TPP going too far for marginal economic gains says Tim Harcourt

August 2, 2016

UNSW economist Dr Tim Harcourt, former chief economist of the Australian Trade Commission, told The New Daily that, in some ways, the TPP is an example of free trade "going too far".

He gave the example of its protections for cross-border investment and the right for multi-national companies to sue governments in courts of arbitration if they enacted legislation that hurts their commercial interests - such as Australia's plain packaged tobacco.

Dr Harcourt noted the arguments of some opponents that trade deals like the TPP fail to account for labour rights and the environment. And he said that while Australian consumers might miss out on a "very gradual" decrease in prices of overseas imports, this benefit would probably only have affected them "right at the margin".

"In some ways, perhaps re-evaluating some of these international agreements to make them more pro-jobs and pro-environment wouldn't be a bad thing."

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