1 June 2016
NGO Walk Free has released its latest annual survey measuring slavery across the world and it has found that more than 45.8 million people live in slavery, including 4,300 people in Australia who are estimated to be in modern slavery.
Despite promises to tackle this human tragedy, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement does not ban products of child or forced labour, but only says that governments should ‘discourage’ it.
*** UPDATE ***
If you are not in Sydney, we will also be organising a live broadcast of the forum via our Twitter account. Just log in to twitter and follow @AFTINET to view and join the conversation, from 12.30pm on Tuesday.
May 31: As trade agreements like the TPP and RCEP seek to expand trade without fully enforceable workers' rights, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that global retailers like H&M have failed to implement promised improvements in workers rights and conditions in their factories in developing countries.
30 May 2016
Former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Jomo Kwame Sundaram writes that recent TPP studies ‘greatly overstate benefits from the TPP’ and that even so the claimed gains are small.
He also writes that the TPP ‘will significantly constrain the policy space needed for governments to accelerate economic development and to protect the public interest.’
Media Release, May 26, 2016: Wikileaks has released the most updated draft texts on the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)[i]on three new annexes: State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs); Professional Services, and New Provisions Applicable to All Services.
The TISA is currently being negotiated among 50 mostly industrialised and service-exporting countries including Australia, the US, 23 EU countries, Japan and Korea.
26 May 2016
Michael Brune, Executive Director of The Sierra Club writes that the TPP is deeply flawed and would be bad for the environment, bad for workers, bad for human rights, and bad for public health.
But as he points out, "increasing international trade doesn’t actually require that we sacrifice our environment, health, jobs, or human rights. To be clear, the reasons why these so-called trade agreements are so dangerous has little to do with trade. They’re terrible because the powerful corporate insiders who do the negotiating (in secret, of course) pack them with provisions that protect and empower giant, multinational corporations — including some of the biggest polluters on the planet."
May 25, 2016: “Reports of Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey’s desperate attempts to lobby the U.S. Congress to support the TPP beg the question of why the Australian government should be supporting it,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today.“US bipartisan opposition to the TPP is now so strong that the US is now getting other governments to lobby its own Congress. There is something wrong with this picture.”
May 25, 2016
Dr Patricia Ranald explains that US bipartisan opposition to the TPP is now so strong that it will not be considered by the U.S. Congress this year, and argues that its proposals for stronger medicine monopolies and foreign investor rights to sue governments should be debated in the Australian election campaign. Read the full article here.
21 May 2016
Kyla Tienhaara (ANU) and Belinda Townsend (Deakin University) write that it is India, rather than China, that has been the most outspoken in opposing US-style trade rules in the RCEP.