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TPP critics oppose monopolies and increased corporate rights, not trade itself

11 August 2016

Donald Trump, like Pauline Hanson in Australia, combines anti-immigration rhetoric with disillusionment with previous trade deals which have not delivered on exaggerated promises of jobs and growth. But it is too easy to dismiss all Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement critics as protectionist or anti-trade, writes Dr Patricia Ranald for Fairfax media today. Read the full article here.

PNG 'not interested' in PACER Plus trade with Australia

8 August 2016

Papua New Guinea's Trade Minister Richard Maru has told new Australian Assistant Minister for Trade Keith Pitt that PNG would not participate in the PACER-Plus deal, according to ABC news reports.

"I know the Australian Government has been actively pushing the PACER-Plus policy within the region,” Mr Maru said. “I've made it clear that PNG is not interested and that I have directed all my officers not to entertain any negotiations."

Call for bans on dangerous asbestos imports linked to trade agreements

August 5, 2016: The discovery of deadly asbestos from imported materials used in a new Perth hospital has sparked a debate about inspection of increased numbers of imports resulting from the China FTA, already in force, and the proposed Indian FTA.

But rather than cracking down on dangerous imports of asbestos products immigration Minister Peter Dutton has launched an extraordinary attack on the construction union,, blaming the union for "driving Australian companies to ‘cut corners’ by importing cheap Chinese materials that may contain deadly asbestos,” according to a report in The Australian. 

95 Asia-Pacific organisations band together against ISDS

4 August 2016

An unprecedented alliance of 95 civil society organisations from the Asia-Pacific today urged trade ministers not to include investor rights to sue governments in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, currently being negotiated in Laos.

AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said “ISDS has been a major driver of community opposition to the TPP between the US, Australia and 10 Pacific rim countries, and will generate the same strong opposition to the RCEP."

TPP going too far for marginal economic gains says Tim Harcourt

August 2, 2016

UNSW economist Dr Tim Harcourt, former chief economist of the Australian Trade Commission, told The New Daily that, in some ways, the TPP is an example of free trade "going too far".

He gave the example of its protections for cross-border investment and the right for multi-national companies to sue governments in courts of arbitration if they enacted legislation that hurts their commercial interests - such as Australia's plain packaged tobacco.

Rally at OceanaGold Melbourne office: Fri 29 July

 Many AFTINET supporters will know that Australian mining company OceanaGold is using ISDS provisions in a trade agreement to sue El Salvador for over $300 million because it will not issue a mining permit in an area crucial to the water security of the densely populated country. You can read more about the Water Not Gold campaign here.

For three years Melbourne activists have protested outside OceanaGold’s offices every month, and a decision on the case is due to be handed down in August so the time is critical to send a message of solidarity.

Support the people of El Salvador in their fight for justice against corporate greed and come this Friday at 12pm outside OceanaGold's office at 357 Collins Street, Melbourne.

Privatisation creates unregulated monopolies: ACCC chairman

28 July 2016

Privatisation, deregulation and unbounded trade liberalisation are key pillars of the neoliberal economic agenda. This agenda is increasingly being questioned on both sides of politics. So-called FTAs regularly include competition, investment and procurement chapters which push for privatisation.

Most recently, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims - a longtime proponent of privatisation - is now saying "stop the privatisation". Read the full article here.

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