Critical voices as VP Biden pitches TPP in Australia
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."
In an interview with The Wire, Dr Ranald highlighted the negative health, economic and environmental impacts of the deal and says the TPP should have been a major election issue in Australia.
"Candidates like Nick Xenophon raised it a lot, and there was also debate about it in the Brexit reporting, where there was a lot of editorialising about the fact that there is increasing scepticism about the benefits of trade agreements and increasing community opposition, particularly for trade agreements which are done in secret, as the TPP was…”
Dr Ranald said that economic, environmental and health costs were too high. “What Australia should be doing is not rushing to pass the implementing legislation… we’re calling for there to be a senate inquiry, and in fact the election result, which elected a large number of independents and minor parties like Nick Xenophon Team which are opposed to the TPP mean that there is a chance the TPP won’t pass."
TPP critic Matthew Rimmer from the University of Technology Queensland was also interviewed. He says people from the US are disillusioned with the TPP because Obama’s words don’t match to his actions.
“Obama and Biden have promoted international climate action through the Paris agreement, however many climate activists are very concerned the the TPP will boost the corporate rights of fossil fuel companies, and restrict and retard climate action,” says Dr Rimmer.