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Oxfam criticizes Deathstar Deal as "too costly for poor people"

Oxfam America put out this release calling the Deathstar Deal "too costly."

EVEN WITH CHANGES, PERU TRADE AGREEMENT TOO COSTLY FOR POOR PEOPLE

International agency Oxfam America warned that even as amended today, the bilateral trade agreement
between the US and Peru will institutionalize an uneven playing field between the trading partners instead of establishing fair and equitable rules for trade that could promote development and reduce poverty. Although significant progress has been made in the text on intellectual property rules that have important consequences on the access of poor people to medicines, the trade deal still contains provisions that will undermine development, according to the organization.

“Trade can contribute to economic growth that leads to the reduction of poverty in developing countries
when trade rules are aligned with development and poverty-reduction goals, and we’ve seen some
movement towards this today on access to medicines,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “But we’re still a ways off from a trade policy with development at its core that can benefit not only the poor, but also our country’s economy, long-term security and prosperity.”

Oxfam welcomed the significant achievement by Congressional leaders to reduce the onerous
requirements for intellectual property protections for pharmaceuticals in the deal reached on free trade
agreements, as it will make a real difference in preserving access to affordable medicines, a critical need for the poor.

“We congratulate Representatives Rangel and Levin, for placing public health over private profits and
recognizing that developing countries need more flexibility to ensure their populations access to
affordable medicines,” continued Offenheiser. “But more is needed and we hope the Congressional
leadership will continue to work to turn back the Bush Administration’s policy of imposing stricter
intellectual property rules on poor countries.”

Oxfam noted that the Peru free trade agreement (FTA) still fails to address the unfair agricultural polices. For developing countries with large portions of their populations depending on agriculture for their livelihoods, free trade agreements provide no effective safeguard to protect poor farmers from unfair competition from their well-subsidized trading partners, according to Oxfam.

“Without meaningful reform of our trade and agriculture policies, these trade deals will continue to
entrench an unfair system in which the US provides massive domestic agricultural supports that allow
products to be exported below their cost of production, while our trading partners are left with no means
of protection,” said Offenheiser. “Much more is needed in pursuing a new trade policy for America, one
that would further sustainable development and poverty reduction.”

Oxfam was also encouraged by some of the progress made with regard to labor and environment in the
deal on FTAs, but showed concern over investment rules in the FTAs that will hinder local and national
governments from directing foreign investment so that it contributes to sustainable development.
Congress is expected to vote on the Peru trade agreement over the next couple of months.

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