의실천의사협의회 (Association of Physicians for Humanism)
전국농민회총연맹 (Korean Advanced Farmers Federation)
전국병원노동조합협의회 (Korea Hospital Union Association)
전국보건의료산업노동조합 (Korea Health and Medical Workers Union)
전국사회보험노동조합 (Korea Social Insurance trade Union)
정보공유연대 IPLeft (Intellectual Property Left 'IPLeft')
진보네트워크센터 (Korean Progressive Network 'Jinbonet')
참의료실현청년한의사회 (Association of Korea Doctors for Health Rights)
평화인권연대 (Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights)
한국노동네트워크 (The Council of Labornet in South Korea)
한국HIV/AIDS감염인연대 KANOS (KANOS, Korea HIV/AIDS Network of Solidarity)
함께하는시민행동 (Citizens’ Action Network)
HIV/AIDS인권모임 나누리+ (Nanuri+HIV/AIDS Human Rights Advocacy Group of Korea)

<US and other countries>
ACT UP-Paris
ACT UP East Bay
Agua Buena Human Rights Association, Costa Rica
AIDS ACCESS Foundation , Thailand
Aids Budget Unit-IDASA
AIDS Policy Project
Alternative Law Forum, India
Asian Americans United
Association for the Sovereignty of Colmombia
Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), USA
Communicy HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)
Essential Action (US)
Essential Drugs Project (UK)
Foundation for Media Alternatives
Frederick Noronha, Co-Founder, BytesForAll
Gestos- Soropositivity Communication & Gender (Brazil)
Glivec Concern Group from Hong Kong
Global AIDS Alliance
Global Alternate Information Applications (GAIA), India
Global Justice
Health Global Access Project (GAP) (US)
Housing Works, Inc. (US)
Lucia Victor Jayaseelan, Coordinating Officer , Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
Michel Bauwens, Foundation for P2P Alternatives
Middle East Children Alliance
Metropolitan Community Church of New York
Neighbors Against McPenntrification
Patients not Patents (US)
People's Health Movement US
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)
Thai Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS(TNP+)
The Educational Network for Global and Grassroots Exchange(ENGAGE)
The Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FAIR)
The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW)
The Student Global AIDS Campaign
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
Uganda Treatment Access movement
VOICE, Bangladesh

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