Even the Productivity Commission slams Australian trade policy, Crikey reports

August 23, 2017: Bernard Keane in Crikey has summarised a recent Productivity Commission report that strongly criticises the Australian government’s approach to free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The report condemned Australia’s refusal to independently evaluate the supposed benefits of the TPP, its willingness to include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), and the secret nature of the negotiations. They made three main recommendations:

  • Independent evaluation of benefits and costs of an agreement, and only proceeding with trade agreements that have genuine net benefits
  • Improving consultation by engaging with critical parties, not just those with vested interests, and publishing the text of agreements before they are signed
  • Admitting that trade agreements have negative effects like unemployment and developing government policies to mitigate these

AFTINET has long campaigned for fair trade policies. Now even strong free trade advocates like the Productivity Commission acknowledge there are serious issues with Australia’s trade policy.