Peru FTA is first test of Labor’s new trade policy and should not be ratified says AFTINET

Media Release 8 November 2018: “AFTINET welcomes the Labor Opposition initiative to revisit the Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement (PAFTA) because it includes foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) which the Shadow Trade Minister has pledged to oppose in all trade agreements,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Dr Ranald explained that this pledge arose out of the fierce debate on Labor’s support for the TPP-11, which contains ISDS and other clauses contrary to Labor policy and which Labor has now pledged to ban in foreshadowed legislation. Labor has initiated this second review of PAFTA by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), on which the government has a majority and which previously approved the agreement. However the deal has not yet been ratified, and the committee could recommend against ratification.

Dr Ranald is giving evidence at the JSCOT public hearing in Melbourne today.

Dr Ranald said:

 “AFTINET’s submission  to the JSCOT makes three main points:

  • PAFTA is unnecessary because Peru is a member of the TPP-11, and a second trade deal with the same country would add to the confusing noodle bowl of overlapping bilateral and regional agreements;
  • PAFTA’s inclusion of ISDS is unacceptable because ISDS enables global corporations to bypass national courts and sue governments for millions of dollars in unfair international tribunals over health, environment, indigenous rights and other public interest regulation;
  • The government has not commissioned an independent evaluation of the costs and benefits of PAFTA to the economy as a whole, and without such evidence the agreement should not be ratified.”

“We call on all members of the committee to reject ratification of PAFTA.”

Contact Dr Patricia Ranald on 0419 695 841