Public forum on CPTPP: speakers say women will lose from more corporate rights, less democratic regulation

Media release, 8 March 2018: Today in Chile on International Women’s Day, Australia and 10 other countries will sign a revised version of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, rebranded as the 'Comprehensive Progressive' TPP (CPTPP).

But women’s groups around the world have condemned the deal, arguing it will reinforce gender inequality. The CPTPP gives special rights to foreign investors to sue governments, entrenches stronger monopolies on medicines, restricts the regulation of essential services and will lead to increased numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers. 

The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) and ActionAid Australia are hosting a public forum to discuss the impact that the CPTPP will have on women across the globe at the Jubilee Room, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St Sydney, at 12.30pm – 2pm, Friday March 9, 2018.

AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said:

“Some of the worst clauses of the CPTPP have been temporarily suspended pending the US re-joining the agreement. But the final version of the deal still increases corporate rights to bypass national courts and sue governments in international tribunals, and still treats regulation of essential services like a tariff, to be frozen and reduced over time rather than enabling responses to community needs. This can discourage governments from regulating in key areas that affect women’s lives like access to affordable medicines and affirmative action in the workplace.”

ActionAid Australia Executive Director Michelle Higelin said:

“In low income countries, CPTPP will put pressure on sectors like the garment industry that are dominated by women, meaning that women could face lower wages and an erosion of their rights at work. The deal could also drive the privatisation of services, like healthcare and education, that are essential for achieving gender equality. And it will also give multinational corporations powers to sue Governments, making it harder for women to claim their rights.”

Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association Executive Officer Jane Brock said:

“The CPTPP will increase the numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers in Australia without testing if local workers are available. These temporary workers have no bargaining power because they are tied to one employer and can be deported if they lose the job. Temporary women workers are often underpaid, work long hours and suffer sexual harassment. The government needs to increase effective and enforceable rights for these workers instead of treating them as bargaining chips in trade deals.”

Media contacts:

AFTINET – Dr Patricia Ranald, 0419 695 841

ActionAid Australia – Holly Miller, 0432 781 294

Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association – Jane Brock, 0410 453 459