Peruvian consumer group voices concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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40 Crisólogo CáceresThe consumer movement in Peru has voiced concern that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could threaten the rights of the most vulnerable members of society.

The proposed agreement, which is undergoing a 17th round of negotiations  in Lima until 24 May, would require signatory countries to forego a range of consumer protection measures, according to spokesman Crisólogo Cáceres from Peruvian consumer group ASPEC.

Mr Cáceres highlighted proposals relating to food, that he said would limit the government from tightening up product labelling laws to require the disclosure of the amounts of each ingredient, and could prevent countries from imposing tough labelling laws for genetically-modified imports.

Other proposals would substantially increase the price of pharmaceuticals, and limit the regulation of risky financial products and services, he said.  Governments could also be threatened with lawsuits for introducing new health, environmental or consumer protection regulations that impacted on a company's profitability, Mr Cáceres claimed.

"We want to make sure that the negotiators are fully aware of these dangers," Cáceres said in Lima today, "but we can't get into the negotiation room to have our say.  The discussions are closed to the public, and they won't even show us the text that they are discussing.  What kind of democracy is this?"

ASPEC, which also represented the global federation Consumers International for this round of the TPP negotiations, was joined by NGOs from around the world in Lima raising similar concerns about how the agreement protects the interests of large corporations at the expense of consumers and citizens.

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