April 3, 2018: The European Court of Justice ruled in March that Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) between two EU member states, which allows corporations to sue governments for damages over changes in domestic law, has an adverse effect on the autonomy of EU law, and is therefore incompatible with EU law.
March 29. 2018: Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, today welcomed the Senate decision yesterday for an inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade to assess whether the rebadged Comprehensive Progressive TPP-11 is in the public interest, before Parliament considers the implementing legislation.
“Achieving a Senate inquiry is a victory in our campaign for more transparency and accountability in the trade agreement process,” said Dr Ranald.
March 26, 2018: Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network. called today for a Senate Inquiry to assess whether the rebadged Comprehensive Progressive TPP is in the public interest, before Parliament considers the implementing legislation.
March 26, 2018: US trade policy has become more dangerously unilateral and contradictory.
US President Trump threatened on March 23 to impose tariffs on US$60 billion of Chinese exports to the US after a “consultation” period. This is also linked to US strategic and military competition with China. China has threatened to retaliate with its own tariffs on US goods, resulting in a trade war and economic instability. Global stock markets plunged in response to the news.
March 23, 2018: An international investment tribunal has compensated a mining company that ignored Indigenous land rights in a case heard under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement.
March 22, 2018: In her speech to the National Press Club yesterday, ACTU secretary Sally McManus argued that unfair trade agreements like the CPTPP were contributing to casualisation and underpayment of wages, and that major changes were needed to the industrial relations system.
She said "these trade agreements are not free, they are a complex set of rules negotiated by governments, pushed by big corporations."
March 20, 2018: Indonesia has initiated a WTO dispute alleging that Australia’s anti-dumping tariffs on Indonesian A4 copy paper break WTO rules, which allow anti-dumping measures if exports are priced below their real costs of production. This may delay the conclusion of the Indonesia-Australia FTA.
March 19, 2018: Jim Stanford from the Australia Institute writes in The Guardian that Trump’s unilateral and xenophobic approach to trade policy is dangerous and could lead to trade conflict. He argues we need an alternative to both Trump’s unilateralism and to corporate-dominated trade deals like the TPP.
15 March, 2018: On International Women’s Day AFTINET and ActionAid Australia hosted a successful forum on the impact that the TPP would have on women across the globe. The forum was moderated by Jill Biddington from APHEDA- Union Aid Abroad and Dr Patricia Ranald (AFTINET), Michelle Higelin (ActionAid Australia) and Jane Brock (Immigrant Women’s Speakout Association) all gave short presentations. A video recording of the full forum has been posted here, thanks to ActionAid Australia.
14 March 2018: The Australian government has appealed a directive from the Australian Information Commissioner to release the total legal costs in the Philip Morris tobacco plain packaging ISDS case. Although Australia won the case, it took over four years and Australia reportedly spent $50 million in legal costs. As we have previously reported, both the proportion and the total costs were blacked out of the final decision in that case, and the government has refused to release the details.