We must learn from Canada’s mistakes and reject TPP, says new report

October 25, 2016: Australia could be hit with an ever-increasing number of multimillion dollar legal claims from foreign corporations if the TPP is ratified, a new report has warned.

The report, researched by Dr Kyla Tienhaara (ANU) and commissioned by GetUp, warns that the Australian Senate should look at Canada’s experience before considering the TPP implementing legislation.

Under NAFTA, Canada has faced 39 separate ISDS cases, all from US corporations and investors. If the TPP comes into force, it will open Australian governments to being sued from US-based corporations for the first time.

The report notes the clear global trend of increased frequency of ISDS cases brought by multinational corporations and that governments lose or settle cases much more often than they win them.

The report warns:

“The similarities between Canada and Australia in terms of the regulatory environment suggest that Australia is likely to face the same kind of disputes [under the TPP] as Canada has [under Nafta] – that is, disputes over regulatory issues rather than direct expropriations or other interferences in the operation of an investment.”

GetUp’s economic fairness campaigns director Natalie O’Brien told The Guardian:

“Multinationals based in the USA and Canada are the most litigious in the world by an enormous margin – the Trans-Pacific Partnership would leave Australia exposed to both.

“Perhaps the most terrifying finding is the evidence of ‘regulatory chill’, where governments back away from critical health or environmental regulations because of the threat of ISDS.”

Read the media coverage in The Guardian here and the report here.

Dr Kyla Tienhaara is the guest speaker at AFTINET’s AGM on November 9. Details here.