While Trade minister David Parker thinks the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is "a fair deal", the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development says its "outraged that governments have decided to not only proceed with the CPTPP despite all its criticism and fundamental lack of public review, but to sign away women’s human rights on the same day that we celebrate it."
THERE IS A BITTER IRONY in the fact that the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was signed by the representatives of eleven governments on March 8th - International Women's Day.
While International Women's Day, which has its origins in the socialist tradition, celebrates the struggles of the woman's movement, both past and present, the CPTPP is neither progressive or feminist.
The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) has condemned the agreement:
"The CPTPP, just like its predecessor the TPP, will drive a race to the bottom, with women at the bottom. It will promote labour competition and women’s low wages as a source of competitive advantage for corporations. It will threaten women’s access to public services through the reduction of tariffs that deprives governments of important revenue, the requirement that foreign corporations should be able to compete for public services, and the existence of investor protection mechanisms that discourage governments from reversing failed privatisation to introducing new regulations to increase public access or benefits to essential, basic public services"
The APWLD represents over two hundred women's organisations and groups in the Asia Pacific region. It has been active for over 30 years.
The APWLD says that it is "outraged that governments have decided to not only proceed with the CPTPP despite all its criticism and fundamental lack of public, citizen’s review, but to sign away women’s human rights on the same day that we celebrate it.'
New Zealand Trade minister David Parker has described the CPTPP as "a fair deal" but the APWLD says that " It is a breach to the very fundamental principle of social contract that sovereignty comes from the people. "
"So many of the governments which are part of the CPTPP have talked the rhetoric of women’s human rights and gender equality, and some of them still do. The preambular mention of gender equality in the CPTPP was another such rhetoric meant to disguise the glaring absence of even a symbolic and ineffectual gender chapter and the unabashed entrenchment of corporate power and privilege. If countries in the CPTPP are genuinely committed to women’s human rights and gender equality they must not proceed with the CPTPP."
The full statement form the APWLD can be read here.