What’s more, said Gosselin, the United States “has negotiators pressing the region’s developing countries to sign onto a schedule for adopting the stronger rules, reversing previous exemptions to allow them easier access to cheap medicines.”

Obama is reportedly meeting opposition from countries involved in the negotiations. Meanwhile, global civil society and social movement groups have staged their strong opposition to the deal with protests, open letters, and organizing. However, resistance would likely be even greater if the contents of the talks were shared with the global public.

Under negotiation since at least 2008, the deal is poised to be the largest corporate agreement in history yet has been negotiated in extreme secrecy, with almost all of what’s publicly known about the deal revealed through leaks. It includes the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries—Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam—which together account for 40 percent of the world’s GDP.

The information that is publicly available is bleak. In a recent video, humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres put it bluntly: “As it stands today, the TPP is slated to become the most harmful trade agreement ever for access to medicines.”

As Common Dreams previously reported, the TPP would be a huge boon for pharmaceutical corporations while posing a threat to public health on a global scale. The deal also makes domestic health programs vulnerable, including Medicare. The watchdog group Public Citizen recently warned: “Pharmaceutical companies could attempt to exploit the general language of the annex to mount challenges to Medicare and health programs in many TPP negotiating countries.”

Concerns with the deal extend far beyond access to medicines, however, with civil society groups sounding the alarm about the deal’s implications for democracy, the environment, and corporate power. Among its many provisions, the agreement includes an “investor-state dispute settlement” system (ISDS)—which creates secret tribunals that allow multinationals to sue governments for loss of “expected future profit.”

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