Join AFTINETIs the RCEP the TPP by another name

Like the TPP, RCEP is on track to become a very bad deal for medicines: MSF

15 June 2016: As negotiators meet in New Zealand this week for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says the agreement threatens access to affordable medicines for half the world’s population and appeals for the removal of harmful intellectual property provisions that could potentially raise treatment costs by creating new forms of monopolies and delaying the entry of affordable generics in the market.

Former UN official says claimed TPP benefits ’bogus’

June 15, 2016: Former UN official Professor Jomo Kwame Sunderarm told ABC Radio National that the claimed economic benefits from the TPP were based on studies which ignored employment effects and other costs including the cost of increased medicine monopolies and the cost of foreign investor rights to sue governments.  

He also spoke at a successful public forum in Sydney on Tuesday, hosted by AFTINET. You can read Professor Sunderarm's opinion piece below.

Xenophon: trade policy must change to support jobs and diverse economy

June 9, 2016: Senator Nick Xenophon writes in the Australian Financial Review that Australia's free trade agreements with the US, Japan, Korea and China have been badly negotiated and lopsided.  While those countries have kept the right to have local content in government procurement and other industry policies, Australia has traded these away. He argues for a  more balanced and strategic trade policy to support local employment.

Read the full article here.

Coalition secret talks to add ISDS to Japan FTA

June 8, 2016: The Japan-Australia FTA had no provisions for ISDS, but there was a clause that would trigger negotiations for ISDS if Australia made another agreement containing ISDSThe Guardian reports that the China-Australia  FTA has triggered secret talks to add ISDS to the Japan FTA. These have now been interrupted by the early election, but if the Coalition government wins they expect to complete the talks after the election, with the result only made public after the event. ALP policy opposes ISDS and pledges to review ISDS in existing agreements. 

ALP trade policy welcome, but will it vote against the TPP?

June 7, Media Release: “The ALP trade policy released yesterday shows welcome responses to community concerns about secrecy, investor rights to sue governments and temporary workers, but will it vote against the  TPP implementing legislation ?" Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network said today. Read the full release here.

ALP trade policy on ISDS, release of texts

June 7: The ALP trade policy released today shows the influence of community campaigning. It includes the release of draft texts during negotiations and tabling text of proposed agreements in Parliament before signing.ISDS provisions would be excluded from future agreements and be reviewed in existing agreements. Labour market testing would be reintroduced for temporary skilled workers.  AFTINET will publish an evaluation of all major parties' trade policies soon.

Free trade agreements threaten quality of public education: unions

2 June 2016
The National Tertiary Education Union, Australian Education Union and Independent Education Union last week wrote to the Coalition’s Trade Minister Steve Ciobo arguing that various free trade agreements would open the floodgates to private for-profit education and education services providers, potentially undermining the quality of services from domestic public providers, the Australian reports today.