Join AFTINETIs the RCEP the TPP by another name

Senate Report slams secretive trade agreement process, supports conditional release of texts

AFTINET Media Release June 26, 2015

“The analysis of the Report of the Senate Inquiry into the Australian trade agreement process released today reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of submissions criticizing the current secret and undemocratic process and calling for the text of trade agreements to be released for public and parliamentary scrutiny before they are signed.But unfortunately the Report’s actual recommendations, while improving on the current process, fall short of full transparency,”  said Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET)

Trade agreement benefits unproven and ISDS dangerous, says Productivity Commission

24th June 2015:Peter Martin reports in the  Sydney Morning Herald that The Productivity Commission has launched a scathing attack on Australia's latest series of free trade agreements, saying they grant legal rights to foreign investors not available to Australians, expose the government to potentially large unfunded liabilities and add extra costs on businesses attempting to comply with them.

The Productivity Commission is a statutory body which does research on economic policy and is generally in favour of free trade.

Leaks about the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership suggested it will "include obligations on pharmaceutical price determination arrangements in Australia and other TPP members of an uncertain character and intent... The history of intellectual property arrangements being addressed in preferential trade deals is not good." 

US TPP Fast Track Bill may pass as UN Human Rights experts slam TPP

Media Release June 24, 2015

US Senate paves the way for TPP Fast Track as UN Human Rights experts demand release of TPP text and human rights impact study

“A procedural vote in the U.S. Senate has paved the way for the TPP Fast Track Bill to be passed through the Congress this week. This means the U.S. Congress will not be able to amend the text of the TPP. A date is then likely be set for the long delayed meeting of TPP Trade Ministers to resume their secret negotiations to try to finalise the deal,” Dr Patricia Ranald Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) said today.

“But community opposition to the TPP in many countries has been reinforced by a call from 10 United Nations Human Rights Rapporteurs for a halt to further TPP negotiations and release of the full text so that proper human rights impact assessments can be done. They say the TPP could have detrimental effects on human rights to health, clean environment, improved labour standards and an independent judiciary".

TPP Fast Track Bill back to US Senate: uncertain outcome, negotiations on hold

Media Release June 19, 2015

“After various procedural manoeuvres, part of the Fast Track bill package was narrowly passed overnight in the US House of Representatives, and has now gone back to the Senate. But the part of the package which supports workers who lose their jobs through trade agreements has been dropped from the Bill, which makes it less likely to succeed in the Senate,” Dr Patricia Ranald Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) said today.

Community opposition defeats TPP Fast Track Bill in US Congress

Media Release June 13, 2015

“Despite procedural manoeuvres, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Fast Track Bill was defeated in the US House of Representatives overnight. This was a victory for the US community campaign against the secrecy of the TPP process and provisions of the TPP which threaten jobs, medicine prices, food safety and Internet freedom and would expose health and environmental protections to challenges from foreign investors, and lack meaningful and enforceable labour rights and environmental protections,” Dr Patricia Ranald Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) said today.

AMA, health experts say Big Pharma could sue government over PBS

June 12, 2015: In more reactions to the leaked Trans-Pacific Partnership's (TPP) annex on pharmaceuticals,  The Guardian quotes Australian Medical Association's Dr Brian Owler's concern that  foreign investor rights to sue governments, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will apply to government regulation of  medicine prices through the PBS. “We are worried about the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism..The problem is our concerns have been dismissed by the trade minister ”

Dr Deborah Gleeson writing in the Drum said that pharmaceutical companies will be able to sue governments directly over their pharmaceutical policies in international tribunals using the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) - and the terms of the annex may bolster their claims.

TPP leak reveals Big Pharma controls on PBS

June 11 2015: The leaked Healthare Transparency Annex of the Trans-Pacifc Partnership (TPP) caters to the interests of the pharmaceutical industry by placing limits on the operation of  schemes like the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which make medicines more affordable in Australia and other TPP countries, says public health expert Dr Deborah Gleeson, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax media today. . The controls include  more avenues for pharmaceutical company influence and greater opportunities for them to contest  government decision-making, setting a terrible precedent for using regional trade deals to tamper with other countries' health systems, says Dr Gleeson. Read her extended analysis here

AFTINET ABC Radio interview: foreign investors could sue over food labelling

June 10, 2015:The Federal Government is investigating how country of origin labels on food can prevent the type of health scare caused by the Hepatitis A outbreak earlier this year, which was blamed on frozen berries from China.But the Government is facing the risk of being sued by foreign companies if these new labelling laws aren't brought in before two major trade deals come into effect.

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