18 January, 2023: AFTINET has made a submission to the JSCOT review of the amended ASEAN Australia-New Zealand-Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). The amended agreement still contains Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions which are being used by Australian businessman Clive Palmer to sue the Australian government for over $340 billion.
ASEAN - Australia - NZ FTA
6 December, 2023: On November 30 the government referred the amended ASEAN Australia-NZ- Free Trade Agreement for review to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). This is the agreement containing ISDS provisions which are being used by Clive Palmer to sue the Australian government for over $340 billion. The government has a policy to review and remove ISDS provisions in existing agreements. Palmer's cases will proceed but there is some urgency or action to prevent similar cases from Australian or overseas investors.
April 4, 2023: Clive Palmer is claiming $300 billion in an international tribunal to compensate for legislation passed by the Western Australian Parliament to remove his ability to extract damages from the state regarding the Balmoral South Iron Ore Project in the Pilbara. His claim has already failed in the High Court.
February 6, 2022: This revision of the ASEAN agreement (AANZFTA) was begun under the Morrison coalition government and Labor Trade Minister Farrell announced on November 14 that in-principle agreement has been reached on most issues. The text will not be released until after it is finalised. The RCEP and CPTPP texts are being used as models. The provisions on corporate rights to sue governments (Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS) arrangements are still being reviewed.
The negotiations between ASEAN, New Zealand, and Australia for a Free Trade Agreement concluded at the ASEAN Economics Ministers Meeting on Closer Economic Relations in August 2008. The agreement was signed at the East Asia Summit in February 2009.
ASEAN is comprised of Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Singapore, the Phillipines, Brunei, Laos, and Vietnam.
The inclusion of Burma in the agreement amplifies AFTINET's concerns about the need to ensure that our trading practices strengthen human rights commitments, not undermine them.