June 29-30, 2015: Following the Productivity Commission report and the Senate report into the trade agreement process and despite the government's PR defence of the TPP, Peter Martin in the The Sydney Morning Herald, Ian Verrender in the ABC National News blog The Drum and Ken Davidson in the Melbourne Age have criticised TPP secrecy, the impacts of TPP proposals for stronger monopolies on medicines, copyright and foreign investor rights to sue governments, and questioned whether the TPP will deliver trade benefits. Australian Super Chair Heather Ridout has also slammed ISDS in the TPP.
June 29, 2015: On June 25, the Government sent a document to many journalists entitled “TPP: Myths and Realities”.
This document creates straw people, misrepresenting the claims of critics and failing to address substantial criticisms including those from the Productivity Commission which were published on the same day.
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)
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."
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.