20 July 2016
US Vice President Joe Biden was in Australia this week talking up the TPP, despite the deal being unlikely to make it through the US Congress. At the same time, Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was in the US, trying to shore up support for the deal there.
AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald told the media “The TPP is so unpopular in the US that Australian Ministers are being recruited to lobby for it there, while US officials are talking it up here, urging the Australian Parliament to pass it before the US does."
18 July 2016
India is seeking to terminate 57 bilateral investment treaties (BITs) after the country introduced a new model at the end of last year.
Turnbull government claims about jobs from ‘export’ trade agreements have been dealt a blow by the election results, which have returned record numbers of third parties and independents, most of whom are sceptics about secretive trade deals which expand corporate power and limit national government ability to regulate in the public interest. This will expand critical debate and campaigns as the Government pushes its trade agenda.
We have summarised the progress and major issues of seven current trade deals here.
15 July 2016
14 July 2016
US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell says the TPP legislation will not pass Congress this year and that the new President should deal with it in 2017. He said that the presidential campaign had made it virtually impossible to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the “lame duck” session after the November elections. Read the full article.
July 7, 2016: Peter Martin, The Age economics editor argues the "export agreements" with Japan, Korea and China promoted by the Coalition before the election should really be called import agreements which will not deliver jobs and growth.
6 July 2016
“One thing that is certain after Saturday’s election, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead, and along with it the Coalition’s economic agenda and narrative,” writes The Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss in New Matilda.
He predicts that the new cross-bench Senators, including Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson will oppose the TPP and other free trade deals because they cost Australian manufacturing workers jobs. Read his piece here.
If the Coalition does form Government, the votes of these Senators will be needed to pass legislation when Labor and the Greens are opposed. We know that the Greens and most other cross-benchers will vote against the TPP implementing legislation. The TPP also contradicts Labor policy, but they have not yet made a decision about the TPP legislation.
Denniss is optimistic that it’s unlikely that Labor will “pivot to the right” on economic management after Shorten’s shock success. He argues:
“So while in theory the ALP could offer the Coalition a lifeline for the ratification of its trade deals, the reality is that such a display of bipartisan contempt for the public’s hostility to trickle-down trade policies would be of even greater benefit to the new cross benchers than Turnbull’s decision to both change the Senate voting rules and call a DD.”
AFTINET has shown TPP’s many downsides for workers’ rights, public health and democracy. But we can’t be complacent, and need to keep up pressure for Labor to vote against the TPP’s implementing legislation.
July 11, 2016:
Although counting continues,the Liberal-National Coalition has now won the most seats in the House of Representatives, and will be able to form government with a majority of one or with support from two conservative independents.The government will have less seats than before In the Senate and most of the increased numbers in minor parties (Greens, Xenophon and Lambie) and independents in the Senate are opposed to the TPP.
30 June 2016
Writing for the New York Times, prominent US democrat Bernie Sanders makes the case for his party to commit to reject the TPP in the post-election "lame duck period" and beyond.
In the wake of Brexit, he writes, "We need to fundamentally reject our “free trade” policies and move to fair trade. Americans should not have to compete against workers in low-wage countries who earn pennies an hour. We must defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership. We must help poor countries develop sustainable economic models."